With all the running around and traveling I’ve done for the busy holiday I almost forgot I had a couple more shots from the final round of VTEC Club to post up. After chatting around the paddock area, and bouncing from the beginning of the straight to the end, Duane approached me and asked if I wanted to head over to Cotton Corners. I gladly accepted because I don’t get to go to the infield at these events too often. It’s nice to get a different perspective when photographing track events. As a result though, most of the on-track shots in this post will be from there and may be a little repetitive.
It never ceases to amaze me; the successes of hard working people. The last VTEC Club USA event took place last week, and it’s given me a chance to reflect on the entire season, and everyone that’s been involved in the project all the way from the conception phase. The individuals who saw the need to fill a missing niche in our world of motor sport, and took the steps to achieve just that. Even those who had the foresight to see what type of community could be created from a series like this are probably surprised at the outcome. Starting a new series from the ground up, albeit hosted by a well-known name (Extreme Speed), takes a lot of work and to have it explode in popularity overnight is a testament to how well it’s been organized. Duane Bada, ‘Tom Attack’, Kristian Wong, Matt Rojana, Yuta, Amir, the sponsors, the media partners, and everyone else that has been involved in making the series what it is deserve a huge thank you from anyone who has participated this season. I’m definitely looking forward to next year, but first, for the last event of this year, we head over to Buttonwillow Raceway Park one last time for Round 5 of Season 2.
This past Thursday, Global Time Attack, in conjunction with Super Street, held the Super Lap Battle event at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. SLB is the last event of the GTA series and as usual, the most looked forward to of the season. Teams from all over North American arrived with hopes of breaking records and clinching titles. This was the first time I’ve attended SLB in quite some time, and it was interesting to compare it to the events I’ve been going to both here and in Japan. SLB is a two day event, and it’s much more expensive than your run-of-the-mill track event, so you know that those competing are putting everything they have to be on top; not to mention the cost of those traveling across country. It all makes for a very vibrant feeling around the pits and on track.
This past Saturday, Joey from The Chronicles held his annual meet at the Eibach Facility in Corona, CA. 2015 marked the 7th year of the website, and hundreds of people came out to show their appreciation for Joey’s work. I was headed up North that weekend, but came to Corona a bit early to say hi to everyone before I left. A lot of friends from Japan attend as they are in town for SEMA which is going on this week. I was able to get some coverage before I left around 1.
Watching the beginning of the race unfold through my camera lens served as a great way to get me even more pumped up for my first outing on track. I spent a good hour running back and forth between shooting in the paddock and watching lap times drop on the garage monitor as the drivers began warming up to the conditions.
Two weeks ago I made the not-so bad flight (I was lucky enough to snag a first class seat, so I slept the entire way) across the Pacific to Japan. I would once again be driving with the RWB team in the Idlers 12 hour Enduro at Twin Ring Motegi. This would be my second, non-consecutive, time both driving and photographing the event. It had been 5 months since I was last in Japan covering Evome, and in all honesty I wouldn’t have been back until Winter if it wasn’t for this event. The relationship that RWB has with Idlers and the people involved in both organizations are the key reason behind this event being so fun, not to mention well organized. Aside from driving Porsche’s around Motegi (not sure I need any other reason), seeing the international involvement is reason enough to go. Reuniting with people from all across the globe, and putting faces to names, is what makes this event so special to me.
I didn’t even know I was going to be in Northern California until about a day before I left. A few friends of mine were going up to Berkeley this past Friday for a concert and while I was hesitent to go because of my schedule, I kind of wanted to tag along to see a few friends that live in the City. I eventually ended up getting a ticket last minute and attending the concert as well. Since we were going to be staying in East Bay until Sunday anyway, the general consensus was to make the slight detour to San Jose and attend Wekfest.
The 2JZ powered Z32 built by C&Y Sports has adapted a much more aggressive looks since last we saw it. While it does look more the part, the cosmetics of this car aren’t the only thing that’s come a long way. The car, since 2013, has consistently improved it’s lap times around the famous Fuji Circuit.
With the year’s new Summer taking no time to bare it’s teeth, 107 degree temperatures plagued the desert at Round 5 of the 2015 VTEC Club series. Willow Springs International Raceway played host to the season’s final round, where competitors gathered to claim the last points available in each run group. While the heat may have hindered some, there were a few drivers that were able to grab personal bests despite the weather, and lap times that secured victories for each class.
Last year I was able to chat with Ejima-san about the car he has built over the past several years, at his shop TFR, to compete in the sport of Time Attack. Just by being around him, I was able to get a feel for the type of person he is and how his personality ties into his driving. It’s a duo I’ve come to enjoy watching over the past events, and it’s nice to be able to revisit the build again this year.
White; the presence of all. An achromatic array of all that’s visible in our spectrum.
It’s pure. It’s wholeness. It’s completion. A reflection of all.
It is everything without anything. It’s a complicated simplicity. In psychology, it stands for new beginnings, a clean slate; for setting a new standard. It’s only appropriate then, that Top Fuel chose to dress their time attack dominating S2000-RR in a shade of white.
My first encounter with T-Get came in the form of a R35 GTR; the last team car they commissioned at HKS Premium Day in 2014. That car, however, was visually very factory looking, with only a GT wing and mild canard setup added to the exterior (if I recall correctly it was still on factory wheels). Their 2015 entrant, the shop R34, is quite the contrast from the previous years.
With my small involvement in this industry, and the often times overwhelming amount of events in the area, I’m sometimes faced with conflicting events (ie. HKS Premium Day and Evome being on the same day) . This is usually not a concern because my interests happen to fall into a smaller niche of the whole of automotive lifestyle; such was the case for me this weekend. Formula D took place in Long Beach this weekend, as well as the accompanying car show downtown. Earlier in the week however, my friend and employee of GMG Racing, Dom, invited me to hang out with the team for the sprint race at Auto Club Speedway. Needless to say, I did not attend Formula D.
Kiyosu City, in the heart of Nagoya, is home to Shell Engineering; a shop that focuses on the total tuning of both circuit and street cars. Kogai-san, the owner, unveiled his newest project 86 at HKS Premium Day this year. Cloaked in the complete Blitz Aero Speed package, the new body panels are coated in a richly dark blue/black color that, much like the shop, elicits an aura of mystery; a mystery that sets this 86 apart from the rest.
The last time I saw this car was literally a year ago; and I can tell you, it looked nothing like this. Yes, this is the same FD chassis that PanSpeed commissioned last year at HKS Premium Day, except that this year the car has gone through quite a cosmetic transformation. Actually, you can see it’s previous reiteration here. Over the course of last year, the car was stripped of it’s exterior and fitted with an entirely new aero kit that PanSpeed has been developing. I know this is a bit late in the day, but I finally stopped fiddling with my new audio equipment that I got for the new Podcast long enough to get the article out.
On the Sunday of February 22nd, VTEC Club held the second event of their 5 round season at Big Willow at Willow Springs International Raceway. The excitement and success of the first round no doubt carried through to the club’s follow up event with, once again, over 50 entrants participating. To say the day was perfect though, would be a stretch. The week leading up to the event, the temps in Southern California had steadily been dropping, and rain was on the forecast for race weekend. Ryan was once again on hand to grab some shots of the event.
“If you build it, they will come.”
While I wouldn’t necessarily call Streets of Willow a “Field of Dreams”, I will admit that Kevin Costner’s iconic line applies well in this situation. The organizers of VTEC Club, a Honda specific spin off of Extreme Speed events, have successfully created not just a niche event, but are well on their way to (possibly accidentally) creating an entirely new community of race fans.
I wonder if it’s acceptable, in the off chance one falls victim to writer’s block, to type freely their thoughts? I mean, this is a blog after all, and blogs are typically written in an informal or conversational style. It would be difficult to keep it informational to the topic however, if I were to just start spouting off about a random thought. In the case of the Garage Mak Z33, I could start typing about Nagano; the hometown of the shop. Or perhaps about the Miyagawa brothers, the two creative powerhouses behind the brand. I could always fall back to uncreatively (is that not a word?) listing off the modifications to the Z33. To be honest though, I’m pretty sure I’ve covered all that basic stuff in prior articles – it seems redundant to keep typing it. I could talk about how I was naked in a public bath again…does anyone even read this?
There I found myself; laying on the ground, the unmistakably cold chill of the natural wooden planks pressed against my warm back, staring blankly at the clouds drifting lazily overhead. I slowly closed my eyes, ignoring the incredulous stares from the other men in the room, relaxing my exceedingly overworked muscles. As the cool breeze consumes my elevated body temperature, and a somewhat effervescent steam radiates from my naked body, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander – recollecting upon the events of the day. It had been a long one, I thought to myself, and ending the day with a trip to an onsen was nothing short of perfect (I realize that introduction has very little to do with the event, but I thought it was notably humorous).
With another weekend trip to Japan under my belt this month, I’m finally back home for the night. Yeah that’s right, for the night. I have to wake up tomorrow and fly to Dallas […]