Category: Action

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Close-Up: Mr. Orange’s Orange DC2

Self-proclaimed amateur time attacker ‘Orange-san’ has made quite the impact in the small world of Tsukuba time attack.  Not only because of the bright orange accent color of his DC2, or his youthful, comedic track side manner; who jokes that his main support comes from Yahoo Auction and Super Viva Home Kasukabe (think Japanese Home Depot).  While those qualities alone would make people gravitate towards the Integra in the paddock, it’s what people see up close that garners the most attention to the DC2.

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Encounter: Yusuke Hoshino’s Unlimited Built CT9A

At the beginning of the year, after seeing Yusuke at both Evome events, I had realized that I never really posted much of his EVO.  We chatted a bit after the second event, and he mentioned that the car had been acting less than ideal.  Which shows in the lap times; nearly a full second off his January time.  Still, he’s come a long way with his build and it was Kaz at Unlimited Works that set him on the right track.

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Encounter: トトまるエボ6 – Pretty In Pink

Don’t worry; I’m still alive.

After the dust had settled from the store opening with the new shirt and pre-sale of the tech jackets,  I ended up taking (almost unconsciously) a week break from the site.  During my absence I was reintroduced once again to just how finite time is.  The few hours a day I had set aside for the website were definitely not thrown into the leisure category; well, maybe a few.  But instead, they were reallocated into a combination of my day job, travel, shop work, my day job (did I already say that?), relationships, and probably a whole bunch of other things that makeup life that I can’t even remember.

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Encounter: Shaft Auto Service ER34 Gallery

Back in November we took a close look at the Shaft built ER34 Skyline at the Attack event at Tsukuba; you can check that article out here.  Being the immense admirer of four-door Skylines that I am, I shot a whole bunch more photos of it at Battle Evome this year.  After talking to Suzuki personally about the car, I gained a whole new level of respect for the build.

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Encounter: Car Shop Dream FD3S

Hailing from the cold North of Hokkaido, FD specialists Car Shop Dream can claim the rights to one of the most unique looking FD’s in Japanese time attack.  As you would imagine, due to the distance, it’s not often that Kurokawa-san and his team get out to Tsukuba.  As a result, they don’t get as much seat time at the track as some of the other locals.  Despite this, Kurokawa has piloted his 600whp build to a personal best of 57.880.  Ultimately, after achieving times more close to the 55 second range at Tsukuba, he’d really like to shoot for competing in WTAC.  The car is an ongoing project, so who knows?  Check out some pictures past the break.

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Encounter: チームT.F.Rスープラ

Senkichi has modified his JZA80 specifically to handle the variety of turns at Tsukuba.  Each modification that he chose was specifically tailored for TC2000.  The engine’s drive-train has been upgraded and the bottom end built to handle the extra boost from the T78 turbine.  Transmission gearing has been modified to put the car in the exact power range needed for each turn.  Check out the results below.

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Close-Up: オートソニックFC3S – The Circuit Samurai

‘Motobei’ jokes that, back when he bought this RX-7 in December of 2007, he did so with the intent of using it as a daily commuting car.  Like so many of us have experienced, our intentions get brushed aside real quick when we start modifying our daily drivers.  As was the case with the Super Now/Auto Sonic FC3S.  A car that, ironically enough, can no longer be legally used on the street.  With a personal record at TC2000 of 56.495, motives aside, there’s no doubt that the path that the samurai has taken with this car has paid off – big time.

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Encounter: Quality over Quantity – Garage Peaks S13

Every once in awhile I’ll come across some new faces at Tsukuba that really catch my attention.  In most cases though, just because they’re new to me, doesn’t mean that they’re new to the circuit.  The Garage PEAX Silvia is one such example and the it’s high 59 second lap times at Tsukuba proves this fact.  Taking a little bit deeper look into the build reveals a car, and an owner, who have been gradually making changes to achieve the goal of a sub-minute lap time at TC2000.

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Feature: Yusuke Tokue’s EK4 – The FF Frontrunner

There’s a small community of time attack drivers in Japan that dedicate themselves to the FF base; a chassis that has, arguably, many more challenges to overcome on track than it’s counterpart.  Despite the handicap that these cars have initially, to the people who have devoted their time and knowledge into producing the best, the joy that comes along with victory outweighs any doubt of potential.  As is the case with all Garage Work cars, and especially so for Yusuke Tokue and his EK4.

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Event: VTEC Club USA – 2016 Season Opener

The last weekend in February marked the start of the new season of VTEC Club at Willow Springs International Raceway.  WSIR was once again packed with some of Southern California’s most dedicated Honda enthusiasts for a full day of track fun.  The local popularity of this series was more than proven last year, and if the first round was any indication, 2016 looks to be on the same track.

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Interview: Tomohiko ‘Under’ Suzuki – Japan’s S15 Meister

Years ago when Suzuki paired up with Takemura of Scorch Racing, I can’t imagine either of them knowing just how far they’d push the envelope of time attack; not only in Japan, but worldwide.  From making somewhat crude body panels himself in the small garage, to employing the knowledge of Andrew Brilliant, the famous aerodynamicist; things sure have changed in the past few years.  One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is Suzuki’s drive to win and his dedication to the progression of his S15.
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Encounter: ハニカミDC2

Not totally unrelated to, but probably unnecessary to explain, the Japanese word ハニカミ (hanikami) is a kind of cute way to describe ‘shyness’.  There’s an old dating show that ran on TV in Japan during the mid-2000’s called ‘恋するハニカミ!’ (love shy).  Think the 1960’s TV sensation ‘The Dating Game’ meets Japan’s incredibly unique sense of humor.  Now, clearly this has nothing to do with cars, or time attack, but it is the nickname of this Evome contendor, so let me do my best to tie this together.

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Feature: Total Car Service Usui Attack NA8C

Central Japan’s Gunma Prefecture is home to a handful of Japan’s well known tuning shops.  There is one in particular, however unique, whose discipline lies in building Mazda Roadsters; a car that, despite it’s nimbleness on track, hasn’t garnered much popularity in the Japanese Time Attack arena.  The tuning shop TCS Usui, nestled at the base of Mt. Akagi (go figure), has been in business tuning, selling and procuring Roadsters and various Suzuki Kei cars for some time now.  It wasn’t until the owner built this demo car that TCS became known world-wide.

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Close-Up: Smoke and Fire – VTEC Club Spotlight

Before I get to processing and writing about the coverage of this past weekends VTEC Club season opener, I thought I’d try out a new idea for these events.  Covering VTEC Club when I could last year was a lot of fun for me.  The committee that puts these events together happen to be not only great people, but good friends of mine as well.  Come to think of it, photographing these events combines almost everything I enjoy in life into one location; perhaps that’s why it feels nothing like work.  Maybe that’s the feeling people get when they do what they love for a career.  Anyway, I’m getting way off topic here.

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Feature: 腹黒 – Sato’s Work built DC2

There is a consistency to the cars that come out of the Work camp.  They most certainly take a different approach to other shops in the same discipline, and I think that that is what sets them apart from the rest.  Mildly modified, naturally aspirated B-series engines that are catered more towards reliability than high power are what you’ll find in nearly every car the shop works on.  Not one for high horsepower builds, Garage Work shines in the area of suspension tuning and chassis modification of their lightweight Hondas. This distinct facet of Iwata’s tuning shows throughout each car he touches.  Sato Kakuchi’s DC2 is a perfect embodiment of the shop’s raw persona.

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Encounter: LM Advance FD3S

I wish I had more to say about this FD, but in all honesty this is my first time seeing the car at any event.  The owner was registered in the Grooving series, which is a series in itself that, as of last year, runs in tandem with the Evome events.  The Grooving events are catered more towards beginning drivers, or those that want to improve their skill on the circuit without having to enter events that host more advanced run groups.  You can read more about it on their website.

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Feature: Purchasing Power – Revolution’s SE3P

With the seemingly never-ending popularity of Mazda’s 90’s classic, the RX7, it’s not uncommon for it’s successor, the RX-8, to get overlooked.  At the time, the newly introduced Renesis engine, while a great performer at high RPM, lacked torque and overall power; mainly due to the extreme efficiency of the engine to meet strictly enforced emissions laws.  Because of this, the naturally aspirated 1.3 liter rotary seemed to always get passed on for it’s older, turbocharged counterpart.  Wanting to prove the RX-8’s worth, and to help stoke parts development of the chassis, Aoki-san at Revolution took on the task of building the ultimate RX-8.  The first step?  Ditching the Renesis motor for a naturally aspirated 20B.

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Event: Battle Evome 2016 – Round 2 Analysis

As we landed back in Narita on the evening of the 12th, I couldn’t help but feel like I hadn’t even left the country.  The sun had just began to set through the scattered clouds on the horizon and the diffused, orange glow of the afternoon’s last rays forced it’s way through the aircraft windows and into my eyes.  It had only been 3 weeks since I was last in Japan, a travel duration that becomes the norm during this time of year; the hectic 3 month period when time attack events are at their peak.  Actually, back in the States, I was so busy with new contracts at work and getting the store up that I hardly had time to post any content on site before heading back.  Nevertheless, I had returned to Japan and first thing in the morning we would make our way back to Tsukuba for the second, and final, round of Battle Evome.

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Close-Up: Masaki Kitajo – Craft Company’s Flagship

I ran into Masaki this weekend at the second round of Battle Evome at Tsukuba Circuit.  He was not driving his shops demo car, however, but his street ‘practice’ Porsche 996.  On radials, he had hoped to get a still respectable 1’05.000 out of the German made sports car (and if I recall correctly he ended up lapping in the 1’03 range).  We made small talk about his drive to Tsukuba from Kobe, and the day’s unseasonably warm weather.  The conversation didn’t linger on the day’s drive for too long though, and I soon changed the subject to that of his flagship build; the Craft Company FD3S.