Tag: Group-N

Encounter: Spoon Sports Endurance S2000

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I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “Some of the best things in life are free”.  A saying most likely referring to memories or moments in time.  For the most part I’d agree, as it’s happened to me several times.  The things in life that are the most special often happen unexpectedly and in the most obscure places – take this encounter for example.  If you want to get technical with it, this moment wasn’t technically free, but I can say that it was both unexpected and obscure; crazy any way you want to look at it.  On our way back to Tokyo from Motegi, my friend and I had decided to pull over at a rest stop for a bite to eat and a little refill of caffeine (in the form of some Emerald Mountain Blend).  The long drive back on the expressway had started taking it’s toll on us and after spending an entire day shooting an endurance race, the last thing you want to do is drive for 2 hours back home.  As we pulled into the parking area, and drove towards the back to park, we noticed a trailer with a pair of Nissan’s resting atop.  As we got closer we realized it was the two Okabe Jidosha Taikyu team’s cars.  I suppose they had the same idea as us and stopped for a little break.  Not one to miss a photo-op, I grabbed my camera and tripod and snapped a few shots before we went into the restaurant (You can see one of the shots here – I’ll post more later).  As we were eating our curry and whatever the hell else I had ordered, we kept trying to pick out who was involved in the racing team.  I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to tell just by looking at someone, but we tried anyway.  We finished up, grabbed some coffee from vending, and made our way back to the car when we saw this.  Click past the break for more – I promise you won’t see stuff like this anywhere else.

Event: Super Taikyu Round 2 – Twin Ring Motegi v.2

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I think I’ll break up the Wekfest coverage with the second post of Super Taikyu from Twin Ring.  I have a few fans that are awaiting the continuation of this and it just so happens I initially started posting it right before Wekfest hit town; which was not my intention.  Plus, seeing a couple of race cars fight it out on track will be a nice contrast to the show coverage.  We left off on the last post somewhere near the start of the race, after the practice laps.  By now you have a good impression of the diversity of this series; I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a million times now, but it’s part of why this is such a cool race.  Part of the appeal of Group-N racing series’ is that it has the ability to make any regular person feel like they can be a race car driver behind the wheel of there normal, every day car.  That’s not to say that they should…but it’s nice to have that feeling.  A popular car among the Super Taikyu contenders is the Sturm Motul STi.  You can see it here propped up on the air jacks in the team garage; the crew going through a few final tests before it’s unleashed on the track for the 4 hour stint.  Check the continued coverage past the break.

Event: Super Taikyu Round 2 – Twin Ring Motegi V.1

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耐久 [Taikyu] – Translate the word to English and it becomes ‘Endurance’, or ‘Persistence’.  Both of which are needed in a series like Super Taikyu; where the most average of cars are transformed into octane devouring, tire burning, track monsters for their drivers to tame around the circuit.  A series that pushes both man and machine to the brink of exhaustion; endurance racing at it’s finest.  Now don’t get me wrong – this is no 24 Hours of Nürburgring.  It is, however, grueling in it’s own right – I barely survived photographing it, let alone driving it.  It’s possible that some readers are not familiar with the series, although, they may be familiar with the term ‘Group-N’ racing.  A particular type of motor sport, governed by the FIA, where standard production vehicles are allowed to be slightly modified for competition;  I use the term ‘slightly’ very loosely.  No doubt about it that each and every one of these cars is fully built to be race metal.  The main reason I fell in love with this series is the amount of classes involved and on track at the same time, all racing to be number one in their own right.  In this sense it’s a bit like Le Mans racing, except Super Taikyu has 5 classes.  I’m really excited to share this series with you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Click past the break for more Twin Ring action.

Close-Up: Spoon Endurance S2000

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Those of you who know Spoon, know that they are no strangers of the endurance.  So it comes as no surprise that they compete in the Super Taikyu series in Japan.  What may come as a surprise though, is that this is the last time we may ever see a Spoon car in the traditional blue and yellow livery.  As of the 2012 race season, Spoon has decided to do away with the iconic paint job that has adorned their cars for 25 years.  This S2000 (AP1), seen at the official test day at Fuji Speedway,  is their 2012 Super Taikyu entry and will be competing in the ST-4 class.  This year’s drivers include Taketoshi Matsui, Yasunori Nakajima, and Tatsuru Ichishima – Mr. Spoon himself.  As of last weekend, the first round of Super Taikyu has already concluded, and unfortunately Team Spoon did not fare well.  You can see the official results here.  Hopefully, within the next couple days here, I can get to posting that coverage.  Round 2 of Super Taikyu takes place at the end of April at Twin Ring Motegi.  You can expect live coverage of that via NDF’s Facebook page, as I’ll be traveling to Japan to meet up with JDM Clips for a super terrific Japan motor sports tour.  For now, click past the break for a closer look at Team Spoon’s S2000.