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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sunday after the first Evome event of the year, I commandeered Sekinei’s Nissan Cube and trekked across the Tokyo Bay towards Chiba to visit Iwata and the boys at Garage Work. Jay came along as well as he’s never been to the shop and wanted to meet everyone. The plan was to hang out for a little bit, and talk about some pending business stuff, but the shop is such a laid back place that it’s easy to spend hours there hanging out.
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.