So we have been noticing that a lot of you are requesting to see more grassroots event coverage from Japan, and to tell you the truth this couldn’t make me happier. It is without a doubt the essence of the Japanese tuning scene, where enthusiasts do what they love doing, where new styles and new ideas materialize as everyone keeps a close eye on what everyone else is doing with their cars. So the other day when I finished my morning sessions with Tarzan Yamada and Ito-san from Do-Luck, I decided to stay behind a little while longer…
…and check out the cars that had come out for a play that day. Along with the Fuji Short Course, Honjo is probably the shortest and tightest course I have driven in Japan and because of this one of the most technical too. It takes a very well prepared car to lap quickly here, power isn’t anything if you aren’t able to shave off speed fast and efficiently and carry as much pace as you can through the tight corners. Weight, like for any track, counts against you so it’s not surprising that there are always a lot of Hondas and smaller rides present. This particular EG Civic was blasting around the corners like a go-kart…
…and a quick look at the engine bay showed that the owner has obviously done some nice basic work to get it to perform well, things like a full exhaust system and Top Fuel cold-air intake system.
The Suzuki Swift would probably be a blast to drive around Honjo so it’s not surprising there were a couple present at this particular Soukoukai.
The black CE28Ns are an absolute prefect choice for this weekend track-day weapon, as are the sticky Dunlop Direzza tires. Aside from the Launsport carbon fiber headlight conversion I noticed a very RWB-like riveted-on front lip spoiler and some cut outs for the stock hood. With 136 HP and a close-ration 6-speed manual ‘box the Swift is one of Japan’s best hatchbacks.
Check out this nicely prepped SW20 MR2. With a natural inclination for lift-off oversteer I’m sure it would be a hoot to throw around Honjo!
With Honjo conveniently located half way between Tokyo and Nagano along the Kanetsu expressway it’s not surprising that there were so many cars from Autech Tsukada on the day. Nagano-based ATTKD is one of the most reputable and successful GT-R tuners in Japan, with Tsukada-san even tuning an Australian R35 GT-R that will be entered at this year’s WTAC down in Sydney Australia.
ATTKD had organized a customer track day, so the paddock was filled to the brim with their wild creations. The red BNR32 on the left…
…like most of the other Rs from the group was going at it hard out on track, every lap being an attempt for a bit of time attack which in the case of a big power machine like the GT-R calls for an extremely wide line coming into the last corner, so that you can get hard on the power and pack on as much speed as possible before you have to get hard on the brakes for the first hairpin corner.
And power is something these two BNR32s definitely had, both running fully built engines with larger HKS GT2530 turbochargers.
I love Tsukada’s approach to tuning; he couldn’t possibly care about presentation and all the shiny “bling” that far too many owners concentrate on fitting (yes, I have to admit I am guilty of this too!). It might look rough but it’s all about the performance and ultimately the lap times.
There was only one RX-7 at the soukoukai, but it was just spot on, wearing a multitude of functional aero, some basic boost up tuning and a V-mounted intercooler and radiator set up.
Behind it was this spotless Midnight Purple II BNR34, not entered in the event but its owner having driven down from Nagano to check out a little action.
There was plenty of AWD awesomeness too of course, and along with a couple of GRBs I spotted a pair Evo 5s…
…both pretty tuned, running all the necessary suspension and sticky tire must-haves…
…as well as slightly bigger turbochargers and tough looking stainless steel manifolds.
And the best of the last true Evo, the Tommi Makinen Edition!
I can’t help but show some love to the older Evos too of course, like this Evo II which was all stripped out and blasting around the track from apex to apex throughout the day.
No matter what car or sorts of modifications and style you may be into, there is always plenty to learn and see at events like these. I always enjoy checking out every GT-R I come across, looking at what parts some are running and having a chat with the owners to see what they have done to their engines. It’s pretty much a full on nerd-out, and I love it!
More Impreza love.
With most track days like these requiring drivers to be at the track by 7 am to set up, with sessions starting around 9, it means the majority of people have to trade in some sleep in order to indulge in their passion. Like the owner of this EK9 Type-R shows us, brakes in between sessions are the perfect time for a nap.
More Type-R goodness with this FD2. I was quite impressed at the amount…
…of Swiss-cheesing that had been done on the underside of the FRP hood. I couldn’t figure out if it was to aid cooling or save weight, but if so why only on one side?
Stay tuned for the second installment form Honjo circuit coming up tomorrow. In the mean time scroll down for a quick selection of desktops. Enjoy!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Photo By Dino Dalle Carbonare
Photo By Dino Dalle Carbonare
Photo By Dino Dalle Carbonare
Photo By Dino Dalle Carbonare
I can only guess the swiss cheese holes are on one side to help balance the car. The way the engine is mounted (on almost every FWD car) means it has to be offset to one side. So he cut the holes to help balance that offset. ...or he just hasn't finished the whole thing yet?
More Desktops of the GRBs! I'm dying for a Speehunters style GRB desktop. Keep up the great coverage!
Haha called it on the Swiss-cheesing http://www.speedhunters.com/2012/05/the-peoples-choice-sunnys-240z/
perhaps the swiss cheesing is for weight saving, on the driver side only(perhaps there are other weight saving on that side too)so that the car is balanced with the driver weight?
There aren't many of the older subaru impreza's (pre buggeyed models) here or on this site. are there not many in Japan, or are they just poorly modified.
Perhaps the swiss cheesing is for cooling since the engine is on that side? Anyways, as many other have said, great post Dino, I love every shot, and I also love that the swift is repped. I love seeing how wild some of those can get. Keep up the awesome work!
So Dino, if i show up at Honjyo next Sunday, can i pay an entry fee and hit the track too?? Or are there complex "Must be a member" rules?
i think the simplicity of the car made grassroot events interesting. people spent on significant things when tuning their cars. for example, you can save the money to put on some stickers or cool paint jobs to add on 5hp more to your car. thats what made grassroots event a favorite. its a realistic reality - lol what a vocab. anyway, ive been reading several time attack posts and noticed that most of the dedicated time attack cars had X taped on their headlights. what does that means? is that some sort of time attack ethics? lastly, midnight purple looks sooooooo good! im lovin it!
its drilled just on one side, bcs. he found out, that the weight distribution is not perfect even on both sides.. so he lowered so the weight on one side;)
Those holes on the FD2's hood are speed holes
This is exactly the sort of post that make me want to return to Japan to live this kind of journey and enjoy seeing all those beautiful cars in paddock and in track. Thanks Dino for listening that we wanted to see more grassroots evnts from Japan !!
Dino, buddy, you totally get it. This might be the best form of article on Speedhunters I've ever seen. I'm sitting here reading it, thinking "Coverage of awesome grassroots racing in japan? Could it get better?" then BAM DESKTOPS IN THE SAME ARTICLE! KEEP DOING THIS! And other Speedhunters authors, take note, this is what I think everybody wants, it sure is what I've been waiting for.
I love that little Suzuki Swift :) Great looking small cars, wheels right in the corners, wonder how it drove on track.
Perhaps its swiss cheesed on one side to help weight distribution? Even weight distribution is meant to be just as important as total weight and if that's the reason its an awesome idea.
Any pics under the EVO 2 bonnet? I'm keen for more info on that car.
Doubt it. Air flow is all to do with pressure differences. Putting holes in the skeleton of a bonnet doesn't have any effect on the flow of air (in this context), therefore no cooling benefits.
In most cases you have to be part of a pre-organized track day, organized by tuning shops or car clubs. Best way is to check out the soukoukai/event list in Option magazine and see what's coming up. At times there are also free-sessions which you sign up pay up on the day. More info here: http://www.klk.co.jp/ksl/business.htm
@yanes33537 It's so in case of an accident the headlights/headlights covers are kept together if they break or crack/shatter. I think some tracks actually require that
@kevinfd3s And only 300 ever made
@sscotty Thanks! Don't miss the second part!
@asimo I reckon you're right, the holes are drilled on drivers side to even things up a little.
@danjapan13 Thanks for letting us know this is what you want to see!
@jzx90 MR2? Also stay tuned for part 2 where you will see a rather bad ass Verossa!
@eccramer That's great to hear! Thanks for the constructive feedback, helps heaps in figuring out what you guys want to see:)
it could be or it could also be a b16, or any other LS/Vtec, combo its impossible to tell without being able to read the numbers stamped on the block.
@AlexanderEvensen Like a go kart
@Vilko But it's FRP, would that actually make a difference? And wait distribution of what exactly? As for the Evo no, sorry, bonnet was always shut when I passed by:(
@speedhunters_dino Awesome, that's exactly what i was looking for. I might go check it out next Sunday. Haven't had the Trueno on a track yet. Thanks Dino.
Well considering it's FRP we are talking grams here...surely skipping the previous night's dinner would have yielded the same weight benefit as swiss-cheesing the inside of the bonnet, no? ;)
@Dekro Those are the wheels that the P45R rips off. They look like the Nismo LMGT4's made by Ray's
@speedhunters_dino Every gram counts :)Weight distribution for each corner, left-right and front-back. That's why people use corner scales for high budget track builds.
@CharlesWarren Authenticity only!