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Interview: The Road to Victory – Under Suzuki

As we draw closer to October, the rush to complete off-season upgrades and get cars into containers bound for Sydney becomes more and more prominent around the globe. The buzz around the community regarding rumors and what each driver has done to gain time grows as the event nears. The growing popularity of World Time Attack Challenge is bringing time attack into the international spotlight and creating yet another outlet for this great motor sport. In Japan, the popularity peaks with the support of the hometown hero, Under Suzuki.

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News: HKS TRB-03 Full Attack – WTAC 2018

The minute that HKS had broken the 49 second barrier at Tsukuba, it seemed as if their were rumors circulating about it’s potential bid for WTAC.  After some speculation, it was revealed that the car was built outside the Pro Class rulebook and wouldn’t be eligible to run competitavely.  That didn’t stop anyone from wondering just what it could do on the world stage of Sydney Motorsports Park, however.  Well, according to Superlap CEO Ian Baker, it looks like we’ll get an opportunity after all.

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Encounter: Autumn’s Resolve – Kemritte’s AE86

It was at the end of last year I shot these photos of Kemritte’s Corolla with the intentions of writing a full article on the car.  Having just finished the build a few months earlier, I was keen on sharing it with our audience.  It was mid-December, right before the holiday rush, and I remember preparing for a few trips to Japan as well as some work trips I had on my calendar.

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Encounter: C.S. Polsche Tuned Accord Euro-R

I was looking through my hard-drives searching for a particular image I’m using for a project that I’ve been working on and came across a folder full of cars that I had meant to share a few months ago but, for a multitude of reasons, never got around to it.  One of the cars was an Accord Euro-R I happened upon at Fuji Speedway.  The owner mentioned that he was local to the Fuji area and has his car tuned at the Yamanashi-based shop C.S. Polsche.  I like seeing these street oriented builds at major circuits, so I took a few moments to look it over.

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Encounter: Hatsukura BNR32 At Fuji

I came across this R32 GTR at Fuji a few weeks ago.  It struck me as an almost ideal build; one that looks amazingly well, performs on track, and retains enough comfort to drive to and from the track.  The dated body matched with Volk’s updated take on the TE37 works surprisingly well together.  Hankook Ventus Z214 S-type tires ensure that the driver is able to utilize the full potential of the GTR.  The time sheets indicated that the driver was able to snag a 2’02.xxx around Fuji Speedway.  I never had an opportunity to talk to the owner and get more information, so photos will have to suffice. Enjoy.

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Event: NDF x FRS Casual Summer Cafe

I don’t think it’s a secret that I prefer racing events to car shows.  One look at the past articles on this site will paint a pretty clear picture.  I get a lot of questions regarding if I’d ever consider hosting a meet here in the US; and the answer is generally ‘I don’t think so’ (maybe an invite only track event…).  Despite it being held almost 4 years ago, the Winter Cafe was overwhelming for just 2 people to manage and I’d hate to run into that situation again.  That’s precisely whey we began these little casual meetings between NDF and FRS.

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Encounter: Techno Pro Spirit N2 AE86

Since I’ve been back from Japan, I’ve become so absorbed in a new project that I haven’t really set time aside to sort through the images I took while I was there.  I was browsing Facebook this evening when I decided to reach out to Asano-san from Techno Pro Spirit to see how the testing went at Fuji Speedway.  He and Kumakura were out there testing a few changes to get ready for the upcoming N2 race Hot Version is hosting next month.

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Event: Endless Circuit Meeting – Fuji Speedway

Time Attack events typically take a back seat during the scorching hot, humid Summer months in Japan.  Track conditions are far from ideal for breaking course records, or setting personal bests, so for the most part the sport lies dormant.  Not to mention being strapped into a race car, covered head to toe in protective gear, with 100+ degree track temps isn’t fun no matter how into it you are.  Even still, while the frequency of events slows, and major shops take the time to rebuild their demo cars; the sport doesn’t completely become extinguished.  A fact proven by events like the Endless Circuit Meeting just last weekend at Fuji Speedway.  An event that allows both professional tuners and enthusiasts to get in some track time during the off-season.

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Encounter: Track Ready C-West Silvia S15

I’ve grown so accustomed to attending Attack events that highlight fully built race cars, that I often forget how much fun a street car that’s prepped for circuit racing can be.  This type of compromise is so prominent in both Japan and the US, as in most cases it’s not practical for the majority to own a dedicated race car.  I’ve recently acquired another Honda to build in this fashion, and it’s safe to say I’ve been on the lookout for street driven track cars.  I happened across this S15 at Fuji last weekend and was pretty taken by it, so I thought I’d post a few photos.

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Feature: Takanori Seyama – A Restrained Potential

From the time I began to take an interest in Japanese Time Attack, I’ve had the chance to see Takanori Seyama’s R32 evolve year after year, slowly transforming into one of the countries fastest GTR’s.  With that one fact being known, you’d think that the car would be a household name for fans of the sport.  However, Takanori keeps such a low profile that the exposure of his build doesn’t quite hit the reach that others do.  It’s a testament to his humble character that, despite knocking on the door of 53’s, he’s a frontrunner that tends to stay in the shadows.

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Interview: Finding Balance – APG Performance Brakes

It wouldn’t be a stretch to consider the aftermarket braking industry a niche market.  Having so many unique barriers to entry, high cost products, and a somewhat limited consumer base, all make newcomers a very rare sight.  So, for a long time now we’ve seen these products manufactured by the same companies year after year.  As time passes though, and the availability of racing becomes more prominent, consumers began demanding a new type of product; price conscious brake kits that don’t sacrifice quality.  In other words, a product that strikes a balance between cost and performance – in steps APG Performance.

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Encounter: Kishimoto Racing Division – CBY AE86

Among the top N/A competitors in the Japanese time attack scene, exist a niche group of AE86 drivers.  Serving as the FR rival of the Honda Civic’s in the paddock, the competition provided by the Toyota pack always manages to provide a subset of antagonism at any given event.  Sato Shinetsu and his CBY equipped Trueno did just that at this year’s 10th anniversary Attack Championship at Tsukuba.

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Site News: NDF Storefront Opening 05/03

The heart of Japanese time attack lies with those at the top of the time sheets; the shop owners and drivers that have devoted their lives to the sport.  From our beginnings, we’ve worked together with these individuals to give them a stage to showcase their work.  The Frontrunners tee pays tribute to the builders that are pushing this motor sport to levels we’ve never seen.  Each year our list has grown, and 2018 is no different.

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Encounter: Friendly Fire – Testing The New Friends Silvia

Easily the most recognizable Silvia in the paddock, the Friends Racing S15 has had quite the journey from it’s roots as a competitive D1 car.  The unique build is unlike any other in the field; in both looks and performance.  With a best time of 53’821 around the proving grounds of TC2000, Toru Inose is without a doubt among the frontrunners of time attack in Japan.  A couple years ago we caught Toru and the team at Tsukuba setting that personal best – but with a new goal in mind, the team has since gone back to the drawing board.

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Feature: In Good Company – Masaki Kitajo’s FD3S

It seems to be about every 2 years or so I have the opportunity to check in with Masaki-san.  A staple of the Attack community, Masaki’s FD has served as his test bed and company demo car for nearly a decade, and continues to evolve year after year.  I remember seeing it for the first time back in 2012 at Tsukuba during Advan’s ‘Fastest Amateur Tournament’.  Back then the car had a full FEED Afflux kit and was comparatively very mild looking.  Oh how far we’ve come…

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Encounter: Pushing Limits – Tamiya Auto Select GTR34

There’s something to be said about the privateers that push the limits of what they can achieve in a street-trimmed car.  When it comes to modifying cars, abiding by the restrictions of the state isn’t something most people are looking forward to doing.  However, there are those that don’t mind the constraints.  Those that look forward to the challenge, and prefer to have the convenience of a street car in addition to a car they can track regularly.  Tamiya-san’s entire ethos is to see how much he can push his GTR under these regulations.

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Encounter: Material Auto Factory Supra

During the Option Fuji Superlap, the Supra meisters from the Tokyo based Material Auto Factory had the most prominent display of JZA80’s in attendance.  Some were competing in the main event, others competed in the Hiper Challenge, and some were on display at their booth.  I had highlighted Tatsuo’s Supra in our previous coverage, and a viewer had spotted another of their cars in the background that had piqued their interest.