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.
As we landed back in Narita on the evening of the 12th, I couldn’t help but feel like I hadn’t even left the country. The sun had just began to set through the scattered clouds on the horizon and the diffused, orange glow of the afternoon’s last rays forced it’s way through the aircraft windows and into my eyes. It had only been 3 weeks since I was last in Japan, a travel duration that becomes the norm during this time of year; the hectic 3 month period when time attack events are at their peak. Actually, back in the States, I was so busy with new contracts at work and getting the store up that I hardly had time to post any content on site before heading back. Nevertheless, I had returned to Japan and first thing in the morning we would make our way back to Tsukuba for the second, and final, round of Battle Evome.
There’s a strange equality to winter, I think. It’s a balance that can only come with the sacrifice of life; a level playing field for all beings; a restart to a long year of effort and hard work of rebuilding from the previous season’s eradication. It sounds rather bleak, but it gives us, it gives everything, a chance to reestablish a new, improved form. It provides an opportunity to apply what we’ve learned from the past, to return stronger, an enhanced version, and if all goes as planned, a superior adaptation to that of last year. And so it is each year for the competitors of Battle Evome.
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.
I’ve always held ATTKD in high regard. Not only because of their rich history in parts development and tuning, but more so because of their ability to put pressure on the frontrunners of time attack. The surprisingly large shop based out of Nagano is responsible for a handful of notable Nissan builds; namely their flagship 32 you see here. Working closely with their long time test driver, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita, they were able to get under 2 seconds shy of the Top Fuel S2000; which has quickly become the benchmark for time attack at Fuji. In an almost ‘behind the scenes’ fashion, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita piloted the Skyline around Fuji Circuit in a remarkable 1’40.925.
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.
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.
The automatic doors opened and a rush of chilled winter air, mixed with the morning’s new sunlight, hit my face as I reluctantly left the warm comfort of the conbini. Surprised, as if for some reason I had forgotten about the cold already, I fumbled to pull my neck warmer up with my hands full of coffee and various pastries. Leaning up against the passenger side of the BMW, my warm breath visibly creating a fog around my head, I waited for Sekinei to exit the 711 to unlock the car and rescue me from the cold. It was 5am on a Monday morning, I had landed in Japan 12 hours ago, and with just 4 hours of sleep to my credit, we were off – headed to the countryside of Tsukuba where we would rendezvous with Japan’s fastest privateers as they prepare to take on the first round of Battle Evome.
For 2015 we’ve teamed up with the organizers of Super Battle Evome as the main media outlet for the event. This year has promise to be the biggest yet, as Evome has teamed up […]
This past weekend, the annual Skyline Owner’s Battle event was held at Sodegaura Forest Raceway, Chiba. The name of the event has always been a little misleading however, because in actuality there are […]
A familiar face to Tsukuba’s TC2000; the Auto Gallery Yokohama time attack R32. Harumichi’s creation is both powerful and nimble enough to clock a quick 57.371 around Tsukuba. I’ve been a huge fan of […]
Everyone wants a flame, nobody wants to get burnt. A statement that cries out to the majority. Sacrifice, defeat, disappointment; bitter vices that coincide with the greatest of victories. Vices that the average will […]
As the sun rose over the grandstands of Twin Ring Motegi, I knew that the time to start the endurance was getting close. Not yet tired, despite being up a solid 24 hours at this […]
When I left off, Alex and I had just taken off from RWB in the 964 Rough Soul; but it wasn’t long before we were stopped on the side of the road with engine trouble. […]
This series of posts may be lengthy to read, and pretty much all about my experience driving in Idlers. It’s really not something you see too often on this site, as it is not […]
N2 spec AE86 built by Car Factory prepping for the Hot Version race – Tsukuba Circuit, Japan.
On the afternoon of June 16, the SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES MALAYSIA race, Round 3 of the 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was run at the Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia). The GT500 class race was […]
Can you think of a better way to watch the Super GT race than camping with your car on the infield of Fuji Speedway? I sure can’t!
A couple shots of the Techno Pro Spirit Corolla that were taken at Tsukuba during the Hot Version N2 Race last year. By no means the craziest build at the race, but definitely one of […]
High Power & Save Energy. The words that make up the entire mission statement of Revolfe S.A.; a tuning shop most famous for it’s high power, wangan inspired builds. Earlier in the week, Sekinei […]
Lineup of the Porsche Cup Challenge cars at Fuji Speedway. This series runs as a support race to Super GT on the Fuji dates and usually supplies some great action on circuit.
Round 1 Okayama : Race Review On the afternoon of April 7, the OKAYAMA GT 300km RACE, Round 1 of the 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at the Okayama International Circuit in Okayama […]
I first encountered the ATTKD street-spec R34 on our way to Battle Evome last February; we had stopped to grab some coffee at 711 and in the parking lot was the entire ATTKD entourage, including […]
One of the cars I was looking forward to seeing the most at Evome was the Carshop Glow FD3s. At the last Battle Evome this February it was running a new canard setup, that must […]
Brake masters DIXCEL Japan and their Shinryo Auto built Super Taikyu EVO will be at Tokyo Auto Salon next week (Hall #6) – be sure to stop by and say hi, and wish them […]
…and as the rain began to fall ever harder, the Super GT cars charged on; fueled by the calm determination only those behind the wheel know. We pick up on the continuing coverage mid […]
After my well deserved break after the Super GT practice session, it wasn’t long before the final race of the season got underway. In typical Japanese fashion, as soon as the flag dropped, so did […]
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 […]
This past Sunday marked the end of the 2012 Super GT season with the final race at Twin Ring Motegi; and despite the cold, rainy weather, the action was as hot as ever. […]
Under Suzuki doing his thing at Tsukuba. Great shot from JDM Clips ~ visit to see this in action.
A few weeks ago Super GT held the final official test day for the 2012 season. The venue; Twin Ring Motegi. While the majority of the teams set out to gather data for the upcoming […]
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 […]
. Eneos GT500 Lexus SC430 | Fuji Speedway .
. One of the benefits of multi-class motor sport events is the opportunity to see cars of all different power levels and drive configurations on track at the same time. It’s almost like turning an […]
Here’s a post I’ve been waiting to share with you for awhile now. Let me preface this by saying that the pictures won’t really do this experience much justice. In Japan, a pit walk is something you can pay a little extra for to take an actual walk on the pit road to view the cars and team. Well, I thought you could view the cars and team anyway. In reality, it turns out it’s a mad rush for the thousands of spectators that are there solely for the race queens. I literally had to fight my way through the crowd and sneak my way past the stanchions to get a glimpse at the race cars. I was even told a few times that I couldn’t be past a certain point I had snuck by. Seriously though, I paid for a pit walk to see the cars! My friend and I were probably part of the 5% of people there to view the actual vehicles. They should really look in to separating the girls from the garages a little; throw them out on the straight or something. With that said, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I find it extremely amusing being the only foreigner in a crowd of crazed motor sport (read ‘race queen’) fans, and getting caught up in the moment. You know the saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”? Well, about halfway through I gave up trying to get car shots and ended up joining everyone else in snapping some girlies. They were all about it too! Perks of having blue eyes I suppose. Click past the break to see the experience of my first pit walk.
I think I’ll break up the Wekfest coverage with the second post of Super Taikyu from Twin Ring. I have a few fans that are awaiting the continuation of this and it just so happens I initially started posting it right before Wekfest hit town; which was not my intention. Plus, seeing a couple of race cars fight it out on track will be a nice contrast to the show coverage. We left off on the last post somewhere near the start of the race, after the practice laps. By now you have a good impression of the diversity of this series; I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a million times now, but it’s part of why this is such a cool race. Part of the appeal of Group-N racing series’ is that it has the ability to make any regular person feel like they can be a race car driver behind the wheel of there normal, every day car. That’s not to say that they should…but it’s nice to have that feeling. A popular car among the Super Taikyu contenders is the Sturm Motul STi. You can see it here propped up on the air jacks in the team garage; the crew going through a few final tests before it’s unleashed on the track for the 4 hour stint. Check the continued coverage past the break.
耐久 [Taikyu] – Translate the word to English and it becomes ‘Endurance’, or ‘Persistence’. Both of which are needed in a series like Super Taikyu; where the most average of cars are transformed into octane devouring, tire burning, track monsters for their drivers to tame around the circuit. A series that pushes both man and machine to the brink of exhaustion; endurance racing at it’s finest. Now don’t get me wrong – this is no 24 Hours of Nürburgring. It is, however, grueling in it’s own right – I barely survived photographing it, let alone driving it. It’s possible that some readers are not familiar with the series, although, they may be familiar with the term ‘Group-N’ racing. A particular type of motor sport, governed by the FIA, where standard production vehicles are allowed to be slightly modified for competition; I use the term ‘slightly’ very loosely. No doubt about it that each and every one of these cars is fully built to be race metal. The main reason I fell in love with this series is the amount of classes involved and on track at the same time, all racing to be number one in their own right. In this sense it’s a bit like Le Mans racing, except Super Taikyu has 5 classes. I’m really excited to share this series with you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Click past the break for more Twin Ring action.