Seeing as he lives all the way down in Kyushu, I consider myself lucky to have caught Nozaki and his FD at Fuji during Seven’s Day. I didn’t get the opportunity to see him at Autopolis Super Lap and was excited to see the build up close.
A prominent influence in the Mitsubishi tuning domain, Garage G-Force has spent the last decade fighting to solidify a name for themselves as the number-one Evolution tuning company in Japan. That fight, however, hasn’t been easy.
Every once in awhile a car comes around that emanates a youthful disposition throughout the paddock. A somewhat adolescent, not yet fully refined look alludes to the driver being in more of an exploratory phase of driving; a stark contrast to those that have been driving for decades.
There seems to be at least one privateer in every class of time attack that is always looming just behind the top teams record times. They typically don’t have the resources afforded to them from owning a shop, and usually rely on the knowledge of a particular ‘support’ shop to assist them in getting their cars to where they want them. Despite their disadvantage, they close the gap to the frontrunners of the sport, time and time again. Yoshitaka Ishii and his bright green S2000 are a prime example of this.
The uniqueness of time attack as a motor sport comes in the form of precise continuity. If the slightest error is made anywhere on the track, the moment of contention is lost. Many times there exists only one chance, where conditions are aligned, that the drivers who live on the limit are able to achieve record laps. There is a feeling of tension, exclusive to the sport that makes it so appealing to it’s participants and fans. Man and machine working together harmoniously, becoming one, in an unforgiving waltz that carries them to the peak of their abilities.
There are so many cool builds in the paddock of any given Attack event in Japan, that I often fail to acknowledge just how in-depth some of the builds are. As the sport progresses, and the participants seek to go faster and faster, their machines eventually begin to become a reflection of their drive. Putting budget aside, I’d have to say that the ASM Yokohama S2000 is one of the premiere examples of this idea. This particular build, which ASM has been developing for over a decade, all but reached the peak of it’s very active life in the last weekend of February.
There’s no doubt that, in Japanese motor sport, one name stands out among the rest. In almost everything they do, they need to be on top. The fastest, the most advanced. HKS will stop at nothing to collect these titles, and the TRB-03 has become their newest vessel to achieve them. The company has enveloped it’s priority in the project with the goal of being nothing less than the fastest around Tsukuba’s TC2000. It was even re-branded as the ‘Tsukuba Record Breaker’, from it’s original designation as the GTS800; a tip of the hat to it’s capped power level (which is debatable…). The car has been through extensive testing over the past year, and last weekend at HKS Day, I was able to finally get a closer look at it.
I feel like ever since the Cyber Evo set the standard for what a successful attack EVO should be, Mitsubishi devotees have been trying to redefine the level of what is considered top tier. Average power levels have risen, aerodynamics play a much larger role now, and tuning has come such a long way in the past decade that it’s almost hard to keep up. Even the Cyber Evo wasn’t immune to the changes; in the 2011 to 2012 transition, in order to defend their title, Takizawa turned to C-West in hopes of gaining an advantage in aerodynamics without unbalancing the winning formula they had. Competition in the sport was advancing so quickly that it soon became apparent that if you weren’t improving, you were for sure going to be left behind.
A couple weeks ago Zummy held one of the first open time attack events of the what is considered the ‘prime’ season at TC2000; temps have dropped, and track conditions are ideal for fast times. Many of the amateur drivers used this as an opportunity to shakedown their summer upgrades. We saw a lot of modifications to existing builds, as well as the debut of many newer entries to the ever-growing niche. It didn’t take long for the returning drivers to see the fruits of their labor, and within laps personal bests were being racked up across the board.
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.
Up until this past attack season, I had never met Mr. ‘Harunana’ but I had stumbled across his Minkara page a few years ago. Back then his DC5 looked quite a bit different. The car’s exterior was much more sparse, and I can imagine the car was actually a lot heavier as well. But a lot can change over the course of a couple years, and this DC5 is testament to that.
At the beginning of the year, after seeing Yusuke at both Evome events, I had realized that I never really posted much of his EVO. We chatted a bit after the second event, and he mentioned that the car had been acting less than ideal. Which shows in the lap times; nearly a full second off his January time. Still, he’s come a long way with his build and it was Kaz at Unlimited Works that set him on the right track.
Back in November we took a close look at the Shaft built ER34 Skyline at the Attack event at Tsukuba; you can check that article out here. Being the immense admirer of four-door Skylines that I am, I shot a whole bunch more photos of it at Battle Evome this year. After talking to Suzuki personally about the car, I gained a whole new level of respect for the build.
Hailing from the cold North of Hokkaido, FD specialists Car Shop Dream can claim the rights to one of the most unique looking FD’s in Japanese time attack. As you would imagine, due to the distance, it’s not often that Kurokawa-san and his team get out to Tsukuba. As a result, they don’t get as much seat time at the track as some of the other locals. Despite this, Kurokawa has piloted his 600whp build to a personal best of 57.880. Ultimately, after achieving times more close to the 55 second range at Tsukuba, he’d really like to shoot for competing in WTAC. The car is an ongoing project, so who knows? Check out some pictures past the break.
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.
I had a couple more shots Sekinei sent over from the Attack event last month that I processed real quick; thought I’d just clump them together in a bonus gallery to start your week off on the right foot. Probably should have just included them in one of the two posts, but I think I may have gotten side tracked haha. Don’t want them to go to waste, so click past the break to see the gallery.
We pick up at Tsukuba right as the green flag for the first session drops. I’ve always thought the anticipation of a Time Attack event is second only to the time the cars take to the track. The consuming sound of the high reeving engines, late breaking into corners, the snapping of the cars as they oversteer out of the turns; it’s almost too much excitement to handle. Let’s head track-side for the second round of Monday’s coverage; click the break to see the action.
Attack season in Japan officially kicked off with the first Attack Fever event being held at Tsukuba’s infamous TC2000. The event drew a good amount of participants, no doubt eager to start racing once again. While the weather ended up taking a turn for the worse halfway through the morning, there was still enough time for a handful of ideal laps to be thrown down.
Shaft Auto Service, a small outfit in Hachioji that specializes in four door Skylines. Foremost a car dealership that holds inventory in a wide variety of Skylines, the owner, Shibuya Taro, offers many ancillary services ranging in everything from fiberglass work, to engine tuning. Usually a company that stays off the grid, you’d easily recognize their work with the D1 Blitz R34 that Nomuken drives; as Taro-san has a very good relationship with Blitz. This year they decided to try their hand with a certain take on Time Attack; in steps the Shaft ER34.
I’d say that, after three years of attending Evome, the one thing I really get excited for is seeing everyone again, as well as meeting new friends. The privateer ‘Attack’ season in Japan is such a short lived experience each year that my time with the drivers is fairly brief. This is somewhat of a Catch 22 because while it does make each encounter much more special, I end up having to divide my time between talking to people and photographing the hour long event; and with just 3-4 Evome events a year, my time becomes very limited (especially not living in Japan).
I really have to give credit to the formation of NORUSH, alongside NDF of course, for opening up the doors to relationships I may or may not have had otherwise. In the scheme of things, not much time has passed since Allan, myself, and the rest of the guys were really involved in the street driving. So much has happened since then though, that it seems like it’s been decades.
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.
I know I’ve posted a couple shots of this car in the past (in a bit more comprehensive write up), but I was combing through some Evome coverage from the beginning of the year and came across a ton of material I never posted. Among them were shots of the AutoBahn Soarer that, unfortunately, didn’t make it around the track much this event.
There’s something to say about the people around us who promote self-efficacy.
The capacity to unknowingly emanate a trait such as this is rare, and when you come across it you can’t help but be positively influenced. Even a simple exchange of dialogue can have a major effect on the goals and beliefs you’re currently pursuing. This is exactly the type of feeling I had when I had the opportunity to meet Philip Robles this past weekend.
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.
As I sit in front of my gate at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, with the hopes (although very little) of catching an earlier flight back to California, my mind can’t help but wander back towards days that I enjoy more than those of which I spend inside the depths of US airports; which I relate now more or less to that of a colony of bees. Filled to the brim with people going about their every which way, connecting to cities across the expanse of the Earth, each with a unique task to complete (varying in importance). The days on my mind? Those of which are spent in Japan, at the circuits which I’ve grown all too comfortable being at…
59.051 seconds is what it took Iida-san to pilot his Elite Racing Company built FD around the 14 turns of Tsukuba’s TC2000. It’s no surprise though, knowing ERC’s knowledge of rotary tuning, that Iida had the capability of achieving such a time. The Saitama based shop, run by Ohya Masaatsu is not only one of the leading shops in rotary tuning, but they can also boast for having literally the most amount of random links on their website that I have ever seen. Click past the break for more shots.
I’ve always held ATTKD in high regard. Not only because of their rich history in parts development and tuning, but more so because of their ability to put pressure on the frontrunners of time attack. The surprisingly large shop based out of Nagano is responsible for a handful of notable Nissan builds; namely their flagship 32 you see here. Working closely with their long time test driver, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita, they were able to get under 2 seconds shy of the Top Fuel S2000; which has quickly become the benchmark for time attack at Fuji. In an almost ‘behind the scenes’ fashion, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita piloted the Skyline around Fuji Circuit in a remarkable 1’40.925.
Saitama native Nakashima Tomoyoshi, or Tomo for short, is an avid fan of the RX-7. Unique in many ways, the car has stolen his attention for better half of several years. Before he built the FD you see here, Tomo was the proud owner of a white Savanna FC.
Arvou; a name that, over the past few years, has become synonymous with time attack focused S2000 builds (and more importantly Lotus for all you Euro fans) – with good reason too. With their focus pulled toward developing their HKS Supercharged demo car, it’s hard to think that they were involved in anything else. You might be surprised to hear then, that Mr. Shibata actually founded the company in 1985, making Arvou nearly 30 years old. That’s a lot of racing history attached to the company!
I started running through these Arvou shots at HKS Day this afternoon after work. Since I’m home this weekend I’m trying to piece together something before the week begins again. I particularly liked this shot […]
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.
Like the majority of people competing in time attack events in Japan, Takanori Seyama is the owner of a shop that deals with car sales and procurement. Located on a quiet street in the heart of Ryugasaki, Ibaraki, his shop, Seyamax, not only houses his inventory of cars for sale, but is also headquarters for what Takanori really loves to do; and that is to race. Over the past couple years he has built, and perfected his car of choice to become as fast as possible. His R32, dubbed ‘Real Of The World’, is no slouch on TC2000. His 2015 target time is set at 57.5 seconds around Tsukuba, and with a personal best of 57.970 to back it, it seems a very reasonable goal to accomplish.
Well, this post has been a long time coming! Hard to believe it was about 8 months I ago that I made the trek out to Gunma to shoot Takahashi’s FD for Super Street. Now that the magazine has been off the stands for awhile, I think it’s about time I post up some new and behind the scene shots that weren’t used in the magazine. To be honest I’ve been so caught up with other coverage and work in general that I forgot all about posting some shots. I ran into Takahashi at the last Battle Evome and it reminded me I had these shots just sitting around. He was at the event supporting the Wood Village S30, as he had just completed some work on it.
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).
The poster child of HKS Premium Day; the GT1000+. An enormously high powered R35 that was built for the sole purpose of achieving the fastest lap possible. The build, which will compete in WTAC next year, was also the other half of the final event where they pit the GTR against the Endless Sports z4 GT3 I posted just yesterday.
Have you ever had this strange urge, when opening a new book, to read the last paragraph before you actually start to read it? I have. For whatever reason, I’ve always been compelled to turn to the last page before starting. Often times, it doesn’t yield any spoilers or give any of the plot away, but sometimes it can give you a pretext of what to expect throughout the new literature.
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 […]
No, your eyes do not deceive you; this is the same Soarer that was coated in a bright white just last year. This season though, the white panels have been shed in favor of […]