Tag: Motor Sports

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Editorial: Turning Motor Sport Into Life

This time of year is best spent on reflection (because if not now, when right?).  So much is happening during the year, and we’re so busy just living, that we rarely take the time to pause and take stock of what’s been accomplished, remember what we’re working towards, or how we’re handling it all mentally.  So, when things start to slow down during this last week of December, I think as a society we traditionally use the time to reflect.

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Close-Up: Mugen GT300 CR-Z

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A few weeks ago my friend over at JDM Clips made a visit to the Honda Headquarters where they had on display the new Mugen designed GT300 CR-Z that is currently competing in the Super GT series.   If the Toyota Prius GT300 car wasn’t ironic enough for you, Honda is here to fulfill your hybrid race car cliches with the new CR-Z contender.  It’s difficult to think that any hybrid car you see on the street would be holding it’s own against the likes of the BRZ, BMW Z4’s, Nismo GTR GT3’s, Porsches, Aston Martin’s, Lambos and Corvettes, but make no mistake; this is one fast hybrid.  In fact, in only it’s second outing it managed to capture pole position and continues to impress on the grid.  Granted it’s 300hp 2.8 liter twin-turbo V6, with electric motor,  isn’t offered as an option from Honda to you and I (unfortunately), but it’s still a CR-Z chassis; a capable one at that.  Click past the break to see the CR-Z up close, compliments of JDM Clips.

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.

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.

Close-Up: Arios X Okuyama F16° Time Attack FD3S

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There were many RX-7’s on hand the other week at Tsukuba Circuit; all in a fierce battle to claim the quickest lap around Tsukuba’s 2 mile stretch.  The battle of the tuner’s unfolded throughout the day, as various time attack builds shot their way around the 14 corners of the circuit at top speed.  Among them was the Arios Okuyama Auto Sports FD3S.  This purpose built machine was among those in the dogfight on track, and surprisingly enough, did quite well against the heavy hitters – managing a best time of 58.818.  JDM Clips was on hand to get a closer look at this build.  Click past the break to see more.

Event: Hot Version Live Shooting v.1 – The Tsukuba Pits

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JDM Clips recently shot these last weekend during the live filming of Hot Version’s N2 and Advan Amateur Race at Tsukuba Circuit.  The Hot Version N2 AE86 event takes place every year, and has been going on for quite some time now.  This year, the Advan sponsored Fastest Amateur Tournament was combined on the same date and made for one hell of an event.  Many of the cars here are the same popular builds we see plastered on the pages of Option and Option2, as well as blogs around the globe.  The most popular tuners attend these ‘grassroots’ events to show off what they can do on the track.  Check out what Tsukuba has to offer past the break – like more of this RE built ドラえもん FD.

Close-Up: Tec-Art’s AE86 N2 Project

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If you’re a fan of the Toyota AE86, then I’m sure that you will be extremely familiar with Tec-Art’s and what they do.  The fairly small, family run operation out of Yashio City, has grown into one of the more famous 86 tuners in Japan.  By far their most famous build is their AE86 N2 Project; seen here in it’s 2012 configuration.  The project, now over a decade in it’s life, has evolved greatly, I think even greater than Yoshinori Kamata had intended.  It’s no stranger to the track, and it definitely made it’s mark at Tsukuba Circuit last weekend during the live Hot Version shoot.  Click past the break to see this machine in detail.

Locale: Mugen Headquarters, Saitama – M-Tec Co. LTD

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Happy New Year everyone!  I’m happy to report that NDF has survived its first full year, and that we’re ready to take on 2012 head on.  Let’s kick off the New Year with a little peak around M-Tec Co.’s headquarters in Saitama, Japan.  JDM Clips went exploring the building and it’s surroundings on a trip to go see the Mugen RR Advanced Concept.  It’s been over two years since Mugen has particiapted in Tokyo Auto Salon, and the RR Advanced Concept was their last display vehicle.  With word that Mugen is returning to TAS for 2012, there is much hype building around what car they will have present.  Here at NDF & JDM Clips all bets are on a RR modeled CR-Z!  We’ll have to wait to know for sure.  In the meantime, check out the pics past the break.

Event: Nismo Festival 2011 v.2

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Ahhh, Nismo Festival.  A celebration of all things Nissan.  Oh, wait.  I already introduced this coverage with some mediocre commencement.  Let’s dive right in to the second part of the Nismo Festival coverage with these RC cars.  No, not radio controlled.  RC stands for Racing Competition in this case; a series of cars built by the NISMO factory specifically for competition.  When I say specifically for competition I mean just that – you cannot drive these on the street; and yes, they are expensive.  But if the car isn’t enough, and you’re looking to spend even more money, you can also buy NISMO’s technical support upon delivery.  Think of it as a warranty on steroids.   Let’s check out some more past the break.  You guys are in for a treat with this post…

Close Up: Subaru BRZ GT300

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I figured that with all the hype surrounding the Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ, that people would get tired of hearing about it pretty quickly.  Turns out I was right.  When Subaru announced its intentions to compete in the GT300 class of Super GT next year with the BRZ chassis, the hype exploded all over again.  For good reason; it’s a work of art.  Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to look at, but every piece of aerodynamics on this car serves a function.  That’s the beauty of Super GT.  I waited for a few weeks to post our coverage to see what kind of response I’d get after the buzz subsided.  Click past the break for JDM Clips take on the BRZ GT300.

Feature: Good Smile Racing Z4-GT

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Following up that pink Studie BMW post, I have an awesome feature on this unusual GT300 contender.  The Studie built  Hatsune Miku Good Smile Racing BMW Z4 (初音ミク グッドスマイル) is unique to say the least.  For starters, the team’s theme is based on a character that was originally created to market Crypton Future Media’s new ‘Vocaloid’ software, a synthetic singing application that can be used to add vocals to backing music – sounds like something from a science fiction movie.  Anyway, as you would imagine if you’ve been to Japan before, the character soon became overwhelmingly popular (Check this video out).  The second unique feature of this team, and probably the coolest, is that it gathers it’s racing funds from individual fan donations.  The individual sponsorships range between 3,000yen to 300,000yen, and allows the fans to get a chance to visit the team pit during a race, have their name on the car, get a special team sticker, and other perks.  Thanks again to JDM Clips for providing coverage and information.  Check out the feature past the break.