Tag: Encounter

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Encounter: ディサイドGTR33

I stumbled across this GTR33 built by Decide226 behind Suzuka’s pits.  The notable shop, that’s based in Fukuoka, raised to fame years ago in Japan’s drag racing circuit.  The RH9 accredited garage specialized in tuning high power, 400m focused builds.  Concurrently they also prepped a range of cars for circuit racing; everything from GTR’s to EG6 Civics.  This GTR is a great example of the street inspired builds the shop has become famous for.

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Encounter: M-Technic Subaru Impreza

M’Technic Hyper Circuit Machine Producer is, well, a rather dramatic name for a tuning shop to say the least; but one glance into the type of cars they produce in-house, and the name suddenly doesn’t seem so theatrical.  Mr. Tsuchida has had the support of M’Technic throughout the build of his GDBE Impreza, and while still a young build, contains many of the qualities that the shop holds in high regard.

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Encounter: Auto Craft Evolution FD3S

About halfway between Kyoto and Osaka, there’s a stretch of road that houses a handful of ‘under the radar’ type automotive shops.  Among the largest is Auto Craft; a rotary specialist shop, that’s slowly turned their focus to a larger population of cars, most notably Toyota’s new reiteration of the 86.  While they may be playing to a larger audience these days, they certainly haven’t abandoned their dedication to developing the old Mazda chassis, and their flagship Attack FD is proof of this.

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Encounter: オートクラフト FD3S

When you think of car tuning in Japan, the last city that comes to mind is probably Kyoto.  Well, ironically enough, that’s where Auto Craft Evolution is headquartered; Kyotabe City, Kyoto.  Suzuka Circuit, in Mie Prefecture, is a much closer drive than Tsukuba or Fuji, so it’s no surprise to see them attend the Attack events at Suzuka.  We spotted this shop car on the backside of the Suzuka paddock as we pulled up in the early morning.

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Encounter: Friends Power Silvia S15

Friends Racing and their re-purposed drift Silvia have made quite the comeback over the past year or so.  Making the transformation from the GReddy backed D1 Grand Prix competitor, to a record chasing time attack build was no easy task for the small Tochigi-based outfit.  It took the company a few years to get the car to where it’s at now; a journey that is paying off in blindingly fast lap times.

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Encounter: Takigashira’s Widebody GC8D WRC Replica

Despite keeping myself busy with work and travel throughout this Summer, there’s part of me that can’t help but feel like these middle of the year months have just dragged by.  In the website’s perspective, time may as well have stopped altogether.  I suppose if there’s one downside to running a niche website, it’s that for a good portion of the year not much is going on.  Typically I’m able to head out to Japan for a few weeks in between Attack seasons, but this year, much like the last, has been way too busy.

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Encounter: Garage Kagotani Street-Spec FD

When self-proclaimed rotary enthusiast, Doctor Wada (an actual doctor by the way), set out to enhance his weekend track car, he wanted to do so without sacrificing the daily drive-ability of the car.  He tasked Garage Kagotani to boost the performance of his RX-7, while still maintaining the comfort inside the cabin.  Without a doubt, this is a very good example of a dual purpose build.  With a simple boost up to about 13 psi, as well as some supporting modifications, he’s able to clock a best time of 59.617 around TC2000.  While future plans to turn this into a dedicated track car are still on the table, I’d say that for the time being that’s an extremely good time.

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Encounter: Nakashima’s Off-Season FD3S

It’s been awhile since we’ve come across Nakashima and his red FD.  No stranger to Attack and Evome events, Tomo has been competing in the Japan based time attack events in his RX-7 for years now.  Stumbled across here in a Saitama parking lot, you can see a couple obvious changes since last year.  New GT wing element, and Craft Square mirrors replace the Ganadors that were once affixed to the doors.  Carbon side strakes line the skirts and help tie together the front and rear aero of the car.  Looks a lot more aggressive!

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Encounter: Trial and Error – しんののFD3S

A lot of what goes into running fast lap times is nothing but trial and error.  We try out new parts, that on paper should work, and in the process of application we assess the results, problems or issues that may arise and we decide if the choice was a good one, or if we should try again with a different method or part.  Experience tells us that the most cost effective decision is to keep this trial and error to a minimum.  There are some people, however, that find pleasure in the possibilities of change.

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Encounter: Auto Garage TBK – REsonance FD3S

It goes without saying, that 9 times out of 10, wheel choice defines the way a car looks.  Coming from a background predominantly in Hondas, I’ve always viewed the Desmond Regamaster as the wheel to end all wheels.  It’s a choice that looks good on nearly every car; quite similar to the TE37.  Up until I started to frequent Japan some time ago, I didn’t realize just how utilized the wheel was on other platforms as well.

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Encounter: ぽりぽり Dream Works FD3S

Dream Works is no stranger to building cars that inhabit the race track.  In fact, some of their customer cars are more well-known than their own demo cars.  Super Battle Evome class competitor ‘Pori Pori’ (which I think is the sound effect in Japanese used to describe the sound of scratching something) is one such customer.  This Super Battle Evome competitor drives to Tsukuba, lays down a sub-minute lap, and drives home in time for dinner; that’s reliability that you can’t get just anywhere.

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Encounter: Toshi’s Grooving FC3S

I get used to seeing some pretty serious builds around Japan; a lot of times it’s all or nothing.  It’s almost as if the middle ground is the least popular place to be when it comes to time attack.  More often than not, because it’s all interesting to me, I try to find a balance between sharing both the ‘all’ and ‘nothing’ builds.  Every once in awhile, however, I’ll come across one of the more minimal builds and start to question the aggressive look of the in-depth, competitive builds, and why I took my personal car down that path.  Toshi’s FC is among those that make me question why I don’t have a spirited daily anymore…

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Encounter: Toshio’s Mid-Season Comeback

Although a tough choice, sometimes starting over from scratch is the most effective way to rebuild; I’m sure we’ve all experienced the difficulty of having to undertake an entirely new project from step one and the frustrations that come along with it.  In certain circumstances,  however, we invite the opportunity to change with open arms.  A chance to rebuild something with the knowledge we’ve gathered from our prior attempts.  Such is the case with Toshio Tomizawa’s new time attack FD3S.  After blowing the motor in his old FD, he decided it was time to begin anew with a fresh chassis.

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Encounter: Circuit Comeback – はるななのDC5

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.

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Encounter: Yusuke Hoshino’s Unlimited Built CT9A

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.

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Encounter: Winds of Change – Kakimoto Racing NSX

Even at first glance you can see that Kakimoto’s one-off NSX has gone through quite a lot of change; on the surface at least.  The once, somewhat rough, unrefined exterior has been transformed into a more sleek, elegant looking exotic.  Make no mistake though; despite it’s newly refined look, the car was still bred for the circuit.  Sekinei caught the NSX sitting in the paddock of Fuji, longing to hit the track at last weekends Motor Fan Fest.

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Encounter: トトまるエボ6 – Pretty In Pink

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.

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Encounter: チームT.F.Rスープラ

Senkichi has modified his JZA80 specifically to handle the variety of turns at Tsukuba.  Each modification that he chose was specifically tailored for TC2000.  The engine’s drive-train has been upgraded and the bottom end built to handle the extra boost from the T78 turbine.  Transmission gearing has been modified to put the car in the exact power range needed for each turn.  Check out the results below.

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Encounter: Quality over Quantity – Garage Peaks S13

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.

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Encounter: ハニカミDC2

Not totally unrelated to, but probably unnecessary to explain, the Japanese word ハニカミ (hanikami) is a kind of cute way to describe ‘shyness’.  There’s an old dating show that ran on TV in Japan during the mid-2000’s called ‘恋するハニカミ!’ (love shy).  Think the 1960’s TV sensation ‘The Dating Game’ meets Japan’s incredibly unique sense of humor.  Now, clearly this has nothing to do with cars, or time attack, but it is the nickname of this Evome contendor, so let me do my best to tie this together.

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Encounter: LM Advance FD3S

I wish I had more to say about this FD, but in all honesty this is my first time seeing the car at any event.  The owner was registered in the Grooving series, which is a series in itself that, as of last year, runs in tandem with the Evome events.  The Grooving events are catered more towards beginning drivers, or those that want to improve their skill on the circuit without having to enter events that host more advanced run groups.  You can read more about it on their website.

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Encounter: Pair of Kings- Tony and Damon’s 240’s

It’s always memorable to meet new people (most of the time anyway), especially if you’re a fan of their work or if you share the same interests.  It’s even more memorable, however, if there is something attached to that meeting that makes it stand out among the many other encounters we experience.  In this case, in my meeting of Damon and Tony, that memorable event came in the form of a Shawano, Wisconsin Sheriff.

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Encounter: Garage Infinity Metal-Model Silvia

The diversity of Idlers events is comparable to few other races.  Just one glance at the entry list reveals everything from old Citroen’s and Alfa’s to Honda’s, Toyota’s and of course plenty of Porsche’s.  Each entrant is interesting to check out as they compete in all levels of tuning, but none stood out to me more than this Silvia from Garage Infinity.

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Encounter: The Advance of Yagihashi’s S15

To say that this Silvia has come a long way in the past few months would be an understatement.  It’s not all too often we know the background behind a specific car build in Japan, partially because it is not commonplace to make it known to the world what the builders are doing in real time (i.e. build threads or frequent outlets for updates).  So it would probably be a surprise to most that not too long ago this car used to be a gloss white, stock-bodied Silvia until it was involved in an unfortunate accident, leaving it in need of some intense repair.

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Encounter: ざらざら海ほたるナイトパルサー

Did ya get that one?

There’s no doubt that when Nissan developed the GTI-R version of the N14 Pulsar, they were in it to fill a performance niche.  The three-door hatchback was not only AWD, but sported the ever popular SR20DET engine producing 227 horsepower.  Boasting an incredible power-to-weight ratio, Nissan had influence to produce such a car to compete in the WRC.  I wonder if they knew other people would have similar ideas though…

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Encounter: ティー・ゲット タイムアタックのBNR34

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.

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Encounter: ERC FD3S – Iida TC2000 Running

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.

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Encounter: Shell Engineering 86 – Pit Lane Spotlight

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.

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Encounter: Osaka’s Auto Select – GTR Rundown

When Eiichiro Sawa founded Osaka based Auto Select in the early 80’s, his main goal was to share his knowledge of tuning and racing spirit with not only his friends, but with a wider range of enthusiasts as well.  In 1985, after establishing himself in the industry of aftermarket tuning, the popular magazine Carboy did a feature on Auto Select that highlighted Eiichiro’s story; this story resulted in a tremendous boost in customer base.  Their decades of continuous R&D of new parts and tuning methods has kept them alive through many lulls in the industry, and is a major reason why they’re so well known to date.  You’d be hard pressed to attend an attack event in Japan, or a motor sport event in general, without the Auto Select flag being flown.