Growing up with his father, Akira, Yusaku Shibata was embraced with motor sport from the moment he arrived in this world. His life would see him behind the wheel of numerous race cars throughout a number of series, and eventually coming full circle to own and operate the tuning shop his father founded in 1985; ARVOU Motor Sports Service.
With the Super GT Championships kicking off each year around April, Tokyo Auto Salon is scheduled at the perfect time off-season for competitors to showcase their 2019 season winning cars, as well as their new 2020 builds. One of the main reasons I attended the Salon this year was to get a closer look.
This week has flown by and I really haven’t gotten a chance to just sit down uninterrupted to edit and write. All last week I was in Tucson for work, and have been using this week to kind of catch up. I took the little free time I did have to spend at the shop working on the new motor and to start fabricating my dashboard. I don’t quite have all the parts collected to finish the head yet, so I should be concentrating on other areas of the car, time permitting. I have some work scheduled for it mid-February, and hoping to have a few open items finished by the end of the month. I’ve also been working to restock the site store by, and wrap up the new shirt design – mostly by way of email correspondence! We should have a few announcements coming within the next week or so. In the meantime, I managed to finish the edits from Tokyo Auto Salon and have one final post for you – check it out below.
Among the various Super GT cars on display, APR was one to unveil their 2016 GT300 take on the new Prius. We got a close look at the previous model a few years back at Fuji Speedway; however, since Toyota has released a newly remodeled production version of the hybrid chassis, it was time for it’s older counterpart to be retired. Unlike the previous model, which utilized a mid-engine setup (as it was built to the somewhat controversial JAF GT300 rulebook), the 2016 will be using the now mandated front-engine setup, as this is the factory engine layout of the Prius.
I don’t want my last post on TAS to be misconstrued in any way. I started thinking about it after someone had commented on the Facebook page about it. I’m not trying to downplay TAS in anyway, it’s a great event. In fact, many people from all over the world plan their trip to Japan around that show. I am not in Japan as often as I used to be, and that means choosing dates wisely. It’s come to the point where the amount of opportunities I have outweigh the time I have to take advantage of them; and that’s something I am very grateful for. I’ve worked hard over the past years to put myself in that position, and am thankful for the friends that helped along the way. It would be different if I could devote 100% of my time to the site, but I’m just not in a place where I can make that a reality right now. I have a self-defined prerogative to share with you up to date information and coverage of what’s happening in Japanese Time Attack events, so naturally those are the events I align myself with. I’m glad this time I was able to do both, as there was a lot of neat stuff at TAS this year. I was especially excited about the handful of Super GT unveilings. If you have the opportunity to go I would highly encourage you to do so, and not to get discouraged by any of my opinions I throw up on the site. I’d never want to unintentionally discourage anyone from doing what they’ve always wanted to do. With that said, let’s jump into the second round of my selective coverage from the halls of Makuhari Messe.
I certainly didn’t plan to attend TAS this year. In fact, It’s been 5 years since I’ve purposefully started avoiding it. If you asked me why I’d honestly have trouble explaining; it’s a massive undertaking that showcases some of Japan’s best builds…so what’s the deal? Even as I type that out I’m squinting at the screen, eyebrows furrowed, questioning myself. Ahhh…that’s right, it’s literally just a giant car show and frankly, car shows are just not my thing anymore. The first TAS I went to was in 2009 – I went in 2010 too. 2011 was the first year I not only attended, but I covered it for the website as well; and it actually turned out to be my last. In 2014 my good friend Sekinei was well on-board with NDF and helped source some coverage of the show as he was attending anyway, and in 2015 I basically just didn’t post anything despite having coverage. I really just wanted to focus on our niche and at the time felt that anything else just contributed to a deviation of that (despite increasing traffic dramatically). Or maybe I just got jaded that it wasn’t a unique experience anymore; I’m not sure. So, you could say this year was sort of a fluke. I was going to be in Japan anyway to attend Evome on the 16th, and I had media passes for TAS on Friday so I wouldn’t really have to deal with hordes of testosterone crazed Japanese men in search of booth girls, and I literally had no plans on my calendar. Sounds good right? So why not return?
And who’d have guessed it – I had a really good time.
Super GT released this cool promotional video a few weeks ago for the upcoming 2014 season. It highlights the two brand new cars that will be competing in the new year; the Lexus LF-CC, […]
With the 2013 season of Super GT wrapping up this weekend with the Pokka/Sappora Special 1,000KM race at Suzuka, it’s about that time we look forward to next year. I’ve seen a lot of […]
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!
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 […]
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 […]
…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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
. Whenever I think of the J-Loc Super GT team I imagine a group of young, millionaire-esque drivers who spend their weekdays parlaying cash at ritzy clubs and restaurants, picking up beautiful women in lounges, […]
. New wallpaper available of the ZENT GT500 SC430 at Fuji Speedway in scene – click here to go to the desktop page to see it in high resolution. .
. Eneos GT500 Lexus SC430 | Fuji Speedway .
. Playing in the rain Super GT Gainer DIXCEL GT300 R8 LMS – Tetsuya Tanaka | Katsuyuki Hiranaka – Fuji Speedway .
. Super GT Round 2 | Fuji Speedway – Oyama, Japan | Subaru BRZ GT300 .
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 .
We continue the coverage of Super GT Round 2 from about the middle of the race. By now I had wandered myself around the better half of the track and started making my way back to the paddock area to get something to eat. While doing so, I managed to miss the massive crash of the Art Taste Porsche driven by Tim Bergmeister that ended up sending him to the hospital. I’m not sure if he had a puncture in one of his tires that threw him off, or if it was a driver error, but the accident was pretty horrific. This delayed the race for a good 30 minutes while they cleaned up and got the car off-track. It didn’t take long though for the GT cars to start up at full throttle again. Click past the break to check out more racing action from Fuji Speedway.
Nothing can short change the excitement of a good road race. Rapidly changing weather conditions, split second decisions, class differences, mental fatigue, and constant overtaking all combine to create an environment that only motor sport can provide. Super GT, Japan’s premier racing series, brings this to the table round after round. Mixing GT300 and GT500 contenders make for a packed grid and the opportunity to see some great driving. This particular race held many challenges for the teams to overcome; challenges that would leave the unprepared teams either on the back of the grid or, worse yet, off the track and retired. It’s my pleasure to bring you coverage from Round 2 of Super GT held at Fuji Speedway in the Shizuoka prefecture. Click past the break for a look at the action.
. 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 […]
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…
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.
OK, I’ve been putting this off for too long. AutoCon can wait – it’s time for Nismo Festival coverage! Held at Fuji Speedway annually, Nismo festival is the mecca of all things Nissan and, really, there couldn’t be a better venue! On clear days, like this, Fuji-san is a visually dominating feature. However, Nismo did their best to offer a variety of street and race cars to distract you from the great mountain view. The highlight of this year’s festival had to be the motor sports ‘garage sale’ that Nismo put together. Offering various wheels, and body parts from Super GT cars at extremely low prices – great for home decoration and collecting! Imagine taking home a pair of Mag Volk wheels from a Super GT machine for $10 each! How awesome of a coffee table would that make? Anyway, click past the break for volume 1 of the coverage!
. Let me first apologize for the lack of activity on NDF recently. I’ve been extremely busy with my new job and haven’t had time to update, or go to any events. I’m hating it […]
. . Subaru released this insanely awesome video yesterday in regards to it’s intentions on using the BRZ as a GT300 competitor in Super GT. This will quite possibly be the most bad ass contender […]
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.
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.
Race day – it truly is special. As the purpose built machines line the grid, the quiet idling of their hungry engines a deceiving tone. Just minutes before the red lights go out; the exhaust notes scream held back only by the bouncing rev limiter of the launch control. The paddock thick with anxiety. The rivalry, the tension, the noise and drama. As the green flags drop the machinery comes to life, and a torrent of power is unleashed across the asphalt. Exciting right!? But there is a lot that goes into getting everyone into position on time. Our friends at JDM Clips got some great behind the scene shots in and around the Pit area of the first Super GT round at Fuji Speedway. Click past the break to check it out!
. At the beginning of the month the delayed opening round of Super GT took place at Fuji Speedway and saw the first victory of the season go to the Autech GTR of the GT500 […]