Tag: Race Car

Read More

Close Up: The HKS GT1000+ – The Final Act V.2

 

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.

Read More

Close Up: ENDLESS E89 Z4 GT3 – The Final Act V.1

 

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.

Close-Up: APR HASEPRO GT300 Toyota Prius

.

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.

Read More

Close-Up: Mugen GT300 CR-Z

.

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.

Event: AutoCon 2012 – Los Angeles V.3

.

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.

Event: AutoCon 2012 – Los Angeles V.2

.

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.

Event: AutoCon 2012 – Los Angeles V.1

.

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.

Event: Raceline Track Day at Willow Springs Raceway

.

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.

Close-Up: Diamond in Ogikubo – Type One Tuned S2000

.

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.

Event: Super GT Round 2 – Throwdown at Fuji Speedway v.3

.

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 .

Close-Up: FEEL’S FD2 Type-R

.

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.

Close-Up: Spoon Endurance S2000

.

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.

Event: Super Taikyu Official Test Day: Fuji Speedway v.1 – The Integra

.

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!

Feature: Thunder Drift IS400 – 2012 Build Progress

.

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.

Close-Up: Tec-Art’s AE86 N2 Project

.

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: Cobb Tuning Socal – Shop Tour

.

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.

Close-Up: Sky Rocket Racing – CX Racing RX-7

.

Out of the hundreds of cars at AutoCon, only a handful of them were dedicated track cars.  This black RX-7 stood out to me as one that gets hammered on the regular.   If the Nitto NT01’s didn’t give it away, maybe the roll cage and front splitter can give you a hint as to where this car spends most of it’s time.  I meant to post this up when this coverage was more relevant, but I had other things to tend to.  Anyway, click past the break for more photos.

Close Up: Subaru BRZ GT300

.

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.

Event: Motor Sport Japan 2011 – On Track Action

.

Before I post the coverage that JDM Clips got of the Motor Sports Japan 2011 Festival, I thought it would be cool to share the ‘on-track’ action from the event.  Race teams, aftermarket companies, and car manufacturers give the fans a sample of the vehicles performance on a make-shift track in part of the lot at the site in Daiba, Tokyo.  Famous drivers take to the machines for a few spirited laps around the course.  Some of the cars include current Super GT cars, rally built cars, prototype and modified street cars.  Click past the break for some more great shots.

Close Up: Mazda 787B

.

The Mazda 787B is, without a doubt, a very special car.  This particular model, built in 1991, holds a handful of prestigious accomplishments; mainly that it is the first, and only Japanese manufactured car to ever win the 24 Hour of Le Mans.  It is also the only non-piston car to win, as it is powered by a 26B rotary engine.  At the 2011 Motor Sports Japan show, JDM Clips got a chance to capture the machine in it’s preserved state of championship beauty.  Check out more past the break.

Feature: Brothers in Arms

.

This past weekend I ventured over to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana to attend the Speedventures open track day, and to check out Big Mike’s Hontune event.  This was the first Speedventures event I’ve been to, and although I didn’t track my car, I had a ton of fun walking around the facility shooting photos.  Despite the bone chilling wind and uncertain forecast, I’m glad I went because I ended up meeting some great people and getting to shoot their awesome cars.  Case in point; the two track ready S2000’s you see before you.  I saw this pair sitting unattended in the garage, so I ventured in for some pics; click past the break for more.

Feature: Eneos SC430 Super GT

.

JDM Clips comes through again with some great media of the Eneos SC430 Endurance GT Racer.  We’ve all driven this car at one point in time…right?  Well, in Gran Turismo at least.  So you already know how awesome it is.  This car is unique in many ways, especially because of the rarity of the platform in racing.  You don’t often see SC430’s competing in organized motorsports.  I can only think of the other 4 which competed in GT500 also.  So, if you haven’t driven it, and don’t know how awesome it is, click past the break and I will tell you.

Feature: IL4’s Time Attack EK


.
Inline Four has been dedicated to Honda and Acura tuning for over a decade now.   I’ve been going to them since I moved to So-Cal in 2005; back when they were in the tiny office off the 22.  They have now moved to a better, larger facility in Garden Grove, but they’ve kept the same attitude about tuning and service.  It’s a great shop that continues to grow in many ways, including a new line of their own performance parts.  This year they have completed the build on their K-powered race car, and it’s already winning events.  I made a trip down to Inline Four last week with a friend to inquire about some cams for his EG, and so I could pick up some wheel spacers for my coupe.  Lucky for me the EK was parked out in front of the shop.  I had only seen the car once at Nisei and since I had my camera with me I asked Brandon if I could snap some pictures.

Close Up: Spoon AP1

.

Way before the build of the iconic Grand Prix White AP2 demo car, Spoon had built their AP1 race car.  The S2000, hailed as one of the greatest roadsters ever built.  It would seem almost sacrilegious for the masters of Honda tuning to not bless one with their precision.  A few years ago I got the chance to visit Spoon and see for myself the craftsmanship that went into this build.

.