Battle Evome is a now defunct event series that, in it’s prime, was among the most popular time attack event hosts at Tsukuba, running from the late 90’s through 2016. 7 years ago to this day (Jan 16th 2016), I was attending one of the final Battle Evome events ever when I ran into Okizo and his Silvia.
Last week I made my way down to the Kansai Region of Japan for a few photoshoots I had lined up. Our first stop was at Esprit where I met our friend Sugikou-san. I wanted to photograph his Supra again for 80R because a lot of time has passed since our original shoot at Suzuka Circuit.
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.
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.
There aren’t many NSX as iconic as Epsrit’s 900 horsepower demo car. A longitudinally mounted C30, with twin turbos, a custom aero package, piloted by one of Japan’s most iconic racing drivers; it’s a recipe that’s hard to beat. That’s why we had planned on featuring it front and center in Volume 3 of 80R.
Back in November I had attended Super Lap Battle at Buttonwillow, not to cover the event, but more or less just to hang out with friends and chat about racing. It’s nice to reserve my local events for spectating and socializing rather than work, however there were a few cars in attendance I wanted to grab a couple photos of.
The minute that HKS had broken the 49 second barrier at Tsukuba, it seemed as if their were rumors circulating about it’s potential bid for WTAC. After some speculation, it was revealed that the car was built outside the Pro Class rulebook and wouldn’t be eligible to run competitavely. That didn’t stop anyone from wondering just what it could do on the world stage of Sydney Motorsports Park, however. Well, according to Superlap CEO Ian Baker, it looks like we’ll get an opportunity after all.
There are always the core shops that participate in the Super Lap event at HKS Premium Day annually. Names like Pro Shop Fukoh, Top Fuel, Garage G-Force, Auto Select, Esprit, Top Secret, Autech and the like; which is awesome because you get to see what amounts to basically a yearly update of how the cars have been getting on. Development in time attack moves just about as fast as the cars nowadays, so it’s no surprise to see builds looking completely different year over year, as they put more and more research into obtaining as much aerodynamic grip as possible.
HKS Premium Day has always been a must-go event for me. It’s an all day event held at a track that’s reasonably close to Yokohama. Because of this, I don’t feel the pressure I usually do at smaller events where I’m pressed for time. It’s a lot more fun for me, and typically I end up taking a lot less photos as I have time to just wander around and look at stuff. Since it’s inception, the event has served as the proverbial ‘whos-who’ of big names in Japanese motor sport. HKS always does a great job of ensuring there are plenty of attractions to keep the fans entertained.
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 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.
Years ago I had the good fortune of befriending a couple of Garage Mak customers who have close relationships with the Miyagawa brothers; owners of the Nagano based tuning powerhouse, Garage Mak. Amemiya, Tsubaki, Seki, and others, have become good friends of mine, and have also given me the opportunity to meet, and work with, the two men behind one of Japan’s most comprehensive tuning shops. This last week I made the drive out to Nagano again to talk to Tatsuhiro and Kazunori Miyagawa about the upcoming Attack season, and get a better look at their new line of R35 GTR aero.
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).
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.
It’s a bit crazy to think that the car you’re looking at used to be the iconic HKS CT230R EVO – the one that used to be wrapped in red HIPERMAX vinyl (and just bare carbon before that). The same car that ran TC2000 in a staggering 53.5 and was subsequently shipped to the US to destroy the Buttonwillow record (1’48.5). That’s right; cue the ‘pour one out for your homies’ soundtrack of your choice, because this car is now powered by natural gas.
The last time I saw this car was literally a year ago; and I can tell you, it looked nothing like this. Yes, this is the same FD chassis that PanSpeed commissioned last year at HKS Premium Day, except that this year the car has gone through quite a cosmetic transformation. Actually, you can see it’s previous reiteration here. Over the course of last year, the car was stripped of it’s exterior and fitted with an entirely new aero kit that PanSpeed has been developing. I know this is a bit late in the day, but I finally stopped fiddling with my new audio equipment that I got for the new Podcast long enough to get the article out.
The picture below cracks me up. When I had started walking around the back portion of the garages at Fuji, I came across the Revolfe S.A./Kleer R33 Skyline that was competing once again in the Hiper Challenge at HKS Day. I must have had my blinders on or something because I just walked up and started taking pictures of the car, and didn’t even notice Mizota-san standing in the back. After I had taken this shot he came up to me all surprised. Later as I was going through these photos I saw him in this one pointing right at me hahaha.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Well, to be honest with everyone, I’m kind of at a loss for words. I’ve had so much going on that I completely forgot to finish posting the second half of Super Lap Battle […]
The main attraction to HKS Premium Day has to be the Option Fuji Super Lap. The best of the best gather and attack the circuit to claim their stake as the fastest in their […]
Hayashi-san, owner of Garage Saurus, has built his product with roots firmly in the drag racing circuit. It may surprise some then, if I were to tell you that for the past decade they […]
Awhile back one weekend night I had went to Odaiba to hang out with Asami and her friends. We had gone to the Tokyo Trick Art Museum which is a place that […]
The first on-circuit event of the day was the Hiper Challenge; an event open to those amateur’s and privateers. Despite that fact though, there were quite a few cars that got very close […]
So we’ll continue the delayed NDF coverage of HKS Premium Day 2014 with a walk-through of the garages at Fuji. While the majority of the Hyper Challenge cars pitted in one of the main […]
The theme of the next few posts are going to ‘Better late than never’, as this event has passed almost 2 months ago – but to be honest I haven’t seen that great of […]
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, there is no way you haven’t come across these two S15’s at one point or another. Garage Mak, a name whose aero designs […]
Pan Speed. In the realm of rotary tuning, very few names come before it. They are top tier; specialists in their territory. Their flagship car, seen here, is iconic in both build and […]
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 […]
One of the Super Lap cars I was most excited to get to see up close was the Reverse R32. Fans of the site will know my affliction with the Auto Gallery Yokohama R32; well, […]
I think I was on my way to meet up with friends to grab lunch or something when I spotted this girl playing with some kids behind an 86. This is right in front of […]
I know that everyone is gearing up for Tokyo Auto Salon in the coming weeks, and while I can’t say I’m not excited about it, there is an event that I’m looking forward to […]
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Adam Mao; the owner of the GS300 you see here. Adam, a very easy going and very talented young guy, was nice enough to meet […]
We pick up about 30 minutes before the general admission gates were opened, and the flood of people in line started to pour into the grounds. As Yuta and I left the […]