Tag: Feature

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Feature: Koyorad x NDF Street ISF V.8 – Spring Rate Change

Between the amount of traveling I’ve done early this Summer (Japan’s record temps in June), our new focus on growth, and the recent heatwave here in the West, this years off-season has developed a sense of eternity to it.  Even now in September, as people are gearing up to race again, the idea of heading out to the track for testing alludes me.

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Video: Visiting Garage Mak in Nagano – S15 Type 6 Delivery

This past weekend I headed to Nagano to photograph my friend Tsubaki’s new S15 delivery. He had the car fixed and fitted with the new Garage Mak Type 6 front end. While I was there, we take a close look at Amemiya’s 1,000+hp S15 at the shop, and I also took some photographs of our friend Masato’s DIY S13.

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Feature: Koyorad x NDF Street ISF V.7 – SOW CCW & TRD Series Round 3

Before I take off for Japan for the Summer, I was lucky enough to have one more opportunity to take the ISF to the track with all the tire issues finally sorted out.  I wasn’t able to get the stiffer springs on in time, however that may have actually worked out better for the baseline testing.

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Feature: Excellence In Craft – Arvou Motor Sports Service

Growing up with his father, Akira, Yusaku Shibata was embraced with motor sport from the moment he arrived in this world.  His life would see him behind the wheel of numerous race cars throughout a number of series, and eventually coming full circle to own and operate the tuning shop his father founded in 1985; ARVOU Motor Sports Service.

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Feature: Advancing The Next Generation – U29 Champion Shoya Okumura

With time attack in Japan being dominated mostly by an older generation, modern government regulations, and a waning interest in automotive culture in Japan’s urban centers, it often leaves us questioning if the allure of motor sports is bright enough to draw in new participants.  There are arguments that can be made on both sides, however, we tend to agree that it is as bright as ever, and conversing with individuals like Shoya Okumura only helps to solidify our feelings on the subject; and we’re not alone.

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Feature: RGN Tuning – Maximizing Efficiency In Time Attack

There is a good chance that if you’re browsing this website, you’re familiar with Aoki-san of Ready GO Next.  Not only does he have a successful shop catering to RX7 tuning, but he is among the masterminds associated with the creation of Attack; Japan’s most renowned time attack event.

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Feature: Archive 80R – The Kagayaki KBC Evolution V

The ‘Kagayaki’ (かがやき) is a high speed train service that operates between Tokyo and Kanazawa on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line.  It is jointly owned by JR East and JR West, and is the fastest train on this particular line reaching speeds of up to 260kph.  It also served as the inspiration for the livery and overall appearance of Oya-Ji’s widebody Evolution 5.

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Gallery: Archive 80R – Ms Machine Works Cayman GT3

Within Japan’s small group of elite tuners, there lies a select few who continuously take it among themselves to set the bar higher; taking their chosen projects and transforming them into something more akin to a factory backed race program.  The team at M’s Machine Works, led by Takayuki Mizumoto, are a shining example of this, and exactly why they were chosen to be featured in 80R Volume 3.

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Feature: Renewed Ambition – Sakamoto Engineering 86

We’ve all experienced the ebb and flow of motivation; the slow, but seemingly  permanent, oscillation of decline and growth in development.  Albeit difficult to admit it for the majority of us, as time passes, our incentives naturally change.  That is, until we come across a new catalyst that stokes the tides in the favor of progress.  Such was the case with Hiroki Sakamoto.

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Feature: Amir Bentatou – The RS Future K20 NSX

There is no doubt that the shear excitement of driving a purpose-built race car on the edge is enough for any driver to justify the money and work that gets put into building it.  Although, surprisingly there are very few people that understand the actual amount of work that goes into building a race car; Amir Bentatou is not one of those people.

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Feature: Military Standard – Philip Robles Time Attack EG6

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.

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Feature: Hiroshi Shimada – Southern Style CT9A

In the heart of Winter this year, I made the trek down to Kyushu to attend Autopolis Superlap.  Unbeknownst to me (because it happened when I was in-flight from Tokyo to Kumamoto) the event had been cancelled due to excessive snowfall in the area.  For the past week, the likelihood of the event taking place was always brought into question.

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Feature: Northern Exposure – The GNR Racing EK9

The evolution of time attack builds in Japan is, for me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the sport.  The dedication of the teams and the drivers to improve performance each season typically results in a year over year change in the appearance of the cars.  Especially given the fact that most of the Attack competitors are ghosts on social media in comparison, it’s always a surprise to see what they unveil at the start of each season.

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Feature: The Casual Race Car – NDF B20 Spec DC2

At some point in time, my friend Duane mentioned to a few of us that, barring interest, he was thinking of starting a spec-B20 class within the VTEC Club events.  As you can imagine, it was an idea that didn’t catch on too quick.  In fact, anybody we mentioned it to had a decent laugh at our expense.  B20’s, in their stock form, don’t have the greatest appeal in the realm of racing Hondas, so the idea that enough people would want to be involved to even warrant it’s own class was comical at best.  Boy, were they all wrong.

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Feature: Third Times A Charm – The JDM Yard EG6

Winning just one first place trophy, for any class, in the World Time Attack Challenge would be a lifetime achievement for most people.  Claiming two would be a way to show the world that it wasn’t a fluke.  However, taking that top podium spot three times would undoubtedly leave a mark on the time attack world that not many teams can achieve.  A true champion can prove that they have what it takes to keep winning;  evolving to meet new challenges.  That’s precisely what the guys at JDM Yard have done.

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Feature: The 86 Progression – Keiichi Tsuchiya

One of the more anticipated cars of this year’s WTAC among fans and builders alike, had to be Beau Yates’ revamped AE86.  With Mark Bissett leading the team, the car was built at Hypertune in Sydney, and has been entirely stripped of it’s former drift specification and rebuilt as a time attack car fit for a king; and by king, I mean none other than Keiichi Tsuchiya.  Keiichi was slated to drive the car in Open Class this year at Sydney Motorsports Park.

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Feature: Takanori Seyama – A Restrained Potential

From the time I began to take an interest in Japanese Time Attack, I’ve had the chance to see Takanori Seyama’s R32 evolve year after year, slowly transforming into one of the countries fastest GTR’s.  With that one fact being known, you’d think that the car would be a household name for fans of the sport.  However, Takanori keeps such a low profile that the exposure of his build doesn’t quite hit the reach that others do.  It’s a testament to his humble character that, despite knocking on the door of 53’s, he’s a frontrunner that tends to stay in the shadows.

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Feature: In Good Company – Masaki Kitajo’s FD3S

It seems to be about every 2 years or so I have the opportunity to check in with Masaki-san.  A staple of the Attack community, Masaki’s FD has served as his test bed and company demo car for nearly a decade, and continues to evolve year after year.  I remember seeing it for the first time back in 2012 at Tsukuba during Advan’s ‘Fastest Amateur Tournament’.  Back then the car had a full FEED Afflux kit and was comparatively very mild looking.  Oh how far we’ve come…

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Feature: HKS TRB-03 – The Tsukuba Maverick

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.

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Feature: A Test of Time – Hiroshi Amemiya’s Garage Mak S15

I had the real pleasure of shooting Ame’s car underneath the Yokohama Bay Bridge back in 2014 before the Winter Cafe.  Back then we had talked a bit online, but that was the first time I met him in person, and being a bit humbled at the time, wasn’t really up to asking many questions.  Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch, and continue our friendship from a distance. The car has also undergone some fairly dramatic changes, so when I visited Nagano at the end of last year, I jumped at the chance to photograph the car again in it’s evolved state.  This time, I had the intentions of re-writing an article not just about the car, but about the owner as well.

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Feature: The Future of Time Attack – Yasuhiro Ando’s RX-7

I recently read a somewhat contradictory article published on a popular website that surmised that there were no longer interesting cars in Japanese time attack, and how there has been a split in interest as nobody wants to build record setting cars any longer.  The article goes on by saying that while there are still plenty of mid-50 second cars at Tsukuba (ahem, breaking records), this lack of general interest in being the fastest is allowing companies to take advantage of a new market that caters to the hobbyist.  Of course this is an opinionated perception, albeit factually incorrect, and naturally everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it takes just a few minutes to see the holes in this side of the argument.

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Feature: The Finer Things – Garage Mak GTR35

There are few companies these days that go out of their way to cultivate a culture of quality.  Unfortunately, it’s all too common for people to squeeze out as much profit as possible from mediocre products, sacrificing integrity for a quick buck.  While it may be the more difficult route, those companies that are dedicated to ensuring the experience of buying and owning a product goes further than just fulfilling a desire, are the companies that are likely to be around for years to come.  The Nagano based tuning shop, Garage Mak, falls into this category, ensuring that the reputation of their brand comes before all else.

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Feature: Bringing The Fire – Yoshiki Ando’s ESCORT Built CT9A

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.

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Feature: Shinobu Matayoshi – TFR AHW FD3S

One of my favorite things to do on my down time is research time attack builds in Japan.  It’s akin to that of a treasure hunt for me.  I enjoy the prospect of being among the first to find out about certain aspects of the build, and to both share it through the website and take inspiration from them for my own builds.  There is still a large gap between the publicization of builds in Japan versus that of builds in Western countries, and because of this, information can be very difficult to come across sometimes.  I think that’s what makes it interesting for me though; and this same theme plays true in other aspects of life as well.  The harder you work towards something, the more satisfaction it brings you.