With time attack in Japan being dominated mostly by an older generation, modern government regulations, and a waning interest in automotive culture in Japan’s urban centers, it often leaves us questioning if the allure of motor sports is bright enough to draw in new participants. There are arguments that can be made on both sides, however, we tend to agree that it is as bright as ever, and conversing with individuals like Shoya Okumura only helps to solidify our feelings on the subject; and we’re not alone.
Aoki-san, and others that head the Attack Championship series, see both the need and the potential to cultivate the joy of time attack in a new group of drivers. The newly founded U29 class in Attack focuses on younger drivers in their 20’s, giving them a platform to nurture their driving and tuning abilities. With over two dozen entrants since it’s inception 2 years ago, their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Aside from supporting a younger driver pool, it also has a secondary effect of emphasizing good driving technique, as most of the drivers do not yet have the capital to put a lot of money into their cars. It’s easy to mask poor driving with massive power upgrades, but many of the competitors in U29 are running factory spec engines with boost up or simple support mods. A good foundation in the importance of seat time and car maintenance are implied in the class. While many of the drivers in U29 interest us, Shoya’s is a particularly good example of where these drivers are coming from in a Japan whose interest in racing is becoming more and more niche as time passes.
Masayuki Okumura, Shoya’s father, opened his tuning shop BE CRAFT Technical Factory 15 years ago in his hometown of Hakusan. At that time, his Shoya, despite being a mere 7 years of age, already showed a sincere love of cars. With Masayuki focusing the work at BE CRAFT on tuning RX7s, Shoya was surrounded by FDs and became enthralled with the model he saw his dad build and compete in. In Shoya’s mind, there was no other car he’d rather own:
‘I thought that there was no car other than FD for a long time, so I can’t think of a car other than FD, and I don’t think there is any other car like this!’
From the moment Shoya turned 16, he worked diligently at various part-time jobs while in high school to earn enough money to purchase the red FD you see here. The car, which used to belong to his father who built it as a demo car for BE CRAFT 10 years ago, has been truly transformed by Shoya over the past 2 years. The car was in rough shape, with no working engine, and needing a lot of body and suspension work, so he was able to purchase the car at a price that reflected the condition. Finishing high school opened up a lot of time for Shoya and he was able to get a full time job.
In a story line that could inspire a new popular manga series, at 22 years old, Shoya now works as a ‘kaishan’ (会社員/office worker) during the day, but during nights and on holidays, assists his father in tasks at the shop and slowly builds his FD. Never passing an on opportunity to work side by side with his dad, Shoya does whatever he can to watch and learn from his father. He has shown great prowess in the U29 class, taking home fastest in class back to back years at Attack Tsukuba. This year, improving on his best time by almost a half second with a 56.676, and creating a bit of rivalry with his fellow FD peer Ouuchi.
This year the car has undergone an array of changes both in engine tuning and appearance. It’s a sign that Shoya is very serious about competing in time attack, and wants to take his FD to the next level each season.
The new aero is provided by the Hokkaido based Rise Up shop. The GR Model 16 wide body is among the more aggressive kits we’ve seen for the FD, and provides ample space to fit a much wider tire setup. The 295 series tires now sit perfectly at all four corners. You may recognize this kit from the Rise Up demo car that debuted at Tokyo Auto Salon in 2016; admittedly it’s not a kit we see too much of. Shoya has made some unique personal changes to it as well.
The front bumper is a RS Pantera piece made by none other than Sato Shokai of the Shizuoka based shop, and is processed to fit the fender by a custom body work shop famous in the Ishikawa region.
Rounding out the front end is a pair of R Magic Eyes headlights, and a new splitter and under-tray developed by the master of carbon, Workshop Takumi.
The assertive rear fenders are complimented by a massive dual element Voltex Type 11 GT wing to ensure the rear downforce is balanced with the new front, providing increased grip around the circuit.
The rear hatch and hood are also made by Workshop Takumi on behalf of Ready Go Next. The entire car was then washed in a Ferrari Rosso Corsa red color befitting of it’s stature.
The car’s color takes on a nice subdued shade of red when underneath overcast skies, but shines bright when hit by the sun. It seems rather difficult to photograph in the bright light!
The 13B, bridge ported rotary engine was built in-house by BECRAFT. An HKS single T04Z turbine replaces the factory dual setup and boost is set at a healthy 1.7k. While Shoya says that the current engine is built specifically for practice, it still makes an incredible 700ps. Perhaps because his father is president of BE CRAFT, Shoya has access to resources and knowledge many privateers have to seek out. In contrast, other FD competitors like Ouichi are still utilizing factory spec motors maxed out around 300ps. Two very different approaches both with their benefits.
Plans to change the entire engine setup for next season leaves us wondering just how much more they can push from the 13B!
The engine is setup is tuned by a Link G4X ECU with ignition provided by a full MSD setup. Other support mods include a HKS V-Mounted Intercooler, Elite Rotary intake manifold and surge tank, and Rotary Works large throttle body.
A TTi 6 speed sequential, ATS carbon differential and an ORC racing concept clutch fit the bill for getting all 700ps to the wheels. Honestly, with a mod list like this, it’s no wondering Shoya has been dominating his class.
*(I personally read the modification list he provided in our conversation, but now that I’m writing it out, I’m just now realizing that this car has so much work put into it haha – Sean)
The interior has been stripped of everything non-essential, bringing the overall weight of the car down to a very lightweight 1050kg. A personal 350mm suede steering wheel sits alone, and an AIM Dash and PDM are wired up to where the dash used to be. A brake bias adjustment knob for the AP Racing 6 pot calipers, and the TTi shifter sit along the center console.
Full stitch welded interior and a custom cage provide extra stiffness to the old chassis.
The suspension has also been completely replaced using harmonic drive dampers by SPIRIT, with an array of Super Now arms and a JUN Auto Mechanic rear subframe member.
With a car like this, and already a 56 in the bag, we can only speculate how much faster Shoya will get as the years pass and he gains more experience behind the wheel. We’ll be watching BE CRAFT and Shoya very closely in the coming years!