Without a doubt, Philip Robles has become a household name in the time attack scene around the Southwestern US. Having competed in a wide variety of sanctioned events throughout Arizona and California over the past several years, he has solidified his place among motor sport’s most dedicated drivers.
It may be obvious to most people, but after surrounding myself with Japan’s fastest time attack cars, I often times need to remind myself that there are several cars not built to an extreme that are very noteworthy. In fact, sometimes its the cars that are very tastefully modified that stand out the most; as is the case with Yuma Koide’s EK9. While the bright blue exterior is quick to catch the eye of a passerby, it’s what you don’t see that keeps you staring.
The Garage Work camp has been hard at work on several of their shop cars for the 2018 season. Iwata has chosen to put his personal build aside in order to concentrate on the advancement of a few select customers; which is a somewhat noble, but necessary thing to do when you own your own tuning shop. The dedication is paying off though, as all 3 of the cars they have competing have broken personal records. One of them stands out among the rest, however, and it all started last year when he broke a very important record at Tsukuba.
It seems like ages since I’ve driven my car, and at the pace that life seems to be moving recently that wouldn’t even be an exaggeration. It’s been well over two years since I’ve written of any progress (publicly – I keep a notebook), and just about a year and a half since I’ve driven the thing. I can honestly say, however, that over the past 6 months there hasn’t been a day that I wasn’t focused on finishing this build. In these past two years I’ve learned more about the nuances specific to building Honda’s than I have in my entire life; from engine building and wiring to fabrication and fluid dynamics. It hasn’t been easy, but thankfully I have some amazingly talented friends that have helped along the way.
This past weekend I was able to knock out a lot of work on the car. For whatever reason I had this idea in my head that the rest of the build would be smooth sailing after the new motor setup got tuned; boy was I wrong. Getting the motor running properly was a huge milestone, but it far from marked the completion of the build. There is still much to do, and among them was to replace the overweight front calipers with a reliable, lightweight alternative – APG Performance answered that call.
This 280ps K-powered EK9 from GNR traveled a long way from home to run at the Attack event at Tsukuba this year. The owner, Yasuko Asai, hails from the northern island of Hokkaido; needless to say he doesn’t get down to Ibaraki very often. At his local circuit, Tokachi International Speedway, the car clocks a 1’24.666 on the Clubman course configuration. An extremely respectable time when you consider that a Super Taikyu Porsche GT3 ran literally the same time.
Something happened last month that honestly didn’t get the recognition it deserved; at least from publications that I frequent. In hindsight I probably should have made it more of a priority to highlight the news on my end other than social media, but in my defense I was busy with work and part of me wanted to wait until I talked to a few people about it. When a guy like Suzuki Under breaks records it’s, because of his amassed following, it’s pretty easy to hear information about it. I remember when he clocked the 50.746 back in December everyone I knew was talking about it; and rightly so, it’s amazing. So when I heard that during last month’s Attack Tsukuba Championship, Yusuke had broken the 57 second barrier to clock a lap time of 56.748 I thought the internet would explode.
It’s always refreshing to me to see productivity in it’s most energetic form. I think their are many positive effects to being constructive and it seems to me that it is overlooked quite often. It’s an aspect of life that adds a great deal of meaning to what we choose to pursue. Instinctively knowing the difference between being busy and being productive gives us the ability to progress through life much more efficiently; ultimately allowing us to experience more, and get the most out of our time. Ryo Kaneko is a man who knows the benefits of productive living, and it shows through his work on the circuit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*Brushes dust off of WordPress topic*
Whew, been awhile since we’ve visited this one hasn’t it? I didn’t realize it until I went back and verified, but the last post on my personal build was all the way back in July! What the hell have I been doing the past 8 months? I can answer that for you – not working on the car. You can view the last update here to get an idea of where we’re picking up from. In all honesty I probably wouldn’t have posted anything more on the car except for a few comments I get on IG (@naritadogfight) requesting an update. I’ve pretty much just relied on the few pictures I post as a record of my progress, but since I had my camera at the shop yesterday I decided to snap a few pictures. You’ll be quick to notice not much has changed.
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.
Caught this pretty cool FD2 at Tsukuba during a Grooving event. The entire interior was gutted and it was running a pretty mild aero package. Fastest time it clocked was 1’01.25 – pretty quick! The fender cut away made the car look much more aggressive than the factory form. Click past the break for a few more shots.
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.
So, yeah. This will probably go down as the most random post of 2015 NDF, but I figured I’d combine the two as we didn’t spend that much time at either. The same day that HKS held their Premium Day event, our friends at Tension reserved the Fuji drift track and held their own ‘Premium Day’ so to speak. While the guys in Tension are all super nice, they have a somewhat sketchy history, so I’m glad Sekinei is good friends with them. They’ve always support NDF and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.
So during the lunch break on the Speedway side, Sekinei and I meandered over to Fuji’s drift track to say hi and snap some photos.
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.
“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.
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.
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 […]
This past weekend marked the start of Round 6 of the Redline Time Attack season, and as it ends it will leave just 2 more rounds until the series final. As I’m writing this, […]
A month or so ago Maruyama-san had got together with Sekinei and organized a Civic meet at Daikoku PA that was to be held last weekend. The original idea came about because of […]
I got a few things done on the car since my last post, I mean, not much, but it’s something I suppose. I realized I hadn’t really posted many pictures of the cage, so […]
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 […]
If there happened to be a collegiate panel somewhere in this world discussing the topic of ‘slow progress’, they’d probably call me in as an expert consultant. I’d inform them that the key […]
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 […]
I’ve been overdue for an update on this build for awhile now; even though not much has happened since. This past Saturday Jay and I drove over to Bardabe’s place to finally wrap up […]
So, one of the side projects that I’ve been working on over the past few months is expanding the site to include a very niche line of carbon goods, targeted towards circuit racing and […]
Last night I made the trip back to Riverside to resume work on the Civic build. Although I was only going to be able to work on it for a few hours, I have to […]
I’d be lying if I said I knew where to begin with this series, and well, since I’m not a liar I’ll begin it with this really awkward sentence instead. I’ve had this car […]
It’s all in the name; “Anti-Roll Bar”. Although, more often refereed to as a sway bar, the purpose of these bars is to reduce the amount of body roll in your vehicle during fast corning, […]
For as long as I can remember, there has always been one Civic build that I’ve always looked up to. Of course, it was in Japan, and of course I was blessed with seeing […]
Caught this cool, track styled SiR at Tatsumi PA last weekend. I didn’t get a chance to talk in depth with the owner because just about as soon as he parked, the police rolled […]
Looks like the owner of this EK is taking some styling ques from the ‘USDM’ style catalog; with it’s OEM body, and good amount of US based decals. The silver Meisters look great against […]
Continuing my walk around of the Queen Mary grounds where Wekfest was being held, we pick up around 1:30 pm when the crowds started to get bigger. The tour of shows that Weksos organizes has […]
Yesterday evening we decided to make the drive out to Riverside to visit Franklin. His car’s been down for awhile and he hasn’t been able to come down our way for awhile. I had been driving a lot this past week, and didn’t really feel like tacking on a drive all the way out to Riverside, so I got a ride with Allan and we both met Yuta over there. It’s been quite awhile since I did a Garage Life post, so I brought along my camera stuff to get a few shots – nothing fancy though. Not sure why, but I don’t really take pictures of what I do outside of events and stuff, but these types of post get good attention; so you can expect more day to day lifestyle type posts like this in the future. Anyway, click past the break for a few more shots.
. I told myself a few days ago that I would start working on the new website again, seriously this time. I got a little discouraged when my desktop crashed and had to redo everything […]
Since there’s not too much left, I’ll go ahead and finish the rest of the pictures in this post. Like I mentioned before, the day just didn’t really unfold like a typical car show day for me, so I got very limited shots. I think most of these are going to be from around 6-7 pm in the evening, just as the sun was setting behind the hi-rises of downtown LA. This was also when a lot of the show cars were leaving, which made it nice to get some solitary shots of each. I’m always a little urked by how close together they park some of the cars; making it almost impossible to get a decent picture of them. Especially when you have a lot of open lot space, you can give each car another foot of room or so and it would be much better. I’ve never organized a car show before though so what the hell do I know? I’m sure there’s reasons for it. In a way I’m kind of glad I didn’t take many pictures, but rather enjoyed walking around and taking a close look at the cars – which is something I don’t often do. The lineup of Honda builds, organized by Joey Lee from The Chronicles, was pretty amazing. So in that sense, I’m glad I got a better look at them, instead of just taking pictures. I’m sure he’ll have massive coverage, so be sure to check it out. Click past the break for more.
Nisei Week in Downtown Los Angeles; a time to celebrate the Japanese-American culture in the best way; good food, great location, lots of celebration, people dressing up in Japanese attire and of course the Nisei Showoff. I wasn’t actually planning on attending this year for a few reasons, but because I sort of volunteered my car to help Yuta out, I ended up attending later in the day. I had work in the morning all the way in Orange County, so I didn’t actually end up getting to Little Tokyo until a little after 3. I had been driving Allan’s Fit because he had to drive my car to LA that morning to set up at the Wheel Flip booth. Actually a really good thing because his Fit has great air conditioning, and it was basically the hottest day of the year. So due to my time constraints, I didn’t get as much coverage as I usually do – which I don’t really mind as I wasn’t planning on going anyway. The cars I did really want to get shots of, the Loi-Spec Integras, all left a bit early so I never got the chance to photograph them. Not too big of a deal though as I’m sure I’ll see them at a Raceline event in the near future. It probably didn’t help that the first thing we did when we go into the show was…leave the show. I couldn’t help it though; I was starving and in Little Tokyo – I needed ramen and a beer. If I were to be completely honest, it seems like the turn out wasn’t anything like the previous years; the lot was not as full, and the crowds just weren’t there. This could be for a few reasons; one being that the Infamous Hellaflush meet was being held on the same day in Long Beach, and the other being that this event seems to always be ‘up in the air’ as to whether or not there will be a next year. Why the Hellaflush meet was planned for the same day is beyond me. It seems almost suicide for the ‘scene’ to plan two huge events on the same day, 20 miles apart from one another and tear people between which to attend. Anyway, most of my shots were from later in the day as people were getting ready to leave, so I apologize if it seems strange. Click past the break for the first part of the coverage.