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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Over the past years we’ve spent quite a bit of time at Garage Work; both at the shop in Chiba, and on track at Evome and Attack. It’s a shop that is known for pushing the boundaries of Honda’s FF chassis far beyond what anyone has ever imagined. Tora-san’s rich history and incredible foresight into the sport of time attack has been unmatched by many, and through Garage Work, he is able to channel that gift to not only his personal vehicles, but to his customers as well.
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.
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.
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.
I mentioned last night on Instagram (@naritadogfight), that I got called out of state to work this weekend. Well, that’s no surprise, but I had planned on using that time to put together the Evome articles so I would be able to post them throughout the week. Unfortunately, I then had to decide whether to process store orders or get content processed, and since I believe customer service is the foundation of any consumable I chose to get the orders processed. Before I head out to the post office I decided to publish this post I had sitting in que for a bit now.
Hope to see this in Direzza Challenge again! Look for a more in depth article on this EK soon.
Over the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting, and becoming friends with, many tuning shops in Japan – and that’s not something I take for granted at all. However, there […]
No stranger to magazine interiors, Hiroshi Amemiya’s S15 has been the center of attention for many publications throughout the past year or so including Super Street, Hyper Rev, Option2 (twice!). In fact, Enkei […]
The Landmark Tower in Sakuragicho, since it’s completion in July of 1993, has always been a favorite building of mine. The area around the tower has since developed immensely, and it’s turned into quite […]
Ichihara is located in the western part of the Bōsō Peninsula, and geographically is the largest of Chiba Prefecture’s cities and towns. The highly industrialized northern part of the city sits on Tokyo […]
This article has been a long time coming, and I don’t have any excuse for putting it off any longer so here we go… I’ve been traveling a lot this month, and […]
Hayashi-san, owner of Garage Saurus, has built his product with roots firmly in the drag racing circuit. It may surprise some then, if I were to tell you that for the past decade they […]
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, there is no way you haven’t come across these two S15’s at one point or another. Garage Mak, a name whose aero designs […]