Last week, my wife and I made the drive from Osaka to Himeji, in Hyogo, to visit the boys at Pit Road M; a shop that has been on my list for quite some time. If you know me, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of RH9 – both in idea and what it stands for; it is the group I emulated to create the Frontrunners Group.
Feature: Amir Bentatou – The RS Future K20 NSX
There is no doubt that the shear excitement of driving a purpose-built race car on the edge is enough for any driver to justify the money and work that gets put into building it. Although, surprisingly there are very few people that understand the actual amount of work that goes into building a race car; Amir Bentatou is not one of those people.
Encounter: Kenji Mori’s CBY AE86
I can always appreciate a dedicated race car build that maintains the character of a street car. More than just a collection of parts thrown together, these cars carry with them a certain presence – an appearance that brings with it an almost tangible-like feeling. Arguably, in Japan, the AE86 chassis has the ability to achieve this more than any car out there. Be it due to its history in racing both on track and street, or perhaps its timeless design that attracts shops to continually develop parts for it. Whatever the case, there are some very indismissable examples, and Kenji’s CBY supported build is a perfect representation of this idea.
Event: World Time Attack 2018 V.1 – Pro Class Overview
Every year, Sydney Motorsports Park (formerly Eastern Creek Raceway) plays host to one of the most anticipated events in the time attack world. An event that decides the most sought after titles in all race classes across the globe. It’s an event that is reserved for the most dedicated drivers and teams from almost every continent active in motor sports. The financial, mental, and physical toll it can play on individuals ensures that only the most dedicated of teams show up to play their hand at becoming the fastest in the world. Given that the teams based in Japan have been involved in this event in some form or another since the beginning, I thought it was long due for a visit to Sydney to support our Japanese constituents.
Event: NDF x FRS Casual Summer Cafe
I don’t think it’s a secret that I prefer racing events to car shows. One look at the past articles on this site will paint a pretty clear picture. I get a lot of questions regarding if I’d ever consider hosting a meet here in the US; and the answer is generally ‘I don’t think so’ (maybe an invite only track event…). Despite it being held almost 4 years ago, the Winter Cafe was overwhelming for just 2 people to manage and I’d hate to run into that situation again. That’s precisely whey we began these little casual meetings between NDF and FRS.
Feature: Title Fight – The ASM S2000
There are so many cool builds in the paddock of any given Attack event in Japan, that I often fail to acknowledge just how in-depth some of the builds are. As the sport progresses, and the participants seek to go faster and faster, their machines eventually begin to become a reflection of their drive. Putting budget aside, I’d have to say that the ASM Yokohama S2000 is one of the premiere examples of this idea. This particular build, which ASM has been developing for over a decade, all but reached the peak of it’s very active life in the last weekend of February.
Encounter: Circuit Comeback – はるななのDC5
Up until this past attack season, I had never met Mr. ‘Harunana’ but I had stumbled across his Minkara page a few years ago. Back then his DC5 looked quite a bit different. The car’s exterior was much more sparse, and I can imagine the car was actually a lot heavier as well. But a lot can change over the course of a couple years, and this DC5 is testament to that.
Encounter: Yusuke Hoshino’s Unlimited Built CT9A
At the beginning of the year, after seeing Yusuke at both Evome events, I had realized that I never really posted much of his EVO. We chatted a bit after the second event, and he mentioned that the car had been acting less than ideal. Which shows in the lap times; nearly a full second off his January time. Still, he’s come a long way with his build and it was Kaz at Unlimited Works that set him on the right track.
Encounter: Shaft Auto Service ER34 Gallery
Back in November we took a close look at the Shaft built ER34 Skyline at the Attack event at Tsukuba; you can check that article out here. Being the immense admirer of four-door Skylines that I am, I shot a whole bunch more photos of it at Battle Evome this year. After talking to Suzuki personally about the car, I gained a whole new level of respect for the build.
Event: Attack Fever 11/23 Extra Coverage
I had a couple more shots Sekinei sent over from the Attack event last month that I processed real quick; thought I’d just clump them together in a bonus gallery to start your week off on the right foot. Probably should have just included them in one of the two posts, but I think I may have gotten side tracked haha. Don’t want them to go to waste, so click past the break to see the gallery.
Event: Attack Fever – 11.23.2015 V.2
We pick up at Tsukuba right as the green flag for the first session drops. I’ve always thought the anticipation of a Time Attack event is second only to the time the cars take to the track. The consuming sound of the high reeving engines, late breaking into corners, the snapping of the cars as they oversteer out of the turns; it’s almost too much excitement to handle. Let’s head track-side for the second round of Monday’s coverage; click the break to see the action.
Event: Attack Fever – 11.23.2015 V.1
Attack season in Japan officially kicked off with the first Attack Fever event being held at Tsukuba’s infamous TC2000. The event drew a good amount of participants, no doubt eager to start racing once again. While the weather ended up taking a turn for the worse halfway through the morning, there was still enough time for a handful of ideal laps to be thrown down.
Close-Up: Shaft Auto Service ER34 – Class 1 Heavyweight
Shaft Auto Service, a small outfit in Hachioji that specializes in four door Skylines. Foremost a car dealership that holds inventory in a wide variety of Skylines, the owner, Shibuya Taro, offers many ancillary services ranging in everything from fiberglass work, to engine tuning. Usually a company that stays off the grid, you’d easily recognize their work with the D1 Blitz R34 that Nomuken drives; as Taro-san has a very good relationship with Blitz. This year they decided to try their hand with a certain take on Time Attack; in steps the Shaft ER34.
Awhile back, if I recall correctly the day I was leaving Japan, I messaged Kaz to see if he was around the shop; I had 30 or so minutes to spare and was in the neighborhood. Things generally get pretty quiet throughout the summer in the realm of time attack, and I was curious to see if Unlimited Works had anything cooking for this coming season.
Close-Up: A Labor Of Love – Kou Lor’s RE Amemiya FC3S
When I had first decided that I would be attending Final Bout, to be honest, it wasn’t the event that I was actually looking forward to; it was seeing this particular car. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited for the event, but getting to see in person, and more so getting to meet the builder, of what I perceive to be the most well executed FC in the country would become the highlight of my trip.
Encounter: アドバンステクニカル FD3S
As you know by now, Advance builds their shop cars specifically to take on Fuji Circuit. Their FD, which they’ve been developing for some time now, is hands down the shop’s fastest build. It’s able to lap Fuji Speedway in a very respectable 1’56; a lap time most street cars can’t touch.
Encounter: Advance Technical – NSX Meisters
Last month, when I went to Advance, there was a customer’s NSX parked on the street next to Masahiro’s. After taking chatting and taking some pictures of Yagi’s S15, I snapped a few stills of the NSX duo.
Matt, Sekinei, and Yoshi spent the evening of August 6th roaming around Daikoku, taking in the sights as Corolla owners all over Kanagawa, and it’s surrounding areas celebrated 86 Day. Matt shot a few images of this N2 hatch that was in the parking area.
Feature: Tsukuba Revisited – Tomizawa’s Wild Heart
As I sit in front of my gate at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, with the hopes (although very little) of catching an earlier flight back to California, my mind can’t help but wander back towards days that I enjoy more than those of which I spend inside the depths of US airports; which I relate now more or less to that of a colony of bees. Filled to the brim with people going about their every which way, connecting to cities across the expanse of the Earth, each with a unique task to complete (varying in importance). The days on my mind? Those of which are spent in Japan, at the circuits which I’ve grown all too comfortable being at…
Encounter: ERC FD3S – Iida TC2000 Running
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.
Encounter: Shell Engineering 86 – Pit Lane Spotlight
Kiyosu City, in the heart of Nagoya, is home to Shell Engineering; a shop that focuses on the total tuning of both circuit and street cars. Kogai-san, the owner, unveiled his newest project 86 at HKS Premium Day this year. Cloaked in the complete Blitz Aero Speed package, the new body panels are coated in a richly dark blue/black color that, much like the shop, elicits an aura of mystery; a mystery that sets this 86 apart from the rest.
Editorial: Blueprint – Japan’s approach to Emotional Engineering
Kansei Kougaku (感性工学) – a design methodology that serves to elucidate the user’s emotional response into the realm, or sphere so to speak, of a product or commodity. Founded by Hiroshima University Professor Mitsuo Nagamachi, the concept of Kansai Engineering, at surface level, allows us to link an individual’s physical and psychological reaction to the properties and essence of a product. This theory has not only become a well-studied notion that can be applied to an almost endless amount of applications, but has also given us, as inherently unique individuals, an opportunity to view nearly everything man-made with a sincere empathy – whether we are conscious of it or not.
Feature: Deep Grip RE – Tomo’s Circuit-Bred FD
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.
Editorial: Morning Coffee – Friday Kamikaze
I don’t know if it’s the coffee I made, the recent lack of sleep, or what, but I feel like riffing a little today. I’m not a writer. I mean, I can write a […]
Locale: ADVANCE Hello’s and Harajuku Strolls
Awhile ago, I had messaged my friend Masahiro that I was in the area and if he was at the ADVANCE, I would stop by to say hello. Fortunately he was there, and while Sekinei made a quick trip to the DMV, I was able to chat with him and snap some pictures around the shop. There’s always something new going on here, as many of the NSX owner’s (and other car enthusiasts in general) in the Kanagawa area know, ADVANCE is one of the most knowledgeable shops for their chassis. When I arrived, one of the lead techs, Yagihashi, was working on a white NA1 but was able to take a break to chat.
Feature: Nagano’s Battleship – Amemiya’s War Ready S15
No stranger to magazine interiors, Hiroshi Amemiya’s S15 has been the center of attention for many publications throughout the past year or so including Super Street, Hyper Rev, Option2 (twice!). In fact, Enkei […]
Encounter: Super Speed – Seki Motor Sports S13
For a good sixteen years now, the Miyagawa brothers have been designing body panels for a wide variety of cars under the Garage Mak name. Creative to say the least, they are able to envision […]
One Shot: Winter Evenings at Advance
Masahiro-san invited me to stop by Advance the other evening to check out a customer’s NSX that was coming all the way from Shizuoka to get, among other things, a new differential installed. I’ll begin […]
Encounter: Youthful Frenzy – Yoshi’s NojiReal built 86
I first had the pleasure of meeting young Yoshinori-kun at Idlers in 2013 in Motegi (actually we first met at RWB, but that’s beside the point). He had been helping the entire event by […]
One Shot: としたけのシルビア
Toshitake’s S15 in the underground lot of Osanbashi Pier for the Option2 farewell meet.
Feature: The Affinity of Connection
As you may or may not know, I work in the airline industry; and in my position I travel quite frequently. Over the years I’ve come to not only enjoy flight in itself, but […]
Preview: Occupy Yokohama – The Garage Mak Link
The Landmark Tower in Sakuragicho, since it’s completion in July of 1993, has always been a favorite building of mine. The area around the tower has since developed immensely, and it’s turned into quite […]
One Shot: アイエスオートＦＤ３Ｓ
AS Auto is an outfit out of Saitama that sells highly modified sports cars; not unlike their demo car seen here at TC2000. Good style, fast speed.
One Shot: 青木さんのFD3S – Tuning Fest
Most of my attention next week will be geared towards processing my recent shoot with Garage Mak and Baki’s NDF Link car, but I’ll do my best to get some coverage up from the […]
Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 Finale – Attack On Umihotaru
Well, we’ve reached the fifth and final installment of the coverage for this year’s Winter Cafe. I’d like to again thank everyone who came out and I hope you all had a really good time. […]
Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 V.4
We’ll pick up installment 4 of the Winter Cafe coverage by taking a stroll on the lower level of the PA. A lot of cars gathered here after the parking spots inside filled up, […]
Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 V.3
To be honest I’ve completely lost track of any sort of timeline that existed for this event, so continuing coverage of the NDF Winter Cafe Umihotaru takeover, part 3 will be a bunch […]
Event: 2014 NDF Winter Cafe V.2
Continuing coverage of the 2014 Winter Cafe with more shots of the cars on level 3 of the PA. Again, so many cars were coming and going, that it was hard to catch […]
Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 V.1
After I had gotten back home to Yokohama after this year’s Winter Cafe I was nothing short of exhausted. Around 330am, I sat down on the couch with Sekinei and we talked a for a […]