Back in January, my friend Kazuki mentioned that he was going to be driving a weekday event at Tsukuba Circuit. The event, hosted by SWAT Racing, was an open track event that is geared towards younger drivers or casual enthusiasts that aren’t running in the top tier Attack classes. I didn’t have much planned for that day, so I told him I would swing by to say hi and hang out.
SWAT Racing events are typically pretty small in driver count. Since they’re held during the week, it’s difficult for most people to attend, but inexpensive compared to a weekend event with a major host. It’s good for younger drivers that have more flexible schedules looking to get some seat time. Kazuki and Takuma both fit this demographic, and often take advantage of days like this. Kazuki mentioned that, if conditions were good, he would be shooting to finally break into the 59 second range at this event. I thought it would be cool to be there to celebrate that. He did, in fact, end up breaking the minute barrier with a 59.904, however I was late and didn’t end up making until after the morning sessions. Takuma, in the white FD, also was running with a quick pace and hit a low 59.063. Conditions must have been good, although by the time I got there the sun was shining pretty strong.
I mentioned in the video description that drivers like Kazuki, Takuma, and a handful of other drivers (mostly in the U29 Attack class – that is drivers under 29), represent the next generation of time attack in Japan. Many of them are still in their young 20’s, work in the industry, and are following in the footsteps of their parents who own shops, or are working as tradesmen in the automotive field. The top tier drivers we see now, believe it or not, are all in or nearing retirement age. It’s easy to disregard age as a factor in this sport, but driving is very physical. No doubt the frontrunners of today will be driving for years and years to come, but what about in the next 20? I think I’d like to do a better job of documenting the younger drivers in the present time so we have a better comparison even after NDF is gone.
Both Kazuki and Takuma fall under the category of ‘Dora-Tech’ tuned cars. As far as the RX7 community goes, in Japan anyway, many of the younger drivers prefer this tuning method. An ideology coined by Daisuke Aoki, owner of Ready Go Next, ‘Dora-Tech’ is a way to get the most out of the existing car. I wrote an article on this featuring both Aoki and Oouchi last year.
“…charmingly named after Aoki’s affinity for Doraemon, the style focuses on capitalizing on the car’s existing potential. This is done through severe weight reductions, specialized suspension tuning and alignments, increasing the aerodynamic profile of the chassis, and carefully extracting just the right amount of power from an untouched engine. This philosophy is akin to wringing out the water from a wet cloth; where as, the water is OE-based performance, and the wet cloth would be the chassis. The key is in the manipulation of the existing car.”
It’s a methodology based on efficiency, and for younger drivers it works out because many of the modifications can be done at home in a DIY sense. Forgoing many of the costly engine modifications, they maintain reliability of their cars and can maximize seat time.
This image above is in high resolution – click for full size
The SWAT Racing events have a light hearted feel to them. Whereas Attack can be quite serious, the open track days provide a more congenial type of environment to get seat time in.
Kazuki’s FD, clad in the orange paint synonymous with Takahashi’s famous FD from the shop T-One’s, is relatively stock engine wise, with the 13B’s original twin turbines getting replaced for a single GReddy 25G. The power output is tuned for around 380ps; a safe number (coincidentally the number I’ll be aiming for in my personal FD with the single conversion).
The custom windshield banner he made that features the character Yotsubo Nanako from the anime ‘Go-Tōbun no Hanayome‘, which I think directly translates to ‘Five Equal Brides’ or something like that, but was called ‘The Quintessential Quintuplets’ in America. I watched a few episodes of it after Kaz showed me the banner, out of pure curiosity; I don’t remember much but I think it was okay. I think this is his favorite character.
It was good to catch up with Kazuki, and I’m glad he was able to grab that 59 – I have high hopes for him in the coming years as a driver and builder.
Takuma’s FD makes slightly less power than Kazukis, around 340ps. Supported by the famous shop Panspeed, Takuma has decided to keep the 13B stock with a slight boost up and tune. His skill behind the wheel takes him very close to the 58 second range with a personal best of 59.063; set on this day actually.
Also saw this really clean black FD on Tracers getting ready to head out for the day as well.
Hope you enjoyed the little 7’s Day update! Drop a message on the YouTube channel if you have some free time – always looking for more feedback. Have a good weekend!