Tokyo Auto Salon has always been one of the best places to get the scoop on what's going on the D1 Grand Prix, and this year there were a few noteworthy D1 cars making their debut at TAS. Of course there were also the very popular D1 drift demo runs held outside, but I'll save that for a separate post. So what kind of new D1 machines could be seen on the floor at Auto Salon?
The Team Orange Evo 9 isn't a new car of course, but it will have a new driver for 2009. Since Kumakubo will be driving the new Evo X this year, he's handed his old car to Speedhunters contributor and 2008 D1 Street Legal Champion Naoto Suenaga. Hopefully Naoto will be able get better results in Kuma's proven machine than in his old two-door GC8 Subaru Impreza.
Naoto's brother Masao has a new sponsor for his RX7, and the car was shown at TAS with its new livery. The new sponsor is Mutiara Motors, a Malaysian importer of Japanese cars and parts. The new colors look pretty good, but I'll miss seeing the trademark RE Amemiya blue car out there. Besides the car seen here with the Amemiya Porsche nose, there was another street-going version that Masao was driving in the D1 exhibition.
One of the most anticipated debuts was Takahiro Ueno's BMW 3 Series Coupe, the car that will be replacing his iconic red Soarer. The car wasn't ready for the D1 demo run, but it was drawing a lot of attention in the T&E booth.
The engine of course is a 3.1L Toyota 2JZGTE. If you are wondering why he went with the Toyota powerplant instead of a BMW one, I'd say the amount of HKS used in the build is a big reason why. HKS supplied the pistons, rods, and the V-Cam kit just to name a few. Oh yeah, they also supplied the T51R turbo. Like a lot of D1 cars, the transmission is a 6 speed Holinger unit.
The exterior is loaded with parts from T&E's Vertice Design series. The bumpers, side skirts, fenders, hood, trunk, doors, and canards are all from T&E. The roof has also been replaced with the carbon version from the M3. I don't think there's a stock body panel left on the car. The suspension pieces on the car are all from CROSS. The wheels are Ray's G2's in 19"x9.5J +20 all around.
I really like the car, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed with the graphics. I was expecting something that fits better with Ueno and T&E's "classy" image. Actually, it would have been cool to see this car in the same red livery as the Soarer. The current design is a bit generic in my opinion. What do you guys think?
Finally, the Ford Mustang that will be driven by 2008 D1 champion Daigo Saito.
The aero parts on the car are from Wisesquare's Behrman GT line. They include the front bumper and splitter, sideskirts, rear bumper and diffuser, the rear spoiler, and wide fenders all around. The engine set-up is still being worked on, but it will include a supercharged 5.0L V8 with nitrous.
Here's a better view of the rear fender design. The wheels on the car at TAS were Prodrives, but according to spec sheet, some blingin' 22's will also be used (for shows maybe?). Also, check out that cool carbon air scoop behind the window.
And the front fender view. Suspension-wise, the car is running Behrman-spec DG-5 coilovers. They still have a ways to go before the car is competition ready (the interior is still stock). Hopefully the finished version will be ready for the start of the D1 season in March.