The past few weeks have felt like slow motion to me. If ever there were a time I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of life, it’s been the last month of 2016. With a countless amount of social gatherings, the holidays, media works, preparing for next years attack events, managing work contracts, traveling across California to spend time with family, and my entirely unplanned for storefront issue, it’s been non-stop for me and honestly one of the most stressful months of my life. 2016 brought the site 78 new posts ranging from event coverage to car features from Japan and the US. I’m proud to say that despite a lower post count, we’ve continued to grow at an increasing pace.
Even in sunny Southern California, the mid-day heat is giving way to brisk mornings and chilly evenings; a sign that Summer has finally, albeit very late, left us. The ushering in of the holidays reminds us we’re already well into the Fall season, and with that comes a time that everyone involved with this website is very excited for; Attack season. Japan kicked off with a rather casual shakedown/practice meeting at Tsukuba this past week, while here in the States, VTEC Club held their first all Honda Autumn Speed Festival. Two strikingly similar events where many personal bests were broken.
This year, the collective minds behind Final Bout set out to unite a country over the sport of drifting; instilling in the nation a certain set of qualities they feel are necessary for the sport to thrive with it’s Japanese roots intact. Each carefully selected location of the Special Stage events provided their own unique characteristics in both venue and demographics that helped define what drifting is in each corner of the nation. Uncovering, and highlighting these places allowed others to experience different parts of the country, both first and second hand, that we wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to. I think this alone is reason enough to undertake a project as massive as Final Bout has been in 2016. This time the crew headed to Canaan Motor Club in central New Hampshire to host the third, and final stage of the trio of special events.
Once every year, on July 7th, tuners and enthusiasts from around the country celebrate Mazda’s shining triumph of engineering. The RX-7, to many, is so much more than a car; it’s an engineering marvel. The unique rotary motor a triangular pariah in a sea of ordinary, piston driven combustion. The chassis of the FD so perfectly geared towards time attack, has become a symbol of the sport in Japan. On this date, thousands will come together in honor of this car worldwide, with the epicenter being Tsukuba Circuit.
Picking up from where we left off in Portland, coverage in V2 will review the remaining teams that were competing over the weekend. I gotta say though, the first article on Final Bout was so wordy that I really don’t have much to say for the follow up; I kind of broke the dam gates on that one. For those who missed it, to get an overview of the event check out the first article published last week. If you’ve done that already, I won’t put you through it again – so let’s jump right into some photos.
There’s something to be said about those who go out of their way for the preservation of ideas. These people, when sensing a degradation in quality or process, will consciously take on the role of safeguarding origins. There are quite a few of us who, in our day to day, fail to see the importance of upholding certain ideologies. While the majority of us don’t fall into this category, it’s safe to say that those who do, have the ability to carry many. To them the priority lies in guidance. It’s about the teaching and the development of a new generation. A generation that may not be exposed to the superior pedigree of the past, but hold with them a desire for growth. Having spent the lesser side of a week with a few of these individuals, I can tell you it is a rare quality they possess. It is their calling, and they answer to it; and how they’ve answered has ignited a world-wide call to arms.
Don’t worry; I’m still alive.
After the dust had settled from the store opening with the new shirt and pre-sale of the tech jackets, I ended up taking (almost unconsciously) a week break from the site. During my absence I was reintroduced once again to just how finite time is. The few hours a day I had set aside for the website were definitely not thrown into the leisure category; well, maybe a few. But instead, they were reallocated into a combination of my day job, travel, shop work, my day job (did I already say that?), relationships, and probably a whole bunch of other things that makeup life that I can’t even remember.
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.
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.
With the seemingly never-ending popularity of Mazda’s 90’s classic, the RX7, it’s not uncommon for it’s successor, the RX-8, to get overlooked. At the time, the newly introduced Renesis engine, while a great performer at high RPM, lacked torque and overall power; mainly due to the extreme efficiency of the engine to meet strictly enforced emissions laws. Because of this, the naturally aspirated 1.3 liter rotary seemed to always get passed on for it’s older, turbocharged counterpart. Wanting to prove the RX-8’s worth, and to help stoke parts development of the chassis, Aoki-san at Revolution took on the task of building the ultimate RX-8. The first step? Ditching the Renesis motor for a naturally aspirated 20B.
As we landed back in Narita on the evening of the 12th, I couldn’t help but feel like I hadn’t even left the country. The sun had just began to set through the scattered clouds on the horizon and the diffused, orange glow of the afternoon’s last rays forced it’s way through the aircraft windows and into my eyes. It had only been 3 weeks since I was last in Japan, a travel duration that becomes the norm during this time of year; the hectic 3 month period when time attack events are at their peak. Actually, back in the States, I was so busy with new contracts at work and getting the store up that I hardly had time to post any content on site before heading back. Nevertheless, I had returned to Japan and first thing in the morning we would make our way back to Tsukuba for the second, and final, round of Battle Evome.
I ran into Masaki this weekend at the second round of Battle Evome at Tsukuba Circuit. He was not driving his shops demo car, however, but his street ‘practice’ Porsche 996. On radials, he had hoped to get a still respectable 1’05.000 out of the German made sports car (and if I recall correctly he ended up lapping in the 1’03 range). We made small talk about his drive to Tsukuba from Kobe, and the day’s unseasonably warm weather. The conversation didn’t linger on the day’s drive for too long though, and I soon changed the subject to that of his flagship build; the Craft Company FD3S.
There’s a strange equality to winter, I think. It’s a balance that can only come with the sacrifice of life; a level playing field for all beings; a restart to a long year of effort and hard work of rebuilding from the previous season’s eradication. It sounds rather bleak, but it gives us, it gives everything, a chance to reestablish a new, improved form. It provides an opportunity to apply what we’ve learned from the past, to return stronger, an enhanced version, and if all goes as planned, a superior adaptation to that of last year. And so it is each year for the competitors of Battle Evome.
Just two short months ago, G-Force took this EVO to TC2000 to let Tanaguchi fling it around some corners during an open test day. The car ran an impressive high 55 second lap; and I can assure you, it looked nothing like this. The car’s exterior, then, was clad in a variety of Varis parts, and while it was a bit wider than OE, it was still relatively non-threatening in appearance. Fast forward to TAS and the car that was displayed at their booth was a new beast entirely.
Car Modify Wonder had several cars on hand to introduce their somewhat new lineup of Glare aero parts, and as usual, they did not disappoint. It’s refreshing to see a truly unique and creative offering, especially for older chassis’. It’s a stark contrast from what we’ve recently been used to seeing; which is more or less a cookie cutter approach to exterior styling (I don’t need to say anymore than that for you to catch my drift). Check out the shots below and let me know what you think.