If there was ever a Game Changer in the Japanese tuning world, the HKS CT230R would have to be one of the most important. Mike featured the car back in 2009, so I won’t go into detail of what makes this all-carbon Evo so special, but let me refresh you on just what an epic and successful project this turned out to be for HKS. The CT230R continues to be the fastest tuner car to have lapped Tsukuba, setting – thanks to Nobuteru Taniguchi’s amazing driving skills – a 53″589.
This was back in 2007, a few months after I took the above picture in the special projects workshop at HKS HQ. This record remains the time every tuning shop that participates in the Tsukuba Super Battle is shooting for. The closest so far was Revolution in December 2010 with their FD3S, setting a very close 53″673. The HKS Evo did the rounds at all major circuits in Japan, setting lap records wherever it was driven. It even set a track record at Buttonwillow in 2007 when it was brought over to go up against the best the US had to offer. Since then the 1’43″523 it managed has been broken by the FXMD NSX but its main objective had been set. The CT230R is now retired, and maybe only if its record at Tsukuba is broken will HKS consider bringing it back for another attempt.
Some out there initially criticized the crazy budget that HKS poured into the project, blurring the fine line between tuner car and straight out race car. Still, the record has been set and it has remained unbeaten for almost five years even by cars that have now been built in pretty much the same extreme way. For the time being the HKS Evo remains one of the biggest Game Changers we have seen in Japan.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare