Continuing into the new year with our 80R Archive series, I’d like to introduce the Wacky Mate built GTR32, driven by none other than Kato Masayoshi himself. Currently the second fastest R32 at Tsukuba, and what I believe is still the fastest R32 at Suzuka Circuit.
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.
The end of January saw my return to Suzuka Circuit after a 3 year absence from the international racing course. After 2017, the timing of events in Suzuka were just always out of reach for my current schedule; needless to say, I was excited for my return in 2020.
The day before the Attack event at Suzuka took place, the circuit held an open test day that many of the main participants took advantage of. I happened to time my arrival to the course with just enough time left in the day to grab a few shots before heading to the track hotel.
It’s been a busy couple weeks for me between work, traveling (Google tells me I’ve been to 3 countries, 19 cities and 53 places in January alone), and preparing for next week’s pre-order shipments (yay!). It hasn’t left me with much time to process photos from the first Attack event of the year at Suzuka Circuit.
Take a walk through the paddock of Suzuka Circuit the day before, and the day of Attack Suzuka last weekend. There was an intimate amount of cars for this half day event, which ensured the heavy hitters had plenty of track time.
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.
Time Attack events typically take a back seat during the scorching hot, humid Summer months in Japan. Track conditions are far from ideal for breaking course records, or setting personal bests, so for the most part the sport lies dormant. Not to mention being strapped into a race car, covered head to toe in protective gear, with 100+ degree track temps isn’t fun no matter how into it you are. Even still, while the frequency of events slows, and major shops take the time to rebuild their demo cars; the sport doesn’t completely become extinguished. A fact proven by events like the Endless Circuit Meeting just last weekend at Fuji Speedway. An event that allows both professional tuners and enthusiasts to get in some track time during the off-season.
The Kakimoto NSX wasn’t the only Honda at Fuji this month that’s received a facelift; Esprit was on hand with their NSX, now in special blue edition. Like so many other competitors this day though, they were not to see any track time around the Speedway. Inclement weather doesn’t bode well for fast track times, and certainly doesn’t allow opportunity for accurate testing. So Esprit let their car rest in the paddock, devoid of canards and engine cover, while they waited for the weather to pass. Sekinei strolled over to their garage to snap a few shots.
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.
Before I get to processing and writing about the coverage of this past weekends VTEC Club season opener, I thought I’d try out a new idea for these events. Covering VTEC Club when I could last year was a lot of fun for me. The committee that puts these events together happen to be not only great people, but good friends of mine as well. Come to think of it, photographing these events combines almost everything I enjoy in life into one location; perhaps that’s why it feels nothing like work. Maybe that’s the feeling people get when they do what they love for a career. Anyway, I’m getting way off topic here.
Last month, when I went to Advance, there was a customer’s NSX parked on the street next to Masahiro’s. After taking chatting and taking some pictures of Yagi’s S15, I snapped a few stills of the NSX duo.
With the year’s new Summer taking no time to bare it’s teeth, 107 degree temperatures plagued the desert at Round 5 of the 2015 VTEC Club series. Willow Springs International Raceway played host to the season’s final round, where competitors gathered to claim the last points available in each run group. While the heat may have hindered some, there were a few drivers that were able to grab personal bests despite the weather, and lap times that secured victories for each class.
On many occasions, probably due to lack of my creativity, I’ve written excerpts on this site comparing certain managerial techniques to a variety of car builds. That may or may not have something to do with my education and work background in the business sector, but I feel it’s something I can comfortably relate to. These topics, at surface level, I would imagine to be somewhat obscure on an automotive website. The truth of the matter is, in almost all regards, the processes discussed are very much applicable to time attack builds. The practice of Continual Improvement is one such business practice, and in the realm of time attack, not many shops demonstrate this practice better than Esprit in the ongoing development of their NSX.
On the Sunday of February 22nd, VTEC Club held the second event of their 5 round season at Big Willow at Willow Springs International Raceway. The excitement and success of the first round no doubt carried through to the club’s follow up event with, once again, over 50 entrants participating. To say the day was perfect though, would be a stretch. The week leading up to the event, the temps in Southern California had steadily been dropping, and rain was on the forecast for race weekend. Ryan was once again on hand to grab some shots of the event.
“If you build it, they will come.”
While I wouldn’t necessarily call Streets of Willow a “Field of Dreams”, I will admit that Kevin Costner’s iconic line applies well in this situation. The organizers of VTEC Club, a Honda specific spin off of Extreme Speed events, have successfully created not just a niche event, but are well on their way to (possibly accidentally) creating an entirely new community of race fans.
Awhile ago, I had messaged my friend Masahiro that I was in the area and if he was at the ADVANCE, I would stop by to say hello. Fortunately he was there, and while Sekinei made a quick trip to the DMV, I was able to chat with him and snap some pictures around the shop. There’s always something new going on here, as many of the NSX owner’s (and other car enthusiasts in general) in the Kanagawa area know, ADVANCE is one of the most knowledgeable shops for their chassis. When I arrived, one of the lead techs, Yagihashi, was working on a white NA1 but was able to take a break to chat.
With the passing of Rev Speed earlier in the month, we can formally mark the onset of attack season in Japan; and without a doubt, no other group of privateers stand out […]
Masahiro-san invited me to stop by Advance the other evening to check out a customer’s NSX that was coming all the way from Shizuoka to get, among other things, a new differential installed. I’ll begin […]
Sekinei stopped by Daikoku this past weekend for the first time in quite awhile. It just so happens that Idjiri-san and his friend ‘Sardony’ had cruised through as well. I’ve posted a few […]
In the empty back lot of Fuji Speedway, interceding between the rolling green hills and the cloud engulfed mountains, we encountered this lone NSX; parked almost as if to add to the beautiful […]
What a day… I hope everyone else had a much better Wednesday than I did. I’m just getting home from a 12 hour work day, with a 2 hour break in between that […]
I’ll dive right into the second part of my Autocon coverage because I don’t really know any other way to do it. Actually, there are quite a few BMW’s in this post; which […]
This past weekend in Los Angeles we had beautiful weather. Somewhat cloudy, probably high 60’s/low 70’s, nice cool breeze; it was gorgeous. Which normally wouldn’t make me think twice, but because this Sunday was […]
Typhoon drenched circuits definitely provide ample practice for racing in the rain; as was the case a few weeks ago at Honjo Circuit in Saitama. This NSX and it’s owner wouldn’t let a little […]
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 […]
This weekend I took part in a car show that, over the past years, has been growing tremendously. Not just in size, but in organization as well. Putting on an event of this size isn’t […]
Taking some extra time to edit this shot of Hannita-san’s NA2 staging up for an attack of TC2000, and I thought I’d share. Going through a judging phase on some shots that may be […]
One night in Yokohama, my friend and I went out to dinner to a restaurant in LaLa Port; a giant shopping center near Kamoi station. If you remember my last post about Advance, you’ll […]
This past weekend Justin, who runs Autocon, messaged me about a trailer they were shooting in Los Angeles for the upcoming Autocon event on June 1st. It was last minute, so I couldn’t make […]
Over the past weekend a couple of friends and I attended an open event at Streets. Unfortunately, I wasn’t driving, but I still like to come along because you really never know what you’ll find […]
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting a shop that I have had on my list for quite some time; Advance Flatout. I’ve known about this shop and it’s involvement in […]
So, it was 5am and the only thing I could think about was getting caffeine into my system; not if my friend was going to be late, not if it was going to rain […]
I was setting up Mana’s car for a differnt angle during a photoshoot at a PA on the Expressway one afternoon, when I hear this growling off in the distance. I stepped up on […]
Yesterday evening More Japan held a garage sale at their headquarters in Torrance. It was held later in the day, so most of us were free to attend. They had a raffle going on for […]
Well, it’s about that time to start wrapping up the show coverage. I was planning on posting the third and final round of coverage this weekend, but ended up working, as well as temporarily acquiring a vinyl cutter. The latter occurrence took up the majority of my Monday so I wasn’t able to work on getting the post up. Oh well, I have some time tonight and will do just that. We pick up mid-afternoon when the show was really getting busy. The turnout was really, really good for it being the first East coast show that Weksos has put on. I was very happy for everyone involved at the success of the day. I don’t really have much else to say in this post that hasn’t already been stated. In this post we’ll take a closer look at some of the nice Hondas at the show, as well as a look at the roll-out. Again, you’ll be able to see the insane amount of variety that these Wekfest shows provide. Just click past the break and enjoy the rest of the shots.
It’s 2 am on Saturday morning, I don’t have work tomorrow (edit – I DO have work today), and I’m stacked up on caffeine; I may as well get started on posting the second round of Wekfest East. Yuta’s civic was having some work done at a shop in Upland this past week, and this evening we drove up there to pick it up. While in the area, we decided to meet Kodi Chan at Maxim off the 60 in Rowland Heights. I don’t get to see Kodi that often so it was nice that it worked out that way. I ended up drinking way too much coffee though, and as a result am writing this right now. I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow…err..today, and read this and it probably won’t make any sense to me. I just thought for some reason you should know why this post will be comprehensively poorly written. Right. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to the New Jersey convention center to check out more of the cars at Wekfest. In this post, I’ll wrap up what I have left of the roll-in and get started on showing the masses of cars that were in attendance. I gotta say, as I look back on each car as I edit them, I’m finding more and more cool things I didn’t notice initially. I’ll point some of the things out as I go. Also, you can once again see the thought that went into the variety of cars showing. If you’re not familiar with the tour, not just anyone can come show. The Weksos staff hand pick out of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of applicants to ensure a great show. For now, click past the break to see part 2 of the coverage.
I had first played with the idea of coming to New Jersey for Wekfest East back in June during the LA show. Towards the end of the show at the Queen Mary, I had been talking to Geoffrey and Kenneth a little bit about the turn out in comparison to the rest of the tour. LA had a great turn out, a close second to the Fort Mason show in San Francisco, but the home show is hard to beat. I had asked him about the general turn out and response to the rest of the stops, and they basically responded with an invitation to come see for myself. I’m in a pretty unique position compared to most people as far as traveling goes, so the idea wasn’t too farfetched. I’ve made it to the East coast and back in less than a day, so there was really no reason why I couldn’t make it work with a car show thrown in there somewhere. I’m not really affected by jet lag or time zones anymore as I fly quite often. In fact, I’m sitting in an airplane, writing this, right now on the way to Phoenix; on a non-car related trip unfortunately. As the show date neared, I was able to rearrange some things in my work schedule, so I decided I would make the flight out to Newark. The show was on a Sunday, so I elected to take a red eye on Saturday night to avoid an additional night in a hotel. I would land Sunday morning around 5am and shoot straight over to the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison in time to catch the roll-in and setup of the show. Leaving on Monday would give me a good night’s sleep and an opportunity to cruise into New York for a little bit; and by little bit I mean a good 35 minutes or so – I’ll get to that later though. Click past the break for part 1 of my exploits in the East.
Since there’s not too much left, I’ll go ahead and finish the rest of the pictures in this post. Like I mentioned before, the day just didn’t really unfold like a typical car show day for me, so I got very limited shots. I think most of these are going to be from around 6-7 pm in the evening, just as the sun was setting behind the hi-rises of downtown LA. This was also when a lot of the show cars were leaving, which made it nice to get some solitary shots of each. I’m always a little urked by how close together they park some of the cars; making it almost impossible to get a decent picture of them. Especially when you have a lot of open lot space, you can give each car another foot of room or so and it would be much better. I’ve never organized a car show before though so what the hell do I know? I’m sure there’s reasons for it. In a way I’m kind of glad I didn’t take many pictures, but rather enjoyed walking around and taking a close look at the cars – which is something I don’t often do. The lineup of Honda builds, organized by Joey Lee from The Chronicles, was pretty amazing. So in that sense, I’m glad I got a better look at them, instead of just taking pictures. I’m sure he’ll have massive coverage, so be sure to check it out. Click past the break for more.