On Friday, January 27th, on his second session on track, Yoshiki ‘Fire’ Ando broke the 50-second barrier at Tsukuba Circuit with a record 49.897 second lap time. A truly incredible moment for motorsport enthusiasts world wide and a massive breakthrough in Japanese time attack.
Yesterday afternoon I had a day scheduled to catch up on emails, editing, and writing. But when I woke up I had the urge to get out of the house. I messaged Kubo from Garage Work and asked if he was going to be at the shop that afternoon. He replied quickly and said please come; so, I did.
One of the issues that was preventing us from going quicker in the ISF build (aside from my driving) were the soft spring rates of the KW V3 coilovers. Much of it had to do with the softer, more comfortable nature that is inherent in the V3, but we at least needed to try and alleviate some of the negative side effects of that on track.
Three years ago when Yoshiki ‘Fire’ Ando and the expert team at Escort set out to claim the tuning car record at every international circuit in Japan, they knew it was a challenge that would demand perfection in all aspects of their operation.
Long before this website existed, when I had first started getting into time attack in the mid-2000’s, there was a name I came across often, usually in association with some of the fastest builds of the time. Whether those cars had these parts equipped, or had work done or engines tuned there, Garage Kagotani was a staple amongst the paddock.
When I departed on my return trip to Japan this Summer, I did so with the goal of reconnecting with friends and colleagues after the two years of travel restrictions. For 5 straight weeks I travelled around the country by car, train, and plane, all with the simple objective of ‘catching up’.
Between the amount of traveling I’ve done early this Summer (Japan’s record temps in June), our new focus on growth, and the recent heatwave here in the West, this years off-season has developed a sense of eternity to it. Even now in September, as people are gearing up to race again, the idea of heading out to the track for testing alludes me.
One of the reasons I enjoy visiting Hayashi at his shop, Auto House Solid, anytime I’m in Gunma is that there is always a large variety of tuning cars on hand. Hayashi services a wide range of customers so there is guaranteed to be something interesting in the shop.
At the beginning of my road trip to Mie Prefecture, I decided to make a detour down to the Izu Peninsula to visit my good friend Ando. Ando operates Auto Rescue Izu, a wrecker/tow service in Shizuoka. Over the past 2 years he had built a new shop to house and work on his personal cars.
Last week I made my way down to the Kansai Region of Japan for a few photoshoots I had lined up. Our first stop was at Esprit where I met our friend Sugikou-san. I wanted to photograph his Supra again for 80R because a lot of time has passed since our original shoot at Suzuka Circuit.
Last week we held a small get together at Autopolis International Racing Circuit in the Oita Prefecture of Kyushu. I had 3 photoshoots for 80R scheduled for this particular weekend trip down south, however a few could not make it last minute.
About a week after arriving in Japan, I received a message from my good friend Tsubaki. Since I photographed his S15 for Import Tuner back in 2014, we’ve always made sure to stay in touch as the years pass.
In this video we visit Skyline tuning masters Racing Factory Autobahn, deep in the countryside of Ibaraki. Kawai-san shows us some of the newer builds and I take a walk around the shop.
This past weekend I headed to Nagano to photograph my friend Tsubaki’s new S15 delivery. He had the car fixed and fitted with the new Garage Mak Type 6 front end. While I was there, we take a close look at Amemiya’s 1,000+hp S15 at the shop, and I also took some photographs of our friend Masato’s DIY S13.
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.
Years ago I had the good fortune of befriending a couple of Garage Mak customers who have close relationships with the Miyagawa brothers; owners of the Nagano based tuning powerhouse, Garage Mak. Amemiya, Tsubaki, Seki, and others, have become good friends of mine, and have also given me the opportunity to meet, and work with, the two men behind one of Japan’s most comprehensive tuning shops. This last week I made the drive out to Nagano again to talk to Tatsuhiro and Kazunori Miyagawa about the upcoming Attack season, and get a better look at their new line of R35 GTR aero.
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 […]
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 […]
. Godzilla at rest | D1GP Nissan Skyline R34 | Ｂｅｅ☆Ｒ | Ogawa, Japan .
After two straight weeks of work, I finally managed to squeeze in a much needed day off. This past Wednesday I had plans to shoot my friends Z32 but, due to a scheduling conflict, had to cancel. Not being one to waste a day off, I sat down and thought of some other things to shoot for the website. I had remembered someone telling me last month that COBB Tuning had opened a new facility in Southern California; I had also remembered reading about an open house for their grand opening. Well, after I had looked into it, I realized their grand opening had already past on the 22nd. No big deal, I figured I’d go ahead and stop by because I had plans on going that direction anyway – and I’m glad that I did. The brand new, 10,000 square foot facility that COBB Tuning inhabits is extremely nice. Upon my arrival I introduced myself to Ronnie, one of the cool dudes in charge of sales & marketing, and they gladly showed me around the facility. Check out more past the break.
Happy New Year everyone! I’m happy to report that NDF has survived its first full year, and that we’re ready to take on 2012 head on. Let’s kick off the New Year with a little peak around M-Tec Co.’s headquarters in Saitama, Japan. JDM Clips went exploring the building and it’s surroundings on a trip to go see the Mugen RR Advanced Concept. It’s been over two years since Mugen has particiapted in Tokyo Auto Salon, and the RR Advanced Concept was their last display vehicle. With word that Mugen is returning to TAS for 2012, there is much hype building around what car they will have present. Here at NDF & JDM Clips all bets are on a RR modeled CR-Z! We’ll have to wait to know for sure. In the meantime, check out the pics past the break.
. Check out this video from JDM Clips at the recent Skyline Festival. Old school power. Mr.Kurosawa (nickname Gan-san) drives a racing Hakosuka! [Vehicle Info] – Name: Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (Hakosuka) – Model Year: […]
. . Alright, before I post up the breakdown of the day I had yesterday, I’ll give you this little video of a couple pulls of Addy’s Nissan. It ended up making 373.3 whp on […]
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.
Describing RH9 in one word would be easy; Power. The Record Holder 9 club is exclusive to those cars capable of running 9’s in the quarter mile, the 1320, 0-400m; whatever you wanna call it, these things can do it fast. Once confined only to GT-R’s, it seems like they’ve expanded to other platforms as well; like the almighty Garage G Force X above. When you think of Japanese tuning, you’ll probably think of a few companies that take part in this club; and you’ll see some of their creations here. It’s not uncommon to see RH9 badged parts created by these companies as well. When I picked through these, I realized a lot were on the CF card that had failed on me. As a result I’m missing some (unhappy face). There are a few other sites though that have coverage of the RH9 too, so all is well. Enjoy.
Inline Four has been dedicated to Honda and Acura tuning for over a decade now. I’ve been going to them since I moved to So-Cal in 2005; back when they were in the tiny office off the 22. They have now moved to a better, larger facility in Garden Grove, but they’ve kept the same attitude about tuning and service. It’s a great shop that continues to grow in many ways, including a new line of their own performance parts. This year they have completed the build on their K-powered race car, and it’s already winning events. I made a trip down to Inline Four last week with a friend to inquire about some cams for his EG, and so I could pick up some wheel spacers for my coupe. Lucky for me the EK was parked out in front of the shop. I had only seen the car once at Nisei and since I had my camera with me I asked Brandon if I could snap some pictures.