Category: Action

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Close-Up: Mister ヮ タ ヮ タ’s Dogfight FD

I’d say that, after three years of attending Evome, the one thing I really get excited for is seeing everyone again, as well as meeting new friends.  The privateer ‘Attack’ season in Japan is such a short lived experience each year that my time with the drivers is fairly brief.  This is somewhat of a Catch 22 because while it does make each encounter much more special, I end up having to divide my time between talking to people and photographing the hour long event; and with just 3-4 Evome events a year, my time becomes very limited (especially not living in Japan).

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Event: VTEC Club Round 5 – Season End

With the year’s new Summer taking no time to bare it’s teeth, 107 degree temperatures plagued the desert at Round 5 of the 2015 VTEC Club series.  Willow Springs International Raceway played host to the season’s final round, where competitors gathered to claim the last points available in each run group.  While the heat may have hindered some, there were a few drivers that were able to grab personal bests despite the weather, and lap times that secured victories for each class.

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Close-Up: Ejima Kiyotaka’s TFR FD

Last year I was able to chat with Ejima-san about the car he has built over the past several years, at his shop TFR, to compete in the sport of Time Attack. Just by being around him, I was able to get a feel for the type of person he is and how his personality ties into his driving.  It’s a duo I’ve come to enjoy watching over the past events, and it’s nice to be able to revisit the build again this year.

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Close-Up: The Sum of Spectrum – Top Fuel S2000

White; the presence of all.  An achromatic array of all that’s visible in our spectrum.

It’s pure.  It’s wholeness.  It’s completion. A reflection of all.

It is everything without anything.  It’s a complicated simplicity.  In psychology, it stands for new beginnings, a clean slate; for setting a new standard.  It’s only appropriate then, that Top Fuel chose to dress their time attack dominating S2000-RR in a shade of white.

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Encounter: コクピット館林 E46 M3

Cockpit Tatebayashi, purveyor of all things under the umbrella of Japanese automotive parts, proves to us once again that they are not restrained by chassis or make when it comes to tuning cars.  No doubt the producers of variety, their newest car to make an appearance at Fuji is this tastefully tuned E46 M3.

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Close-Up: The Father of Time – Philip Robles’ EG6

There’s something to say about the people around us who promote self-efficacy.

The capacity to unknowingly emanate a trait such as this is rare, and when you come across it you can’t help but be positively influenced.  Even a simple exchange of dialogue can have a major effect on the goals and beliefs you’re currently pursuing.  This is exactly the type of feeling I had when I had the opportunity to meet Philip Robles this past weekend.

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Event: CVR Rush – VTEC Club Round 4

As I sit here writing this on my way to Kansas City, 39,000 feet in the above ground in a tube made of various metals and composites, traveling a good 550mph, I struggle past my exhaustion in an attempt to coherently transcribe my thoughts from this past weekend. It’s interesting how my perspective on our local track events has changed over the past couple of years. Perhaps it’s because I’ve become a little more open minded (perhaps even a collective change in outlook amongst my peers), or have had the good fortune of befriending many of those involved, but I no longer view them the way I did (unnecessarily arrogant so to speak).

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Encounter: ティー・ゲット タイムアタックのBNR34

My first encounter with T-Get came in the form of a R35 GTR; the last team car they commissioned at HKS Premium Day in 2014.  That car, however, was visually very factory looking, with only a GT wing and mild canard setup added to the exterior (if I recall correctly it was still on factory wheels).  Their 2015 entrant, the shop R34, is quite the contrast from the previous years.

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Feature: Tsukuba Revisited – Tomizawa’s Wild Heart

As I sit in front of my gate at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, with the hopes (although very little) of catching an earlier flight back to California, my mind can’t help but wander back towards days that I enjoy more than those of which I spend inside the depths of US airports; which I relate now more or less to that of a colony of bees.  Filled to the brim with people going about their every which way, connecting to cities across the expanse of the Earth, each with a unique task to complete (varying in importance).  The days on my mind? Those of which are spent in Japan, at the circuits which I’ve grown all too comfortable being at…

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Event: An Afternoon with GMG – Auto Club Speedway

With my small involvement in this industry, and the often times overwhelming amount of events in the area, I’m sometimes faced with conflicting events (ie. HKS Premium Day and Evome being on the same day) .  This is usually not a concern because my interests happen to fall into a smaller niche of the whole of automotive lifestyle; such was the case for me this weekend.  Formula D took place in Long Beach this weekend, as well as the accompanying car show downtown.  Earlier in the week however, my friend and employee of GMG Racing, Dom, invited me to hang out with the team for the sprint race at Auto Club Speedway.  Needless to say, I did not attend Formula D.

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Encounter: ERC FD3S – Iida TC2000 Running

59.051 seconds is what it took Iida-san to pilot his Elite Racing Company built FD around the 14 turns of Tsukuba’s TC2000.  It’s no surprise though, knowing ERC’s knowledge of rotary tuning, that Iida had the capability of achieving such a time.  The Saitama based shop, run by Ohya Masaatsu is not only one of the leading shops in rotary tuning, but they can also boast for having literally the most amount of random links on their website that I have ever seen.  Click past the break for more shots.

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Encounter: Osaka’s Auto Select – GTR Rundown

When Eiichiro Sawa founded Osaka based Auto Select in the early 80’s, his main goal was to share his knowledge of tuning and racing spirit with not only his friends, but with a wider range of enthusiasts as well.  In 1985, after establishing himself in the industry of aftermarket tuning, the popular magazine Carboy did a feature on Auto Select that highlighted Eiichiro’s story; this story resulted in a tremendous boost in customer base.  Their decades of continuous R&D of new parts and tuning methods has kept them alive through many lulls in the industry, and is a major reason why they’re so well known to date.  You’d be hard pressed to attend an attack event in Japan, or a motor sport event in general, without the Auto Select flag being flown.

 

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Feature: The Pan Speed FD – Reborn

The last time I saw this car was literally a year ago; and I can tell you, it looked nothing like this.  Yes, this is the same FD chassis that PanSpeed commissioned last year at HKS Premium Day, except that this year the car has gone through quite a cosmetic transformation.  Actually, you can see it’s previous reiteration here.  Over the course of last year, the car was stripped of it’s exterior and fitted with an entirely new aero kit that PanSpeed has been developing.  I know this is a bit late in the day, but I finally stopped fiddling with my new audio equipment that I got for the new Podcast long enough to get the article out.

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Close-Up: Ken’s G-Work☆CR-X

While no doubt popular in it’s day for it’s nimble handling, performance, and excellent gas mileage, I wonder if Honda ever imagined the capability that their CR-X would have on circuit nearly 30 years after it’s inception?  This particular example, hailing from the camp of G-Work, is no doubt a testament to the capability of the tiny chassis.  Barreling through TC2000 in a mere 1’02.419, the NA B-series powered CR-X can hold definitely hold it’s own.  Click past the break for a gallery of shots on track at Tsukuba Circuit.

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Encounter: フシミンのFD2 – グル走

Caught this pretty cool FD2 at Tsukuba during a Grooving event.  The entire interior was gutted and it was running a pretty mild aero package. Fastest time it clocked was 1’01.25 – pretty quick!  The fender cut away made the car look much more aggressive than the factory form.  Click past the break for a few more shots.

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Close-Up: The Circuit Scalpel – Esprit’s NSX

On many occasions, probably due to lack of my creativity, I’ve written excerpts on this site comparing certain managerial techniques to a variety of car builds.  That may or may not have something to do with my education and work background in the business sector, but I feel it’s something I can comfortably relate to.  These topics, at surface level, I would imagine to be somewhat obscure on an automotive website.  The truth of the matter is, in almost all regards, the processes discussed are very much applicable to time attack builds.  The practice of Continual Improvement is one such business practice, and in the realm of time attack, not many shops demonstrate this practice better than Esprit in the ongoing development of their NSX.

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Encounter: The Height of Challenge – ATTKD GTR32

I’ve always held ATTKD in high regard.   Not only because of their rich history in parts development and tuning, but more so because of their ability to put pressure on the frontrunners of time attack. The surprisingly large shop based out of Nagano is responsible for a handful of notable Nissan builds; namely their flagship 32 you see here.  Working closely with their long time test driver, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita, they were able to get under 2 seconds shy of the Top Fuel S2000; which has quickly become the benchmark for time attack at Fuji.  In an almost ‘behind the scenes’ fashion, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita piloted the Skyline around Fuji Circuit in a remarkable 1’40.925.

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Event: VTEC Club 2015 Round 2 – Big Willow Gallery

On the Sunday of February 22nd, VTEC Club held the second event of their 5 round season at Big Willow at Willow Springs International Raceway.  The excitement and success of the first round no doubt carried through to the club’s follow up event with, once again, over 50 entrants participating.  To say the day was perfect though, would be a stretch.  The week leading up to the event, the temps in Southern California had steadily been dropping, and rain was on the forecast for race weekend.  Ryan was once again on hand to grab some shots of the event.

 

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Encounter: The Samurai Archives – Revolfe S.A. GTR33

The picture below cracks me up.  When I had started walking around the back portion of the garages at Fuji, I came across the Revolfe S.A./Kleer R33 Skyline that was competing once again in the Hiper Challenge at HKS Day.  I must have had my blinders on or something because I just walked up and started taking pictures of the car, and didn’t even notice Mizota-san standing in the back.  After I had taken this shot he came up to me all surprised.  Later as I was going through these photos I saw him in this one pointing right at me hahaha.

 

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Event: Tension’s Fuji Takeover & HKS HCC Snapshot

So, yeah.  This will probably go down as the most random post of 2015 NDF, but I figured I’d combine the two as we didn’t spend that much time at either.  The same day that HKS held their Premium Day event, our friends at Tension reserved the Fuji drift track and held their own ‘Premium Day’ so to speak.  While the guys in Tension are all super nice, they have a somewhat sketchy history, so I’m glad Sekinei is good friends with them.  They’ve always support NDF and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.

So during the lunch break on the Speedway side, Sekinei and I meandered over to Fuji’s drift track to say hi and snap some photos.

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Feature: Deep Grip RE – Tomo’s Circuit-Bred FD

 

Saitama native Nakashima Tomoyoshi, or Tomo for short, is an avid fan of the RX-7.  Unique in many ways, the car has stolen his attention for better half of several years.  Before he built the FD you see here, Tomo was the proud owner of a white Savanna FC.

 

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Close-Up: Snowflake On Fuji – Arvou’s White Capped AP1

Arvou; a name that, over the past few years, has become synonymous with time attack focused S2000 builds (and more importantly Lotus for all you Euro fans) – with good reason too.  With their focus pulled toward developing their HKS Supercharged demo car, it’s hard to think that they were involved in anything else.  You might be surprised to hear then, that Mr. Shibata Mie actually founded the company in 1985, making Arvou nearly 30 years old.  That’s a lot of racing history attached to the company!

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Close-Up: プライムガレージ HC35 Laurel – An Unconventional Attack

As I weaved my way in and out of the garages along the Fuji Speedway paddock, my eyes were drawn to many an interesting machine.  Mostly revisions of cars that had run in the previous year’s Option Super Lap; the Esprit NSX, Pan Speed’s FD, the pair of Arvou S2000’s, the endless bounty of R35’s that seem to radiate an enormously unnecessary amount of power.  So, basically it was your typical HKS Day lineup.

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Close-Up: かずや様♪ Takes On TC2000!

 

I know my recent posts haven’t been very lengthy by any means, and this one is going to be no different (that’s not to say I don’t want to type more, I’m just pressed for time).  If you’ve followed the blog for that past year at least, you’ll know this car.  Kazuya-san, a.k.a. Kotora, a.k.a Baby Tiger, a.k.a. Fastest NA Civic around TC2000 on radial tires, a.k.a….just kidding I have no more names.

 

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Close-Up: Evome Profile – SEYAMAX // ADMIX GTR

 

Like the majority of people competing in time attack events in Japan, Takanori Seyama is the owner of a shop that deals with car sales and procurement.  Located on a quiet street in the heart of Ryugasaki, Ibaraki, his shop, Seyamax, not only houses his inventory of cars for sale, but is also headquarters for what Takanori really loves to do; and that is to race.  Over the past couple years he has built, and perfected his car of choice to become as fast as possible.  His R32, dubbed ‘Real Of The World’, is no slouch on TC2000.  His 2015 target time is set at 57.5 seconds around Tsukuba, and with a personal best of 57.970 to back it, it seems a very reasonable goal to accomplish.

 

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Event: VTEC Club 2015 Round 1 – SOW Gallery

 

“If you build it, they will come.”

While I wouldn’t necessarily call Streets of Willow a “Field of Dreams”, I will admit that Kevin Costner’s iconic line applies well in this situation.  The organizers of VTEC Club, a Honda specific spin off of Extreme Speed events, have successfully created not just a niche event, but are well on their way to (possibly accidentally) creating an entirely new community of race fans.

 

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Close-Up: The Nagano Rush – Team Garage Mak Z33

 

I wonder if it’s acceptable, in the off chance one falls victim to writer’s block, to type freely their thoughts?  I mean, this is a blog after all, and blogs are typically written in an informal or conversational style.  It would be difficult to keep it informational to the topic however, if I were to just start spouting off about a random thought.  In the case of the Garage Mak Z33, I could start typing about Nagano; the hometown of the shop.  Or perhaps about the Miyagawa brothers, the two creative powerhouses behind the brand.  I could always fall back to uncreatively (is that not a word?) listing off the modifications to the Z33.  To be honest though, I’m pretty sure I’ve covered all that basic stuff in prior articles – it seems redundant to keep typing it.  I could talk about how I was naked in a public bath again…does anyone even read this?

 

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Event: HKS Premium Day 2015 – Assault on Fuji

 

There I found myself; laying on the ground, the unmistakably cold chill of the natural wooden planks pressed against my warm back, staring blankly at the clouds drifting lazily overhead.  I slowly closed my eyes, ignoring the incredulous stares from the other men in the room, relaxing my exceedingly overworked muscles.  As the cool breeze consumes my elevated body temperature, and a somewhat effervescent steam radiates from my naked body, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander – recollecting upon the events of the day.  It had been a long one, I thought to myself, and ending the day with a trip to an onsen was nothing short of perfect (I realize that introduction has very little to do with the event, but I thought it was notably humorous).

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Close Up: ENDLESS E89 Z4 GT3 – The Final Act V.1

 

Have you ever had this strange urge, when opening a new book, to read the last paragraph before you actually start to read it?   I have. For whatever reason, I’ve always been compelled to turn to the last page before starting.  Often times, it doesn’t yield any spoilers or give any of the plot away, but sometimes it can give you a pretext of what to expect throughout the new literature.

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Event: Super Battle Evome 2015 – Season Opener

The automatic doors opened and a rush of chilled winter air, mixed with the morning’s new sunlight, hit my face as I reluctantly left the warm comfort of the conbini.  Surprised, as if for some reason I had forgotten about the cold already, I fumbled to pull my neck warmer up with my hands full of coffee and various pastries.  Leaning up against the passenger side of the BMW, my warm breath visibly creating a fog around my head, I waited for Sekinei to exit the 711 to unlock the car and rescue me from the cold.  It was 5am on a Monday morning, I had landed in Japan 12 hours ago, and with just 4 hours of sleep to my credit, we were off – headed to the countryside of Tsukuba where we would rendezvous with Japan’s fastest privateers as they prepare to take on the first round of Battle Evome.