No matter how many times I go to Rauh Welt or spend time with Nakai-san I am always impressed and literally left in awe at what he has managed to create. And I am of course not only talking about the cars here. Over the last week I have spent quite a bit of time over at the RWB HQ, there for a project you will need to wait a few more months to find out about but also to shoot some of the preparations that were going on for the 12 hour idlers endurance race that would be held this past weekend at Honda’s Twin Ring Motegi. Seeing this was to be the first time I covered the 12-hour amateur endurance race…
…I thought it would be cool to follow the RWB crew from the last hours of preparation at the shop, and then on to the drive towards Motegi. So I got to the busy workshop at 7 pm where…
…Nakai and a few owners were putting the final touches to the five Porsche race cars that would be participating in the race. Nakai had sent out invitations to all of his international customers, and I was very surprised to see that so many had flown over to participate in the race. But I’ll get to that a little further on in the coverage.
The first leg of the journey was to be a very short drive up the Joban expressway to Moriya PA, a large parking area that Nakai always uses to meet up with his customers before any track event. There were tons of cars there already waiting for us…
…and the ten or so cars in our convoy immediately lined up, adding to the awesome sight!
We waited about half an hour for a few more cars to roll in…
…and so some guys could fill up with some fresh hi-oku! Toshi, the owner of the Rough Rhythm which I featured last year, drove all the way up from Kobe to take part in the event, one of the drivers in Team RWB!
The two “Rough Unity;” the orange car was actually finished on Saturday night and its new owner was driving it for the first time.
It was great to see the Tunerhaus once again, it was once called the Royal Motegobay when it was Nakai’s personal ride.
Nakai-san was driving the idlers demo car which is owned by Seike-san, who also happens to be the organizer of the idlers series as well as the editor of idlers Magazine and 911 Magazine. On the night Nakai-san was on a diet of water and Winston cigarettes!
As ever Nakai-san stickered up the RWB race cars with logos of his favorite websites and brands, so it was cool to check out what he had gone for this year. And it was very humbling to see that most cars were sporting Speedhunters.com on the doors!
Just after midnight we set off in an even more awesome convoy of rumbling Porsches. We would follow the Joban up to Mito and then take some twisty countryside roads to the track.
With empty roads and a very RWB-like pace we arrived at the track in no time…
…and immediately began to set up in pits 25, 26 and 27.
Motegi, which is nestled deep in the Tochigi-ken mountains, was quite cool but extremely humid, not to mention rather foggy which really added to the atmosphere. Race time might be where all the fun is but I always enjoy the few hours before an event of this magnitude as people set up and the excitement slowly escalates.
We might have arrived at the track before 2 am but most of the other pits were already full with the wide mix of other cars that would be racing.
Meanwhile, back at the RWB pit Nakai-san and Gary, who for years has been in charge of ECU tuning at RWB…
…went straight to work prepping the five race cars for the demanding race. Now that’s an in-your-face exhaust!
No matter how similar these RWB cars may be, they are each so individual and most importantly of all, so damn aggressive.
They are some of the most photogenic cars around!
A lot of the preparation of course is also aesthetic as the cars are cleaned up and more stickers applied. Here is Nakai adding a “Rauh Welt” logo to the “Hooters’” rubber lip-spoiler.
I grabbed a few hours of not-so-comfortable sleep in the car before waking up shortly before the 6 am driver’s meeting where all participants were lectured on the proceedings and various rules and regulations of the race.
And then, after so much time and effort spent preparing, it all started. Stay tuned for the second part of the coverage as we take a closer look at the action and the other cars that participated in the idlers 12-hour race.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
It's so weird that there's a "Tampa Bay" RWB car in Japan. That just blows my mind! My wife and I were married outside on the shore of Tampa Bay and we live in Tampa. Mind blown.
Wow, radical! I kept seeing cars popping up on instagram with Speedhunters across the door and I was rather shocked as well!
speedhunters_dino oh...! looks waaay more wider than the others but thats probably just the shadows!!
btw looking forward to the rest of the posts!
Oh man, the wallpaper material on here is brilliant, I hope you'll post some.
Also, any more shots of that white RWB convertible in the 5th image? I've never seen a droptop RWB before.
While spa 24 coverage was great, I love plebeian events like these. No big corporate sponsorships or advertisements, just a group of dedicated enthusiasts, their cars, and 12 hours of glorious track time. Cant wait to see more.
Chris Nuggets tomok Isn't the jury out on this one already? .........It's a lifestyle : one man's meat is another man's poison. The beauty of SH is that it's a petrlolhead community - we all agree that we disagree on certain subjects. :-D
These cars are so dramatic and over the top, I am in love with them. Hell, they could be the slowest cars on track but I have no doubt that they are incredibly fun to drive! I really dig the variety of colors and ideas that RWB uses for the builds and its great to see them keep on coming one after another. Awesome cars, they have to be some of the best looking widebodied cars of all time. Great feature, GO Speedhunters!
As some who who actually races cars i can tell you that It really doesnt matter if the RWB cars are faster or as fast as "real race cars" because the drivers are not " real race car drivers". They are probably not finding the limits of the car on the track anyways so who cares, the owners are happy the car is fast and it looks great. Aint that enough?
whats really cool is that there were a few real race car drivers on the RWB teams this weekend. Moco, the only lady driver, was one of the fastest on the track driving Tunerhaus. It was very impressive to see her drive while I was trying to follow her. Diving in the middle of 2 cars on turns was awesome.
Project? What project? A whole month? Why? Project? Secret project? Secret Speedhunters RWB project? Super ultra secret project about RWB giving all of us a 993? Do we have to wait a whole month? Why are you teasing us with this stuff? Why?! Is this an awesome project? Will this project make us all cry in happiness? Does your statement have to do with the car with the Speedhunters sticker on it? Is the super ultra gigantic secret project about big Speedhunter stickers or RWB? Wouldn't super ultra gigantic omega Speedhunter stickers be awesome? So what exactly is this super ultra gigantic omega superstar project? Am I asking too many questions?
LouisYio Probably too many questions yes. LOL But yes the project will be worth waiting for as its unlike anything that's every been done before. Probably. :)
speedhunters_dino LouisYio I would love to see RWB venture out of their comfort zone they've built around Porsche. I know there is a 996 in the works from RWB, but I think RWB's appeal and aesthetic style can fit other cars from different brands too...
When I save up the resources necessary, I plan on commissioning Nakai-san (directly or through a US distributor) to hopefully agree to put his touches on my Lotus Elige :)
Amazing post here, I would love to get my hands on one just for a lap and see how it handles.
As for you "professionals" down there, chill out its not that big of a deal. Maybe if you got into one, you might be singing a different tune.
Chris Nuggets, you make a very excellent point.
I remember in the fourth hour or so the fastest lap was a 2'27 and one of the RWB cars laid down a 2'30. You have to realize that most of the guys in attendance have never run a single lap of Motegi before. Wouldn't really be too cool if you wrecked one of the RWB cars trying to be a hero in a club race. They were there to have a good time and from the utter chaos it looked like a blast. And the cars sounded oh so awesome!!
Yes exactly this event is for the drivers to have fun and enjoy an endurance race, and being part of a team. They aren't there to destroy the car in order to ring out a fastest lap. All the drivers were actually asked to limit themselves to 5,500 rpm for the first 6 hours of the race, at least. Reliability is the most important factor in these sorts of races.
Howard_C Yah the part when he said RWB doesnt care at all about function and its just all to look cool and have cars that people love. That was exactly right! I love his cars, Im sure the owners are great people. Good so the internet can stop going on about how this is form and function and realize its just cool looking.
@Jason: I didn't really say RWB does not care at all about function, I just simply said that their main intent is not to be on a competition level with a real GT3-spec race car. When people say they are form + function, it is a relative description. The machines Nakai-san builds are not meant to be garage queens, as he's said in several interviews and videos. Whether that means they are beaten on on the Wangan or Shibuya cruisers, or are thrashed around Tsukuba or Motegi Ring like this past weekend, the RWB cars are functional in a different sense than you were talking about. They are, as I said, adaptable to the needs of the owner.
Form is obviously there with RWB cars, we all agree on that (well not all, but most). The functional bit is more referring to the fact that Nakai-san builds these cars to be used and CAN be used! That means owners can drive them daily (I believe a good majority of his customers do in fact do this) OR can be hopped into and driven to the track and string some impressive laptimes together. Sure, they may not be setting laptimes like a GT3 cup (I'm not sure what those can do around Tsukuba), but at idlers games in the past, RWB cars have consistently been in the low 1:00's.
In a previous speedhunter feature, Nakai-san has said his Stella Artois (the original RWB 930) has touched the 0:58's around Tsukuba. http://www.speedhunters.com/2008/09/car_feature_gt_gt_rwb_nakai_porsche_930/
Anything that can break 1:00 is nothing to scoff at in my opinion. They can be very functional. Maybe not as functional as a race car, but very functional in comparison to other types of tuners that lean far more heavily to the hellaflush demon camber style (which Nakai-san actually pioneered as well interestingly enough...maybe that's why people scoff at his recent work).
I remember an article way back when in CARBOY magazine (early '90s?) about Nakai-san and 'oni-kyan.' In the interview, he said he imitated it because the touring car series race cars in Europe looked cool with it. He knew that it would mean poor braking and peculiar handling, but he was determined to keep it, so he stepped up his driving skills so he could drift with it. Included in the article was a bit about his choice of footwear; engineering boots. Not the easiest to drive in, but he couldn't compromise his style in that department either. He and his crew were regular contenders in the CARBOY drift contests, so I guess it proves that they weren't just posers. RWB is all about style, and that includes having the driving skills to go along with the look.
tomok That is some great information that I did not know about! Nakai-san clearly doesn't like to take the easy way, and the challenges only made him better at what he does.
Maybe that is why Nakai-san has an affinity for Porsche 911's...an inherently flawed design made to perform through constant engineering improvements, generation after generation. By striving to perfect the rear engine layout, the 911 has become that much more focused and refined through the years, along with Porsche's engineering capability.
Chris Nuggets Thank you for your coherent arguments and solid points. The only thing I would like to leave people with is a greater understanding of what separates truly functional aerodynamics and what we are talking about here. Its sort of a counter balance to all the attacks on functional aero you see in these same pages. "that looks like crap" commentary and people going on about how RWB is so functional and beautiful. So if people can see it through the eyes you are presenting I feel that is a realistic assessment.
I bet they all went slow too, RWB looks nice but its just for show. No wind tunnel or aerodynamicists involved.
So... is your car faster (and has been in a wind tunnel), or are you just another hater...?! I'd put money on it that you are just another hater.
He's probably some sweet wind tunnel technician come on man! Everyone on Speedhunters know how to build cars better than anyone. Especially the owners of the cars.
haha if you only knew. Too bad I have no interest in throwing weight around on a message board full of OMG its so WIDE, MAD TYTE, HELLA FLUSH types.
Yes my car is faster, yes it has been in a wind tunnel and no I am not a hater. I love his work from a aesthetic perspective I just felt the need to set the record straight about how functional his stuff is. Those cars are all pretty slow compared to the real race cars.
Show me the wind tunnel photos of those cars? Any data whatsoever that they have ever even been tested at all? I am friends with a well known professional aerodynamicist here in Japan and he just snickered when I showed him the RWB cars. They are a joke to those in the know, they just look nice! That is a fact, so get used to it.
@Jason The RWB 993 body work is very similar to Porsche's old GT2 race car. Jason what you are saying is that any grassroots track or race car which has body work mods not developed in a wind tunnel is irrelevant. That's a pretty strong statement.
I think you miss the point of RWB entirely. They don't claim to be race cars. Have you ever talked to or met Nakai-san? I would wager you have not. I have met him when I visited his shop in Chiba, and he is 100% passionate about making cars that inspire people and create friendships, not cars that will ever compete in a LeMans GT3 race or anything like that. RWB cars are statements and pieces of art that are built and tailored to suit each individual customer's needs. Whether some of them are street built or race built or somewhere in between, the point of RWB is to make a personal statement that reflects the owner's personality (and to a degree, Nakai-san's own passion)
You are probably entirely correct that these cars are slower than real race cars. Nakai-san does not have access to fancy racing development resources like a wind tunnel or even CFD software, nor does he really have interest in such things anyway. Who cares? The RWB cars are meant to be adaptable and bring happiness to their owners and the people around them. Unfortunately, they can't make everyone happy, especially those who prefer to scoff and stick their nose in the air because they are not "purist" machines or are not built for the same purposes as you think they should be.
You said you are trying to set the record straight for others out there... I think you are the one who needs to be set straight on what RWB is really about.