Kiyotaka Eishima had two requirements for the car he would choose to campaign in time attack; it had to be fast, and it had to look cool. So, after purchasing the FD in 2006, every decision he’s made has come back to those two obligations – and it is clear that he has never strayed from that path.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the Attack Tsukuba Championship this year, personally, because of COVID travel restrictions. Lucky for us though, we can join my brother Sekinei as he wanders around the paddock checking out some of the cars competing at the event.
I had the opportunity to see what was left of Tokue’s EK shell during my last trip to Garage Work early in 2019. Iwata didn’t want me to photograph it, for various reasons, but for a fan of the Honda Civic, I can only describe the scene as melancholy.
It’s always exciting to see new builds get unveiled each year. It shows progression of the sport; both in the growth of drivers and the need to increase the performance of their cars. In the case of Kengo ‘Lock’ Suzuki, it was an interesting combination of both that led to what you see here.
Attack Tsukuba marked the return of Oya G, ‘The Prince’, back to the circuit in his newly rebuilt EVO 5. Backed by Koyo KBC, the car is back better than ever with a brand new engine to power it around the track.
Attack Tsukuba is one of the most anticipated time attack events of the year in Japan. NDF was on hand to to provide a walk through of the paddock area, an overview of drivers and cars, as well as on track action during super lap at the famed TC2000 course at Tsukuba.
The day before the Attack Tsukuba Championship event at TC2000 (February 21, 2020), the organizer Zummy holds an event that allows competitors the ability to practice and get their cars set up properly for Attack. A lot of times the event is just as exciting as Attack and this year was no exception.
The evolution of time attack builds in Japan is, for me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the sport. The dedication of the teams and the drivers to improve performance each season typically results in a year over year change in the appearance of the cars. Especially given the fact that most of the Attack competitors are ghosts on social media in comparison, it’s always a surprise to see what they unveil at the start of each season.
Tsukuba Circuit has always been considered the “Holy Land of Time Attack”.
Drivers flock to the track to prove their skills in a number of famous events, including Option Superlap, RevSpeed and more recently the Attack Championship series. As many tuning cars continue to take on TC2000 it’s not uncommon for times to change very quickly. Below is a up-to-date ranking of the top 50 drivers and their corresponding times at TC2000.
There seems to be at least one privateer in every class of time attack that is always looming just behind the top teams record times. They typically don’t have the resources afforded to them from owning a shop, and usually rely on the knowledge of a particular ‘support’ shop to assist them in getting their cars to where they want them. Despite their disadvantage, they close the gap to the frontrunners of the sport, time and time again. Yoshitaka Ishii and his bright green S2000 are a prime example of this.
Given our illustrious ability to sleep in on the day of track events, I was surprised that when my alarm clock went off at 4:30am this past Sunday morning, I actually got out of bed. As our routine would have it, I met Sekinei downstairs and we set off for Ibaraki stopping only at the 711 right after the turn-off to Tsukuba. It’s been longer than I can remember that I arrived at the track before the sun came up, but we somehow managed to roll through that little narrow tunnel before daybreak. In fact, we were among the first to arrive meeting Under-san and the Evome staff as we entered. It didn’t take long for the flat beds to start rolling in though, and before I knew it the paddock was full of cars with drivers itching to get out on track before the weather took a turn for the worse.
Once every year, on July 7th, tuners and enthusiasts from around the country celebrate Mazda’s shining triumph of engineering. The RX-7, to many, is so much more than a car; it’s an engineering marvel. The unique rotary motor a triangular pariah in a sea of ordinary, piston driven combustion. The chassis of the FD so perfectly geared towards time attack, has become a symbol of the sport in Japan. On this date, thousands will come together in honor of this car worldwide, with the epicenter being Tsukuba Circuit.
Last year I was able to chat with Ejima-san about the car he has built over the past several years, at his shop TFR, to compete in the sport of Time Attack. Just by being around him, I was able to get a feel for the type of person he is and how his personality ties into his driving. It’s a duo I’ve come to enjoy watching over the past events, and it’s nice to be able to revisit the build again this year.
I know I’ve posted a couple shots of this car in the past (in a bit more comprehensive write up), but I was combing through some Evome coverage from the beginning of the year and came across a ton of material I never posted. Among them were shots of the AutoBahn Soarer that, unfortunately, didn’t make it around the track much this event.
59.051 seconds is what it took Iida-san to pilot his Elite Racing Company built FD around the 14 turns of Tsukuba’s TC2000. It’s no surprise though, knowing ERC’s knowledge of rotary tuning, that Iida had the capability of achieving such a time. The Saitama based shop, run by Ohya Masaatsu is not only one of the leading shops in rotary tuning, but they can also boast for having literally the most amount of random links on their website that I have ever seen. Click past the break for more shots.
While no doubt popular in it’s day for it’s nimble handling, performance, and excellent gas mileage, I wonder if Honda ever imagined the capability that their CR-X would have on circuit nearly 30 years after it’s inception? This particular example, hailing from the camp of G-Work, is no doubt a testament to the capability of the tiny chassis. Barreling through TC2000 in a mere 1’02.419, the NA B-series powered CR-X can hold definitely hold it’s own. Click past the break for a gallery of shots on track at Tsukuba Circuit.
Caught this pretty cool FD2 at Tsukuba during a Grooving event. The entire interior was gutted and it was running a pretty mild aero package. Fastest time it clocked was 1’01.25 – pretty quick! The fender cut away made the car look much more aggressive than the factory form. Click past the break for a few more shots.
Saitama native Nakashima Tomoyoshi, or Tomo for short, is an avid fan of the RX-7. Unique in many ways, the car has stolen his attention for better half of several years. Before he built the FD you see here, Tomo was the proud owner of a white Savanna FC.
I know my recent posts haven’t been very lengthy by any means, and this one is going to be no different (that’s not to say I don’t want to type more, I’m just pressed for time). If you’ve followed the blog for that past year at least, you’ll know this car. Kazuya-san, a.k.a. Kotora, a.k.a Baby Tiger, a.k.a. Fastest NA Civic around TC2000 on radial tires, a.k.a….just kidding I have no more names.
Spotted this FD at Tsukuba as I was leaving one weekend. I’d never seen it before – would have liked to get a closer look at it. The registration is in Mito, which is like southern Ibaraki, so I would imagine it frequents Tsukuba often. I’ll keep my eyes peeled ~
Like the majority of people competing in time attack events in Japan, Takanori Seyama is the owner of a shop that deals with car sales and procurement. Located on a quiet street in the heart of Ryugasaki, Ibaraki, his shop, Seyamax, not only houses his inventory of cars for sale, but is also headquarters for what Takanori really loves to do; and that is to race. Over the past couple years he has built, and perfected his car of choice to become as fast as possible. His R32, dubbed ‘Real Of The World’, is no slouch on TC2000. His 2015 target time is set at 57.5 seconds around Tsukuba, and with a personal best of 57.970 to back it, it seems a very reasonable goal to accomplish.
The passageway to Tsukuba’s paddock has seen some things; I can only imagine.
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.
Over the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting, and becoming friends with, many tuning shops in Japan – and that’s not something I take for granted at all. However, there […]
No, your eyes do not deceive you; this is the same Soarer that was coated in a bright white just last year. This season though, the white panels have been shed in favor of […]
With the passing of Rev Speed earlier in the month, we can formally mark the onset of attack season in Japan; and without a doubt, no other group of privateers stand out […]
No stranger to a variety of cars, S15, Altezza, JZX100, (even the FD, having owned one before this) just to name a few, Muraki Tatsuhiko has more experience than most when it comes to how different […]
Ichihara is located in the western part of the Bōsō Peninsula, and geographically is the largest of Chiba Prefecture’s cities and towns. The highly industrialized northern part of the city sits on Tokyo […]
This article has been a long time coming, and I don’t have any excuse for putting it off any longer so here we go… I’ve been traveling a lot this month, and […]
In the first round of coverage of the last Attack event of the year, we took a stroll around the paddock area of Tsukuba and got a general idea of the crowd in attendance. These […]
“Any professional is intended only to start from the beginning amateur, if there is no stage of good amateur , does not cause the excellent professional is born” We are no longer amateurs. There […]
Battle Evome, and time attack events in general, are so unique in the sense that each participant has their own story; their own background. Where they come from, how they got into motor sport, things […]
The brisk grounds of Tsukuba played host to the second round of Battle Evome this morning, and as quickly as it came, the battle has ended. While not all contenders came out unscathed, a […]
One contender in Time Attack not seen often is Taro-san’s GC8; hailing from the Gokigenja squad of cars and built in part by Fiber Garage. A very unique chassis in a sport usually dominated […]
Dreamworks built FD being prepped for a run around TC2000… A nice departure from the aero saturated Evome series – not that you ever need a break from that…
This endurance built S2000 stood the 12 hour test at Idlers earlier this year – definitely one of my favorite cars of the event.
赤ﾛｰﾙ DEEP GRIP FD3S enroute to Tsukuba on a crisp Sunday morning in Japan.
N2 spec AE86 built by Car Factory prepping for the Hot Version race – Tsukuba Circuit, Japan.
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 […]
Garage HRS EVO IX spotted in the paddock of Tsukuba Circuit. The owner was competing in the Dunlop Challenge that afternoon.