Earlier in the week, in a prior conversation with Hashimoto about a photoshoot, he mentioned that he was going to be at Tsukuba on Thursday morning assisting with Kiyotaka’s with his FD. Throughout the week, the TFR supported FD has been frequenting Tsukuba, testing various aero setups.
Yesterday afternoon I had a day scheduled to catch up on emails, editing, and writing. But when I woke up I had the urge to get out of the house. I messaged Kubo from Garage Work and asked if he was going to be at the shop that afternoon. He replied quickly and said please come; so, I did.
Early Sunday, January 15th we headed back to Tsukuba for the morning Zummy Racing Attack practice event at TC2000. Many of the cars that had made it out for Saturday afternoon stayed for this event as well to get the most out of the weekend.
In this video we head out to Tsukuba Circuit to photograph the DKM Challenge event in the morning, and the Zummy Racing event that was held just after in the early afternoon.
When I departed on my return trip to Japan this Summer, I did so with the goal of reconnecting with friends and colleagues after the two years of travel restrictions. For 5 straight weeks I travelled around the country by car, train, and plane, all with the simple objective of ‘catching up’.
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.
One of the reasons I enjoy visiting Hayashi at his shop, Auto House Solid, anytime I’m in Gunma is that there is always a large variety of tuning cars on hand. Hayashi services a wide range of customers so there is guaranteed to be something interesting in the shop.
At the beginning of my road trip to Mie Prefecture, I decided to make a detour down to the Izu Peninsula to visit my good friend Ando. Ando operates Auto Rescue Izu, a wrecker/tow service in Shizuoka. Over the past 2 years he had built a new shop to house and work on his personal cars.
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.
Last week we held a small get together at Autopolis International Racing Circuit in the Oita Prefecture of Kyushu. I had 3 photoshoots for 80R scheduled for this particular weekend trip down south, however a few could not make it last minute.
In this video we visit Skyline tuning masters Racing Factory Autobahn, deep in the countryside of Ibaraki. Kawai-san shows us some of the newer builds and I take a walk around the shop.
Seeing as he lives all the way down in Kyushu, I consider myself lucky to have caught Nozaki and his FD at Fuji during Seven’s Day. I didn’t get the opportunity to see him at Autopolis Super Lap and was excited to see the build up close.
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.
Although it’s a difficult choice, if I had to choose a favorite Super GT team/car, it would have to be the Team Kunimitsu Raybrig HSV. The livery and colors match the demeanor of the car […]
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 […]
On September 17th, Super GT held it’s final Official Test Day of the season at Twin Ring Motegi. Our friends at JDM Clips were there to catch all the action as both the GT300 and […]
Aside from the KERS outfit on a Formula 1 car, it would be a safe bet that the last thing that goes through peoples minds when discussing motor sports is the term ‘hybrid’. So when Toyota, along with APR Racing, and Super GT announced their intentions to develop a Prius GT300 car the buzz was quite large. Japan has always been a leader in hybrid technology and promotion of its use, so to me, it didn’t come as much of a surprise. It was really only a matter of time until hybrids made their way into the racing scene, and Super GT seems like a great place to start. The Super GT series is the flagship of Japanese motor sport, and with the increase of various chassis comes an increase in fan base. Everyone who drives a Prius will now have a reason to come watch the races and cheer on their own team; which in the end is great for the sport and probably Prius sales. Although the consumers might be a little disappointed when they can’t get the car up to 220 km/h dropping their kids off at school. I should point out not to get me wrong when I start throwing the term ‘hybrid’ around so loosely, because this is not your average grocery getter. I think we would all agree that it would be a little naive of us to assume that this is a stock Prius. While it does retain the stock hybrid system, it gets a little extra help from something special mounted in the rear. Click past the break to learn more about the first hybrid in Super GT.
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.
. So, I actually have a lot of cool stuff to post up and write about; new features, Super GT news, shop visits – the only snag is, I can’t access it! Earlier to day […]
I’m going to try and roll everything else I have left into a third and final, massive leftovers post of AutoCon 2012. I can only imagine how cool it will be – especially since I’m kicking it off with this fantastic coupe on Panasport G7s. As far as the timeline goes, it’s still pretty early in the day, and definitely still in the morning. The show opened to the public at about 12 o’clock, and that’s just around the time I said that I’ve had enough. I was fortunate to have a good jump on the show without too much foot traffic, so I really got a good look at the lot in it’s entirety before the gates opened. The lot was so big though, that I think even if I hadn’t I’d still be able to get some good shots. Recapping the show, I must say the entire roll-in process and media handling was a gigantic improvement over last year. Thanks to the AutoCon staff for another good show and I look forward to seeing this event gain in popularity over the next few years. Take a look past the break for a grip of pics that wrap up my coverage.
Man, I’ve been traveling a lot lately. I think I’ve flown about 3,000 miles in the past 3 days. Not normal, but I’ve been really busy at work recently. That’s probably the main reason that my coverage is so slow to come out – which I apologize for. I think just about all the other blogs have all but finished posting pics, but I’m lagging. I suppose that’s one of the side effects of doing this all on my own; I don’t have as much time as most people (running an airline is quite time consuming -_-;). With that said, let me quit wasting your time and let’s power through the rest of these photos. I’ll be making one more post after this and I’ll try to get the all edited and ready for upload in the morning. After 3 back to back 4am mornings, I have a feeling I’m going to be sleeping in tomorrow. I’ll start off round 2 with a few shots of this familiar Kouki S14 on Mag Blue Nismo LMGT-4’s – super clean build. Click past the break for more AutoCon 2012.
I’m sure by now between the roll in post, and other blogs, you’ve all gotten a taste of what AutoCon 2012 has to offer – so let’s just jump right into this. I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of car shows in general, but the thing I like the most about these annual shows is the chance to see various cars transform from the previous year, as well as getting the opportunity to see totally new and fresh builds for the first time. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people within the industry. I always make it a point to introduce myself to a few new people during each show. Not only to make new friends, but to get insight into new feature cars and stories; I can thank a lot of good material just from random introductions. I can honestly say that it is easy to see the growth of NDF simply by the reaction of others when I drop the blog’s name. I went from virtually no one knowing what Narita Dog Fight was and getting blank stares, to a good percentage of people who support it – and that’s cool to me. Alright, enough reminiscing – click past the break to see part 1 of Auto Connection 2012 coverage. It’s worth noting that I’ve been out of town all day, and will continue to be for the remainder of the week. So if the coverage is slow to post, I apologize.
. Eneos GT500 Lexus SC430 | Fuji Speedway .
This last weekend, Super Street held the annual FF Battle at the Streets of Willow at Willow Springs International Raceway. Where is Willow Springs? It’s in the outskirts of the city of Rosamond in Kern County; basically in the Mojave Desert. I’m not positive, but it may be the hottest location in California. That same day, Raceline also had an open track day for intermediate ‘Level 3’ drivers. The week before my friend hit me up and asked if I wanted to register with him and his boss for the event. I hadn’t tracked my car for quite awhile so I thought it’d be fun, despite my engine setup being complete garbage. My friend Joel was nice enough to make the drive from San Diego to act as our pit crew and support vehicle. It was a good thing too because I ended up having a some brake issues on the drive home as a result of the beat down I gave my car throughout the day. I had a great time and as usual I got to meet some really good people, and see some familiar faces. I apologize for the lack of pictures but I was really concentrating on the drive that day. Not to mention I forgot my zoom lens at home. Click past the break to see the event.
. So I’m finally getting a chance to sort through and edit some coverage from the Super Taikyu race I went to; about time right? I’ve been putting it off for a few reasons – […]
Spoon Sports: a staple of the Honda tuning community. Any time I travel to Japan I make it a point to try and visit Spoon and Type One because, well, it’s Spoon. Aside from Mugen, no other company works closer to Honda than Spoon and the results are amazing. A few weeks ago my friend and I dropped by Type One to see what they had cooking. The day before the Twin Ring race we didn’t expect much, but fortunately they had left a few employees back at the shop to take care of the weekend customers. I’ll save the full ‘Locale’ feature for another day, but I’ve been itching to share these next few photos with you guys. I posted a teaser on the official NDF Facebook page a few weeks ago and you guys went ballistic over it; this is really a cool car. Anyway, when I was walking upstairs I was so intrigued by this one white S2000 that was for sale that an employee was showing to an interested customer, that I didn’t even notice it sitting to the side of the shop. When I finally saw it I could hardly contain myself. The guys at Type One have always been really cool with visitors, so I wasn’t reserved at all with my picture taking. Although it is a customer car, I was laying on the ground, getting behind lifts, and moving stuff out of the way to get better shots of it. I even caught the guy upstairs smirking a little at me – probably thinking why the hell I cared so much about it. Click past the break to see more of Japanese Darth Vader’s S2000.
In two weeks the Super GT teams will make their way over to Malaysia for the third Round of the series that takes place at Sepang International Circuit. So, that means I have two more weeks to show you coverage of the Fuji race! Just kidding; I have a few more shots of the race left, so I’ll throw them into this post. I also have some cool shots from qualifying that I’ll sprinkle around throughout the rest of the week. Judging by the traffic, it seems like you guys are enjoying this series. It’s really a unique race with some awesome cars – for me it was really enjoyable to watch, photograph, and now share. Hope you are enjoying it – click past the break for more .
It’s no secret that the Japanese tuning philosophy is to achieve the maximum with the minimum. While we can see this practiced throughout all the major tuners, I wouldn’t be too far off in saying we witness it most in the Honda field. The majority of Honda tuners in Japan are so specific to not disturb the chassis by overpowering, and work closely with what the manufacturer has already offered. While, typically, FEEL’S would fall into that category just nicely, their FD2 Type R you see pictured above may be pushing the boundaries of that philosophy just a bit. Aesthetically, the minimalism has vanished; the use of aftermarket aero abundant. I would argue though, that although a bit extreme on the exterior, the car is a shining example of perfect balance. Let’s take a closer look at this build at my first stop on my all Japan mega tuning adventure; Honda Twincam. Click past the break for more.
. Super Taikyu – not the most popular of series, but exciting in it’s own atmosphere, and one I’ve grown quite fond of. It would be a stretch to say that many people know about […]
. I gotta say, I’ve been having one hell of a week. With that out of the way, let me apologize for not updating the blog as promised. I’ve been giving you crappy teasers on […]
. Good evening NDF! I apologize for the lack of updates, but since I’ve touched down on Japanese soil, I’ve literally been moving non-stop. I think I’ve slept a full 5 hours in the past […]
. Not much to say other than I can’t get enough of this car; and I can’t wait to see it in person next Sunday at Twin Ring. Next week is going to be crazy. […]
. Hey NDF! I just got home from an awesome day in downtown Long Beach shooting the first round of Formula Drift and wanted to post up a little preview. Click here, or visit the […]
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.
It feels like it’s been so long so my latest post! My apologies, as I’ve been extremely busy this past week; traveling for work as well as trying to buy some property. I am super stoked on NDF though because I’ve been getting some really cool inquiries as of late. I’ve also just got the go to start planning my next trip back to Japan – which is going to be quite awesome. The best news is that I plan to share it all on the blog. While I try to keep the ‘personal’ out of this page, and stick just to features, events, and auto related posts, it is after all a blog about Japan. I figure the followers would be just as excited as I am to see what a week spent in Japan visiting tuner shops, attending a Super GT race and interviewing tuners is actually like. March is a great month for motor sports all over the world. I don’t even have to mention the start of Formula 1; but in Japan specifically it marks the beginning of Super GT, Super Taikyu, and a handful of other series. JDM Clips recently attended the Super Taikyu Official Test Day at Fuji Speedway. Needless to say, the 6 different classes involved in this series makes for a great amount of variety on track. In my opinion, one of the coolest entrants is the DC5 – and it seems to be a popular platform as well. In this post, I focused on only that chassis. Click past the break for more!
For those of you who are regulars of NDF, this Lexus (…is that what this is?) will be a familiar site to you. It belongs to Joe McGuigan and is in the process of quite the transformation. If you’re not familiar with what Joe does, check this out. If you aren’t familiar with what he does it with, check this out. Last year, Joe ran Thunder Drift with the stock 2JZ; underpowered to say the least. Well, as you can see, things have changed. With the 2012 season approaching and new targets in his site, he’s decided to ditch the OEM power in favor of some V8 juice! Check out more of the 1UZ swap progress past the break.
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.
After two straight weeks of work, I finally managed to squeeze in a much needed day off. This past Wednesday I had plans to shoot my friends Z32 but, due to a scheduling conflict, had to cancel. Not being one to waste a day off, I sat down and thought of some other things to shoot for the website. I had remembered someone telling me last month that COBB Tuning had opened a new facility in Southern California; I had also remembered reading about an open house for their grand opening. Well, after I had looked into it, I realized their grand opening had already past on the 22nd. No big deal, I figured I’d go ahead and stop by because I had plans on going that direction anyway – and I’m glad that I did. The brand new, 10,000 square foot facility that COBB Tuning inhabits is extremely nice. Upon my arrival I introduced myself to Ronnie, one of the cool dudes in charge of sales & marketing, and they gladly showed me around the facility. Check out more past the break.
. . Check out the ASM Yokohama S2000 tear through this hot lap at Tsukuba Circuit during last years Super Lap Battle. This car sounds unbelievable. They managed a best lap of 1’01’711 – quite […]