Tag: Toyota

Close-Up: APR HASEPRO GT300 Toyota Prius

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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.

Event: Colab Drift Day at Balcony

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So, last weekend I rode up with a couple of friends to Willow Springs Raceway for a drift event at Balcony that was put on by Colab.  Whew, that sentence is way longer than it seemed when I started typing it.  Now I’m wondering if I should even start this post off with it…whatever.  If you don’t know what Balcony is; it’s a spot at the top of WSIR that is used for various things, but it’s probably most known for it’s use as a makeshift drift course.  It’s actually a decent spot to practice and I’m sure organizing events there is much cheaper than HTM.  I had nothing planned for the weekend when the guys told me about the event, so I figured it would be worth going along to get some practice shooting drift events; I really have never shot drifting before.  Also, I’ve been wanting to shoot Kem’s 240 for awhile, and still want to do a decent shoot with it, but it was fun getting some shots of it sideways.  That’s his car with the R33 intercooler – it’s a little crooked, but who cares this car is rad.  Charlie brought out his RB25 240 as well, and there were a couple other cars out that day as well.  This will mostly be random pictures with no story line or commentary because that’s basically what the day was.  Pretty much every car broke anyway.  Click past the break for more.

Event: AutoCon 2012 Los Angeles – Roll In

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When I started the drive out to Arcadia for AutoCon yesterday morning, I had been under the strange impression that media will-call was at 9am; where I got that impression and why I thought it was perfectly normal I’m still not sure.  When I got to the site and saw about 400 cars waiting to be rolled in I kind of figured I had some misinformation.  Well, there was nothing else to do really so I thought I’d make the most of it though and start snapping away.  The route into the Santa Anita grounds is through an underground route under an overpass to the Westfield mall that’s across from the park.  So I just posted up under the shade of the bridge, and did my best to avoid the already intense inland heat.  I talked to Justin from AutoCon when I saw him pass through and he had no problems with me starting early.  I’m typically late to car shows, so this was kind of cool for me.  The roll-in process was much smoother than last year, and it seems they were much better staffed this year.  Grab a cup of coffee and click past the break for the first of many Auto Connection 2012 posts.

Close-Up: Type One Toyota FT-86….?

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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!

Encounter: Advan Toyota FT-86


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One of the cool things about going to a race event in Japan, is all the other things that come along with it. Good food, merchandise and car part vendors, free goodies, concerts, and the paddock and pit areas. Super GT had it all and then some. In the vendor area of Fuji Speedway, Yokohama had a fairly large booth set up with a couple display cars. One of the cars was this red FT-86 sitting on a matte black set of Advan RG-D’s. I thought it was a really clean example of what the FT-86 can look like with the simplest of modifications. Click past the break for a full shot.

Event: Super GT Round 2 – Throwdown At Fuji Speedway v.1

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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.

Close-Up: TRD Tuned FT-86

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I wrote an initial draft up about 3 weeks ago for this close-up, but for some reason never got around to publishing it.  For that, I apologize, because this is one hell of a car.  One great day, at Tsukuba Circuit, an amazing event was held.  At this event, Toyota decided to show it’s variant of the FT-86.  Ever since the FT-86, BRZ, or FR-S has made it’s debut in it’s geographically appropriate location, the tuning world has been abuzz with excitement.  Now, with the Super GT BRZ, and the D1 FT-86, we’re all dying to see what’s next.  Well, it seems that TRD has our answer.  With the FT-86 being officially on sale in Japan for about half a month now, it’s unlikely we’ll see any personally owned ones tuned any time soon.  Toyota has done an excellent job in marketing their newest offering, and the TRD tuned FT-86 is the icing on the cake.  Click past the break to see more.

Event: Drift Exhibition at Tsukuba Circuit

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I drove back to my hometown this weekend to attend my friend’s wedding.  I was looking forward to relaxing at home for a day or so and getting some work done on the website.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.  It seems like whenever I go home, I’m pulled in 100 different directions; and there’s never enough time.  Needless to say, NDF was M.I.A for the past couple days.  Before I turn in for the night I thought I’d throw this post together real quick.  During the Hot Version N2 Race at Tsukuba Circuit, the guys over at Drift Muscle, as well as some D1SL contenders, put together a little drifting exhibition.  Check it out past the break – and catch video at JDM Clips.

Feature: Thunder Drift IS400 – 2012 Build Progress

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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

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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.

Encounter: HKS Alphard Veilfire

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You didn’t think HKS would touch a van would you?  Well, they did, and this is the outcome.  Not too sure about specs on this thing, but it is the newer ‘Veilfire’ model of the Toyota Alphard – marketed towards a younger generation.  Of course, it’s natural to develop for the latter.  HKS’ awesome-van is lowered on their signature HiperMax coilovers, as seen through the hole in the fender.  Click past the break for another pic.

Encounter: Car Sense built Camber Demon Crown Police Interceptor!

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Want to see something crazy?  Here you go.  Something crazy.  Car Sense brought it out like K-Break did in 2011 with this nuts Toyota Crown Police Interceptor Camber Mega Demon.  If you’re not familiar with some iconic Car Sense builds, click this link to check out their famous Aristo build; or better yet, enter the NDF Option contest to win a magazine that could possibly have pictures of it.  If you’re in a lazy mood though, I suppose you could just click past the break for more pics.  Be sure to check out JDM Clips for video footage of Tokyo Auto Salon 2012.  Enjoy!

Encounter: Lexus LFA @ 2011 LA Auto Show

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With the hype surrounding Lexus’ LFA slowly dying out, it’s easy to forget just how bad ass this car really is.  I was happy to run into the 2012 model at the LA Auto Show last week, so I decided to put up this shot and an accompanying spec sheet with all the little details about the car we all drool over.  Click past the break for the breakdown that will melt your face off…

Close-Up: Subaru BRZ Concept-STi

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So, I finally made the quick trip over to the LA Convention Center to attend the LA Auto Show.  While it’s always great to see each manufacturers take on the cutting edge of automotive engineering, I really came to see one car; the Subaru BRZ STi Concept.  Of all the automotive topics discussed recently, Toyota’s predecessor to the now iconic AE86 has been the hottest.  Will it be Toyota or Scion?  What is the actual model name?  Turbocharged or naturally aspirated?  Will it use Subaru’s flat Boxer engine?  For quite awhile, consumers and fans were left in the dark, but finally some light is being shed on the details.  Check out some more shots of Subaru’s new member of the STi family past the break.

Feature: The San Mateo Terror – TD Pro Am Lexus IS300

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The one thing that continues to amaze me in this industry is the amount of great, down to earth people there are.  No matter the discipline, whether you’re a driver, a spectator, a mechanic, or involved in media coverage, it just seems hard to come across a person you won’t get along with.  Case in point; Joe McGuigan.  Joe drifts in the Thunder Drift: Pro Am series here in Northern California.  The series basically serves as a gateway for amateur drivers looking to get into national series like Formula D.  As this season comes to an end, Joe is already looking to next year where, with an all new engine setup, will be shooting for his Formula D license.  Let’s take a closer look at his weapon of choice past the break.

Event: The Rally Cars Of Megaweb Festa

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OK, so this STi technically isn’t a rally car; it’s actually a race car.  However, I figured with Subaru’s ties to the WRC being so strong, I’d include it in the bunch.  One of the coolest things about the Megaweb Festa was that show-goers could take turns riding shotty in all the rally spec cars – all smiles there I’m sure.  If I had the opportunity I’d probably pretend to be the navigator, but I’d give all the directions in English so the Japanese drivers wouldn’t understand.  They’d probably just get distracted and agitated at me – muhahaha.  Check out some shots below the break.

Event: Nisei Showoff 2011 v.1

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C-h-e-c-k.  Check.  OK, my keyboard still works.  Holy shit I’m tired.  Two nights before Nisei I was stuck at work for 23 hours straight.  Yeah that’s right, 23.  I never fully recovered, so on the morning of the show I was hating my life.  I remember a fairly large line when gates opened last year, so this year I showed up pretty early and to my surprise come 11 o’clock, there was only about 15 people behind me.  I guess it must have picked up throughout the day though because people were saying the turnout was good.  I had stuff to do in Westwood a little past 1 o’clock so I figured I had around 2 hours to take care of business; Wakayama Ramen lunch included.  Click past the break for part one of however many Nisei posts I feel like making out of the 400 pictures I took.

Event: It’s JDM Yo! 1st Anniversary Meet v.3

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The stragglers.  Leftover pictures that didn’t make it into an event post.  This is what you’ll get with the final It’s JDM Yo! event post.  Seriously, these events are getting so big that it’s near impossible to methodically post every car that was in attendance.  It’s too bad too because some really good builds go unnoticed sometimes.  Anyway, I’ve been working mad 12 hour shifts at work and haven’t had anytime to dedicate to the site in awhile.  I wanted to finish up with the final pictures before I go out of town once again.  With that said, on with the pics.

Event: It’s JDM Yo! 1st Anniversary Meet v.2

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Welcome back to the second part of the It’s JDM Yo! meet coverage.  The sites traffic has been way up recently, I’d like to thank everyone who checks the site regularly.  I’ll be getting some merchandise together soon too, so everyone that’s been interested in it, hold on just a little longer!  Anyway, after we checked out what was in the outside lot, we ventured into the main warehouse building.  They put up a DJ in almost every room in the warehouse, playing different music.  I thought that was pretty sweet.  Check out the pics past the break.

Event: It’s JDM Yo! 1st Anniversary Meet v.1

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Alright, let me just start out by saying that this meet turned out to be way bigger than I had expected.  I had originally planned to stop by real quick, say hello to a few people, snap some shots and jam to Aliso Viejo to the Tamiya RC track.  Despite my attempts to hurry, we ended up staying for about 2 hours.  The layout of the meet was really cool, with multiple doors leading to new warehouses; all packed full of self-built cars.  Some were track inspired, many were heavily VIP influenced, all were cool in their own right.  I didn’t have my 28mm with me, so the majority of these were taken with my 50mm – forgive the lack of full car shots, but at a meet like this, and the lenses I had, it was all but impossible to snatch a frame without anyone getting in the way.  Click past the break to see the first of the coverage.

Event: Super GT – Behind the Scenes

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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!

Event: 2010 Super GT Test Day at Twin Ring Motegi

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Ah, Monday.  Hope you all had a good race weekend; congrats to Sebastian Vettel for his second 2011 season win!  As promised, I’m posting up some shots of  a Super GT Test Day at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.  While these shots may be dated a bit, they are still awesome.  This post will be followed up with some race day shots as well.  Unfortunately, the Super GT series has been delayed due to the tragic events in Japan.  I know we’ve heard it a lot, but let’s hope Japan can bounce back and things can return to normal soon.  Thanks again to JDM Clips.  Check out the NSX GT-R FR – looks so mean.

Encounter: Street Chaser

. I’ve been gone for four days straight and it’s been great.  I promise some more content in the next couple days.  I’ll start off with this run-of-the-mill 6th gen. Chaser rocking a fat intercooler.  […]

Feature: Eneos SC430 Super GT

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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.

Close-Up: Super GT at TAS 2011

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OK so I lied about the whole ‘no more TAS’ thing; but I never got a chance to post up the Super GT Special.  TAS is a trade show, and what better way to market your product than to slap it on a full blown, competition race car?  There isn’t really, so, to my pleasant surprise, the Salon grounds were sprinkled with Super GT cars; like the Nismo built Motul/Autech GT-R.   Super GT is a fairly unique series that puts excitement first.  Only allowing pit stops during certain time frames, mandatory ballast for winning cars, and intake air restrictors all add to competition.  Click past the break for more Super GT.

Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2011 v.5

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I have a feeling this last installment is going to be filled with R35 goodness.  Mine’s, Endless, HKS, Option; they all had GT-R’s on display, and they were all fantastic.  For a closer look at the Mine’s built GT-R pictured above, check out Taka’s video @ JDM Clips.  This thing is pushing out near 800hp.  Although this may be the last ‘walk around’ TAS post, I’ll have a few more specific shots coming soon however.  It’s kind of sad to see it come to an end.  Click past the break to see more of the final coverage post from Tokyo Auto Salon.

Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2011 v.2

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After an hour or so I seemed to get my bearings around the gigantic convention center, and realized the scope of what laid ahead of me.  To cover a show of this magnitude on my own would take some serious moving around; so I did just that.  Keeping an eye out for certain booths I really wanted to see, I set out on a mission to cover as much as the show as I could.  I found out that the two other halls held more of the stuff I was looking for.  The next two posts will contain some spectacular builds from the tuners we all know and love.  Check it out past the break.

Encounter: Tokyo Estima

. Here is something you won’t see too often in the states; a modified van.  They’re pretty common in Japan though, and the エスティマ (Estima) is one of the more popular platforms.  I think I […]