Cold and bright was the morning as I departed for Kawaguchi Station. The warmth of the sun felt nice, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed in the clear weather. After weeks of overcast mornings, the day I was to shoot Saito’s FC, the sun just had to be shining with vengeance.
Video: Miyashita Onboard at Autopolis – Tomiyoshi Racing FD3S
Feature: Total Car Service Usui – 2023 Spec NA Roadster
It’s endearing to see to see the regulars at Tsukuba Circuit continue to progress their chosen platforms year after year. Sometimes the off season produces massive transformations, but often times it’s the small changes over time that make the biggest impact.
Video: Attack Tsukuba 2023 – 10th Anniversary Event
The most anticipated time attack event of the season; Attack Tsukuba! This year marked the 10th Anniversary celebration of the event being held at Tsukuba, and to celebrate, Aoki and his partners went all out.
Video: Attack Tsukuba Practice Event – New NA Course Record Set!
On Friday February 17th, Tsukuba hosted two final practice events before the main Attack event took place on Saturday. The morning super lap was ran by Zummy Racing, and the afternoon practice event was hosted by Aoki and Attack, with Zummy assisting the operation.
Feature: Second Life – The Friends Attack S14 Silvia
A quick look back at tuning history in Japan and you’d most likely be surprised at just how many famous shops got their start in drag racing. Toru Inose and the group at Friends is no exception to this, having chased records in the ‘zero-yon’ all throughout the 2000’s.
Video: Create The Racing Power – The Pit Road M M7SL FD3S 80R PV
Last week, my wife and I made the drive from Osaka to Himeji, in Hyogo, to visit the boys at Pit Road M; a shop that has been on my list for quite some time. If you know me, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of RH9 – both in idea and what it stands for; it is the group I emulated to create the Frontrunners Group.
Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2023 – Race Cars And Other Stuff
Japan’s premier aftermarket automotive showcase, Tokyo Auto Salon, kicked off the new year as enthusiasts from all over the world flocked to the halls of Makuhari Messe once again to experience the epicenter of Japanese automotive tuning.
News: Tsukuba Circuit TC2000 Top Time Rankings
Tsukuba Circuit’s TC2000 course has been hailed as the birthplace of time attack. Drivers around the world use the circuit as a benchmark for speed in the motor sport. With the adaptation of modern tuning methodology and tire development, times at TC2000 have never been falling faster.
Video Feature: Fire Ando Breaks the Tsukuba 50 Second Barrier
On Friday, January 27th, on his second session on track, Yoshiki ‘Fire’ Ando broke the 50-second barrier at Tsukuba Circuit with a record 49.897 second lap time. A truly incredible moment for motorsport enthusiasts world wide and a massive breakthrough in Japanese time attack.
Video: Top Fuel Racing FD3S – Unlimited Works Event
Earlier in the week, in a prior conversation with Hashimoto about a photoshoot, he mentioned that he was going to be at Tsukuba on Thursday morning assisting with Kiyotaka’s with his FD. Throughout the week, the TFR supported FD has been frequenting Tsukuba, testing various aero setups.
Video: Garage Work Visit – Atsushi Komiya’s EK9
Yesterday afternoon I had a day scheduled to catch up on emails, editing, and writing. But when I woke up I had the urge to get out of the house. I messaged Kubo from Garage Work and asked if he was going to be at the shop that afternoon. He replied quickly and said please come; so, I did.
Feature: A Test of Time – Garage Peax Silvia
Battle Evome is a now defunct event series that, in it’s prime, was among the most popular time attack event hosts at Tsukuba, running from the late 90’s through 2016. 7 years ago to this day (Jan 16th 2016), I was attending one of the final Battle Evome events ever when I ran into Okizo and his Silvia.
Video: Tsukuba Open Testing – Zummy Racing Event
Early Sunday, January 15th we headed back to Tsukuba for the morning Zummy Racing Attack practice event at TC2000. Many of the cars that had made it out for Saturday afternoon stayed for this event as well to get the most out of the weekend.
Video: Wacky Mate FD Testing At Tsukuba Circuit
In this video we head out to Tsukuba Circuit to photograph the DKM Challenge event in the morning, and the Zummy Racing event that was held just after in the early afternoon.
Feature: Koyorad x NDF Street ISF V.9 – CVR Testing
One of the issues that was preventing us from going quicker in the ISF build (aside from my driving) were the soft spring rates of the KW V3 coilovers. Much of it had to do with the softer, more comfortable nature that is inherent in the V3, but we at least needed to try and alleviate some of the negative side effects of that on track.
Gallery: RS Future Unlimited NSX – GTA Finals
In early November, when the push to prepare for Global Time Attack Finals was in full swing, I stopped by the RS Future/Art of Attack headquarters to see how Amir and the crew were getting along in their preparation of the new unlimited class NSX.
Feature: A Test of Time – Escort’s Rise To Supremacy
Three years ago when Yoshiki ‘Fire’ Ando and the expert team at Escort set out to claim the tuning car record at every international circuit in Japan, they knew it was a challenge that would demand perfection in all aspects of their operation.
Event: FSCM – Tsukuba Circuit Meeting
Locale: A Name Not Forgotten – Garage Kagotani, Saitama
Long before this website existed, when I had first started getting into time attack in the mid-2000’s, there was a name I came across often, usually in association with some of the fastest builds of the time. Whether those cars had these parts equipped, or had work done or engines tuned there, Garage Kagotani was a staple amongst the paddock.
Locale: Auto Rescue Izu – A Celebration Of Rotary Spirit
When I departed on my return trip to Japan this Summer, I did so with the goal of reconnecting with friends and colleagues after the two years of travel restrictions. For 5 straight weeks I travelled around the country by car, train, and plane, all with the simple objective of ‘catching up’.
Feature: Koyorad x NDF Street ISF V.8 – Spring Rate Change
Between the amount of traveling I’ve done early this Summer (Japan’s record temps in June), our new focus on growth, and the recent heatwave here in the West, this years off-season has developed a sense of eternity to it. Even now in September, as people are gearing up to race again, the idea of heading out to the track for testing alludes me.
Event: Dogfight Kyushu – Autopolis Circuit Meeting
I’ve always appreciated the varying degree of tuning style in Kyushu prefecture; specifically the cars that frequent Autopolis International Circuit. From fully dedicated track cars, to light tune approaches, there is something about the cars that standout that’s not quite describable.
Locale: Auto House Solid Shop Visit – Tuning Car Variety
One of the reasons I enjoy visiting Hayashi at his shop, Auto House Solid, anytime I’m in Gunma is that there is always a large variety of tuning cars on hand. Hayashi services a wide range of customers so there is guaranteed to be something interesting in the shop.
Video: Auto Rescue Izu FD Collection
At the beginning of my road trip to Mie Prefecture, I decided to make a detour down to the Izu Peninsula to visit my good friend Ando. Ando operates Auto Rescue Izu, a wrecker/tow service in Shizuoka. Over the past 2 years he had built a new shop to house and work on his personal cars.
Video: Kansai Region Time Attack – Esprit and K1
Last week I made my way down to the Kansai Region of Japan for a few photoshoots I had lined up. Our first stop was at Esprit where I met our friend Sugikou-san. I wanted to photograph his Supra again for 80R because a lot of time has passed since our original shoot at Suzuka Circuit.
Video: Dogfight Attack Meeting – Autopolis Circuit
Last week we held a small get together at Autopolis International Racing Circuit in the Oita Prefecture of Kyushu. I had 3 photoshoots for 80R scheduled for this particular weekend trip down south, however a few could not make it last minute.
Encounter: Masato Karaki’s Gymkhana S13
I met Masato during my recent trip to Garage Mak. He and our friend Tsubaki both attended the same engineering school, and naturally became friends over their first year of college. While I was in Nagano, I had the chance to get a closer look at his S13.
Locale: Garage Mak Total Tuning – Aokijima, Nagano
About a week after arriving in Japan, I received a message from my good friend Tsubaki. Since I photographed his S15 for Import Tuner back in 2014, we’ve always made sure to stay in touch as the years pass.
Video: Tuning Shop Visits – Racing Factory Autobahn, Honda Twin Cam, GLOW
In this video we visit Skyline tuning masters Racing Factory Autobahn, deep in the countryside of Ibaraki. Kawai-san shows us some of the newer builds and I take a walk around the shop.
Video: Visiting Garage Mak in Nagano – S15 Type 6 Delivery
This past weekend I headed to Nagano to photograph my friend Tsubaki’s new S15 delivery. He had the car fixed and fitted with the new Garage Mak Type 6 front end. While I was there, we take a close look at Amemiya’s 1,000+hp S15 at the shop, and I also took some photographs of our friend Masato’s DIY S13.
Feature: Akihabara Nightlife – The Sector One FD3S
Based in Japan’s unrivaled hub of neo-anime culture and unwavering creativity, Sector One turns out some of the worlds most detailed Itasha designs. After 2 months of having their flagship location in Akihabara, I was invited to come take a look at their new demo car; the former RE-Amemiya built LW-7 FD3S.
Feature: Excellence In Craft – Arvou Motor Sports Service
Growing up with his father, Akira, Yusaku Shibata was embraced with motor sport from the moment he arrived in this world. His life would see him behind the wheel of numerous race cars throughout a number of series, and eventually coming full circle to own and operate the tuning shop his father founded in 1985; ARVOU Motor Sports Service.
Feature: Garage Rise-Up x GNR Racing – The New Heavyweights of FF
Self-tasked with building the fastest Civic in Japan, Asai-san and Sapporo based shops GNR Racing and Rise-Up Garage, are constantly modifying the setup on their flagship EK9. Their hard work is paying off as they close in on the FF NA Record at TC2000.
Feature: Koyorad x NDF Street ISF V.6 – Exhaust Fix and BRP Test
Before we headed out to Buttonwillow Raceway for the Club Racer event back on the 25th, I needed to address the issue with the new iCode exhaust we installed on the ISF; specifically, how it was melting my rear bumper.
Feature: Advancing The Next Generation – U29 Champion Shoya Okumura
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.
Feature: RGN Tuning – Maximizing Efficiency In Time Attack
There is a good chance that if you’re browsing this website, you’re familiar with Aoki-san of Ready GO Next. Not only does he have a successful shop catering to RX7 tuning, but he is among the masterminds associated with the creation of Attack; Japan’s most renowned time attack event.
Feature: Koyorad x NDF Street ISF V.5 – New Year Updates
After an arduous and rather busy off season, we’re finally back behind the wheel of the ISF for more testing. Scaling up the company this past year had unfortunately pushed this project down on the list of priorities, but we’re excited to be able to post some updates again.
Feature: Tamura-san SPL – Fuji Speedway Spec Impreza
It is very difficult to build a car that is spec’d to maximize performance at a wide variety of circuits. Especially in Japan, where the variety of race tracks can be very contrasting. What works at Tsukuba, would most likely underperform at Suzuka, and so on. When Tamura-san made the decision to start modifying his GDB Impreza, he wanted to ensure that the modifications he made had the greatest impact on his times.
Feature: Pursuit of Rarity – G-Force Built STi Spec C RA-R
To describe the RA-R Spec STi as rare would be somewhat of an understated representation of the chassis. In 2006, Subaru made just 300 units of the specially tuned GD based STi for the Japanese market; that accounts for less than 1% of Impreza’s manufactured in this generation.