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.
I make it a point to visit Spoon and Type One each time I go to Japan; actually, this is about the 4th or 5th post on NDF about visiting the shop! It’s such […]
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 […]
I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “Some of the best things in life are free”. A saying most likely referring to memories or moments in time. For the most part I’d agree, as it’s happened to me several times. The things in life that are the most special often happen unexpectedly and in the most obscure places – take this encounter for example. If you want to get technical with it, this moment wasn’t technically free, but I can say that it was both unexpected and obscure; crazy any way you want to look at it. On our way back to Tokyo from Motegi, my friend and I had decided to pull over at a rest stop for a bite to eat and a little refill of caffeine (in the form of some Emerald Mountain Blend). The long drive back on the expressway had started taking it’s toll on us and after spending an entire day shooting an endurance race, the last thing you want to do is drive for 2 hours back home. As we pulled into the parking area, and drove towards the back to park, we noticed a trailer with a pair of Nissan’s resting atop. As we got closer we realized it was the two Okabe Jidosha Taikyu team’s cars. I suppose they had the same idea as us and stopped for a little break. Not one to miss a photo-op, I grabbed my camera and tripod and snapped a few shots before we went into the restaurant (You can see one of the shots here – I’ll post more later). As we were eating our curry and whatever the hell else I had ordered, we kept trying to pick out who was involved in the racing team. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to tell just by looking at someone, but we tried anyway. We finished up, grabbed some coffee from vending, and made our way back to the car when we saw this. Click past the break for more – I promise you won’t see stuff like this anywhere else.
. 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.
. 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 – […]
. During ‘Golden Week’ in Japan, it’s typical to see carp-shaped streamers flying in the wind. These special flags are called 鯉幟, or ‘Koinobori’. These are traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate 端午の節句 (Tango no […]
Yeah, that’s right – another FT-86 post. So I posted on the NDF Facebook page a few weeks back picture of a FT-86 wheel with Spoon calipers attached. Needless to say it baffled many people – including me when I saw it. I still don’t have much information on the car, other than whoever owns it is affiliated with Spoon and Type One. I’m pretty sure it’s not too difficult to fit certain brake systems onto other cars, as it can be universal in some regards; requiring little retro-fitting. This may be the case, but it’s still wild to see a Spoon product on anything other than a Honda. Right? I first spotted this at Twin Ring behind the Spoon garage area at the 2nd round of Super Taikyu. Click past the break for a few more encounters!
. 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 […]
. 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. […]
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!