The Original Speed Hunters
This Is JDM

Stance? Form over function? Yep, this is pretty much the complete opposite. Welcome to our annual look at the Tsukuba Super Battle, an event that has been going on for 25 years, put on by the guys at Rev Speed magazine.

I’ve been going to this track event for half of that time, and it’s always been a reference for everything that is and should be JDM. ‘JDM’, as the Japanese scene has always been popularly referred to, is not about cars dumped on air suspension and sporting sticker-bombed panels – it’s about guys obsessed with performance, who initially started to improve their street cars to make them handle and go, better but somehow ended up turning themselves into hunters of speed. The best example is Under Suzuki, a national hero to those that know he exists. Along with him, Super Battle has always been populated with shops that prioritise performance over style.


That’s why it’s the first event I always put down on my calendar when I plan out my year, and one that couldn’t come quick enough in 2014. But popularity in this scene isn’t quite what it used to be – things change, interests evolve and vary, but just like fashion it just cycles through and there has been a positive vibe over the last few years that these lap time based events are here to stay. Which is good. Very good in fact.


We’ve been seeing newer cars built to enter the event and have a go at setting an impressive lap time, which given the hard financial times that Japanese tuners have had to endure over the last few years is another good thing to be seeing. I was over the moon that Garage G-Force showed up with an all-new entry for this year. Built sporting a ton of aero from Varis the car looked sensational out in the early morning light that slowly warmed up the Tsukuba paddock last Friday.


Nob Taniguchi was called in to steer the silver widebody CT9A around the track, and the best they managed to do on the few sessions the car went out was a 55.528 second lap. That’s a very decent time for a new car.


So many famous and important tuning shops and brands that helped shape Super Battle in its heyday have abandoned participating in the event. I’ve asked these shops (and you all know the names I’m thinking) why that is, and the answer is always the same – they don’t see a use for it now. They don’t get anything from it, a quantifiable bump in sales if you will, but to me that is the wrong way to think about it. This event – as well as any other time attack event held at Tsukuba or Fuji – does so much more for a brand name than just help it shift more bolt-on upgrades. It’s about strengthening an image, instilling the idea into potential customers that if a shop is able to build and create a car that posts impressive numbers at a track, it’s those parts that will help them better their own cars. It’s very sad that these shops don’t get that and that they no longer invest time and money into it as they used to.

One shop that never skips the Super Battle is Original Runduce, showing up this year with their further-improved ZN6 as well as their latest project – a new-gen Impreza STI. With just a few basic mods the Impreza managed 1:03.565, which is a rather good starting point to improve from.


The biggest surprise of all was seeing the back-to-raw-carbon Revolution FD3S hit Tsukuba again. This instantly put a big smile on my face as I always thought this car defined what this event is all about, and that it was a great pity when they announced its retirement. But that’s not happening anymore obviously – everyone’s favourite rotary time attacker is back, now sporting a custom-colored set of RAYS Volk Racing ZE40s and running on Yokohama rubber.


54.808 seconds was the RX-7’s best time – a good second off what it’s achieved here in the past. But more is coming from it, so it’s only going to get quicker…

Getting Ready

Since its release in 2012, the 86 has helped keep this event relevant to the general public. And as ever, the paddock was filled up with the things, some built to compete in the street class running radial tyres, and others – like we will see in the next post – built to see just how much potential really exists within the platform.


Just like Under Suzuki’s car, the Auto Bahn Soarer is a car that I will need to re-feature for you guys. It’s evolved so much since I headed out into the Ibaraki-ken countryside to shoot it in detail, that it’s essentially a completely different car now. It keeps getting faster and is now down to a 58.096 – a whisker away from the 57-second lap its owner and driver has been chasing for all these years. The main reason I love it so much is that it packs beastly power and that it’s always struggling for grip, such is the violent delivery of the 2JZ and massive GCG turbo that powers it. Bad-ass all the way!


Blitz and GReddy are the two big brands that have always supported this event and they were both out at the Super Battle. GReddy had their little Suzuki Swift project and Blitz brought along their brand new VAB Subaru Impreza STI. With Kinoshita taking care of the driving, Blitz managed to smash the 1-minute barrier with a 59.045 lap, which is just amazing considering that this model has only been on sale for a month! I’m sure that 58 and possibly even 57-second laps aren’t all that far away for this machine.


Attendance was visibly low compared on the massive turnout that the event has enjoyed in the past, but remember what I said – it all seems to go in cycles. It’s just really cool to see that there are still a lot of shops out there that are not giving up on time attack. They may cater to tuning customer cars to make a living, but their passion is not so much about making money, but rather achieving lap time goals. That’s why I respect each and every one so much, and I really hope that these words will help bring more tuners up for the next one.


As always it’s a pleasure to see these sort of cars out there too – not the fastest, but representing what the time attack scene is, and should be all about. It doesn’t matter where you place – the point is to build cool cars that are driven by function and the need to perfect a specific chassis to its limit.


The guys from Kuruma Doh came all the way down from Iwate to enter their S2000 into the event. 1.02.447 was its fastest time, which was a superb result for a car running in a street specification and on radial tyres. Oh, and the wheels were spot on too! It makes me want to refit the RE37RTs to my GT-R soon…


Volvo specialist Erst showed up with the most confusing car in the paddock. I thought I was looking at a BTCC car or something, but their V40 is based on a regular street model. It’s fully gutted and sports a pretty serious roll cage, but apart from a few simple additions the engine remains stock. Super Lap Battle was only its second outing at Tsukuba, and the team managed to better their initial time set a few months back running 1:07.441.


It was cool to see Tex Modify back out at Tsukuba and continuing to upgrade their Impreza time attack project they enter in the Street 4WD class. Aside from that curious bonnet scoop that we first saw last year, the engine is pushing out slightly more power thanks to the use of a GCG turbocharger. The fastest time for this GDB was 1:01.561.


Of course, all eyes were on Under Suzuki and his ever-evolving S15 – the current Tsukuba record holder. This was actually the first time I had seen it up close after its latest round of aero and mechanical mods that were made for this year’s World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney, Australia.


The new aerodynamics, developed in collaboration with Andrew Brilliant of AMB Aero Design, are pretty wild and include a redesigned front splitter, front and rear fenders and a rear end which has blown away everyone who has seen it.


These tunnels allow the car to develop serious amounts of downforce, and coupled with more power from the highly-tuned SR20 the potential for serious record-breaking has never been stronger.


Suzuki-san’s S15 was kept company in the paddock by the ASM Yokohama S2000 and the Rasty ZN6.


A few weeks prior, Under Suzuki had already managed to break his old Tsukuba record and with conditions pretty much spot-on for laying down the perfect lap he did it once again at the Super Battle. The new Tsukuba Circuit lap record for a tuned time attack car is now 52.363 seconds. With the cold winter months ahead of him Suzuki-san will be out at Tsukuba time and time again in an attempt to get into the 51-second bracket – which is just silly-fast if we all think back what sort of times the top cars were achieving only a few years back. Under Suzuki is also the reason that a lot of big names are put off by time attack these days. Many say that these are not tuner cars anymore, and while that may be true in some ways, it’s all about the evolution of the scene. Plus, if a privateer can achieve this in a few years of dedication, surely a slightly better funded shop should be able to get closer, or even surpass him? Am I wrong here?

The Best Of The Rest

On the opposite side of the spectrum I spotted this cool track-spec K12 March in the paddock. It may have been running close to 20 seconds behind Suzuki-san’s time, but it’s still a fun car to throw around. I love the mismatched RAYS wheels and the tiny red brake calipers too!


It’s sad to see that Pan Speed have retired their FD3S Open Class car (for now at least), but they are still chasing time with their street-tuned car which runs in the 58-second zone.


Another car in the 58-second bracket is the ATTKD and Just Jap R35 GT-R – the only san-go at the event. Again, it’s pretty sad to see that companies like Mine’s and Top Secret aren’t interested to show what their cars are able to do against other tuner cars. I’m really hoping this is going to change, but in the meantime a big thumbs up to Tsukada-san for keeping the time attack flame alive and burning!


Imports were a little down compared to other years but there was still some cool cars around the paddock and out on track. One of them was the Cockpit Tatebayashi BMW E46 which was looking positively mean. It sounded great too, and managed a best time of 1:01.822


Leg Sport are continually working on making their RX-8 that little bit faster, and it took home a best lap of 1:03.366 this year – a result that emphasises how power is not necessarily a must to get decent times at this tight and challenging track.


Of course, the 86 proved this too. Be it naturally aspirated, turbocharged or supercharged, there is so much you can do and achieve with these cars.


One car that really surprised me this year was the new and improved D Language Swift. I didn’t take much notice of it – until it hit the track that is. All I heard was heavily turbocharged fury coming towards me and machine-gun gear changes achieved through the obvious use of a sequential transmission. Check out the exhaust exiting front the front bumper!


The car posted a 59.446 second lap time. A Swift – under a minute. Absolutely crazy! I’ve got a spotlight on this car coming up in the second part of my Super Battle coverage.


And again from D Language was this ZN6. It was blisteringly quick running a best time of 57.939 seconds – one of only a few 86s in this bracket.


The Racing Project Bandoh 86 is another big ZN6-based time attack project, and one that is looking far more complete than the last few times we’ve seen it. With Max Orido at the wheel it managed a best time of 57.725 seconds, which makes it the fastest 86 around. Since I’m sure you’ll want to see more of this one too, I’ll add it into the spotlights post as well… That’s all from Tsukuba for now but check back soon for more!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino

Time Attack related coverage on Speedhunters
Other Tsukuba related posts on Speedhunters



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It really bothers me that the japanese market is largely becoming a car culture that's heavily diluted by usdm style.. I thought they would forever be something unique out there on the islands that are Japan haha.
This sort of event reminds me that some of that oldschool flair is still alive, and at least Blitz and Greddy are still out there despite the others deeming it not worth their time.


more of that wrx pls


great coverage Dino! Just noticed how much junk the new STIs have on their nose... still like them, but that Volvo wagon...


Great coverage Dino! I love that the Revolution FD is back! Great to see the ASM Yokohama S2K and Rasty 86 out there too! Any chance on a Rasty 86 feature? also I agree with you on this article. It's sad to see the big names not there. Glad to Blitz and Greddy/Trust Powers still there.


I'm surprised there was only one R35 at the event! So is the car just sponsored by Sydney based Just Jap or was it shipped over for the event from Australia?


@researchisyourfriend It won't die, it all works in cycles.


@Ruben Thanks!


KRaZyAmmo Yep I'll feature every single damn car hahaha Has to be done :)


BT180 Sponsor I believe and yep, the only one. The only other GT-R was an R32 from Admix


go rotary!!!!!!! also go blitz its great to see another Tsukuba battle i can honestly say besides fuji this is my favorite track the smallness of it and it aggressive small straights really makes it incredibly competitive thus why ae86 n2 races are held there. Awesome job dino keep it up bro!!!

P.s. if you get the time please feature the leg sport rx8 it looks awesome


Top work Dino, always up for some Time Attack coverage.
Really keen for Battle Evome to kick in again.


emotional_r Yep, can't wait for that myself. Will stock up on hokkairo for that lol


jacobherman14 Yes it's one of the best event, period! Noted on the RX8!


Right on! This is the second best Subaru post this year. Dino Sir, your camera lens is an inspiration to all of us who cant come up with the last two parts to finish our builds: Time and Money.


This title fits so perfectly because this is the shit I originally come to speedhunters for in all honestly those few years ago. Its crazy how things evolve over short periods of time but also things tend to also carry on and never stop. Like how Dino makes me feel I should move to Japan with almost all his posts, haha. Having said that I hope this post does get the attention of those shops that WE NEED to come out and participate, seeing the turn out makes me jealous because id love to see this kind of thing in person without a whole bunch of craziness happening in the background like a formula D event or something like that. Great post Dino! Thank you


I've never heard of GCG before, are they a japanese relatively unkown elsewhere or have I been living under a rock?


clevernamehere GCG are Australian, they supply Garret and Borg Warner turbos in Japan


@__dzd__ Thanks for the kind words, and yes I too hope those shops come back, as they are just proving they aren't confident about building fast cars any more! BTW nobody comes to watch the Super Battle, it's all about setting the times and making the story for Rev Speed. I think it has potential to become a bigger event, but the Japanese aren't too interested in cars any more...


@KINGSPADE haha thanks! :)


Great to see the Garage Revolution FD3S back again. It's these hero cars that really win the crowds over!


speedhunters_dino KRaZyAmmo Do it! This and Battle Evome are the type of events I want to go to see in person. I also hope those shops come back to build faster cars, I want to see how capable they are in getting faster lap times.


The headline just sent chills up my spine.
"The Original Speed Hunters".
That's a good title for a prequel trilogy.


That just jap R35 is just looking mean as hell.


The last two ZN6 are looking awesome! But the Soarer from AutoBahn, man that's ugly! As a owner of two Soarer's I want to ask the owner to, pleaseeee, work on that aspect too :))) Soarer's are awesome cars and they can look pretty good even if form is preferred over function at Super Battle.

Gianluca FairladyZ

Great coverage! In one way i understand the other big tuners as well. Under Suzuki's car is from another planet, and that guy sure has the right budget and engineers to take it to this level. And he's a privateer..Which means to me he is living his passion.. Other tuning companies do this as their daily job, they do this to survive every month. Imagine you spend 300-400k for a demo car which does not compete in any form of championship (besides Global Time attack) or anything comparable. So you have a masterpiece of engineering, a true legend, and all you get is the respect! It sounds crazy, but nowadays you can't live only of the respect... Well, take the Lexus LFA for expample, maybe the greatest japanese car ever produced. Every car Lexus sold, they lost money on it, but it's Lexus.. They can get away with this. For me personaly it would be great to just see Mine's and MCR competing, as a true child of Best Motoring these were my heroes!

But going out from the Lap Time, it's like a JGTC car or even faster? I can't remember but didn't Tsuchiya-san with the Arta NSX set a similiar laptime around there?


Feature on the silver Garage G-Force EVO please!


You need to come out to world time attack Australia bro. We got time attack and formula D asia, Historic cars like gt40, ae86, goup A supra, and 767B mazda over 3 days.


I remeber when 58 seconds around this track was considered really something. Now people are running 6 seconds faster. This is a small track so that's a huge amount of time. 

Personally I've never been a huge fan of Tsukuba as a track, not really enough corners for my taste. Being fast here with the level of racing going on now is definitely nothing to look down on though. Really cool to see how far it's come.


Thanks, again for posting time attac, i think this is the next big sport in racing.
It has started growing in Sweden and Norway, not only on Gatebil, but in single events. 
Last year i belive it was 200 cars on Time attac on Mantorp Park.


We need more kei cars in this event! haha


k....2 things. 1-Under suzuki car is too slow it didnt make me puke when i looked at it =P 2-someone tell nissan THATS what the front end of a GTR SHOULD look like TY.


Awesome work as always Dino 

Any info on what the ASM S2000 or Arvou S2000 (I saw it hiding behind the Kuruma Doh S2k) clocked? I remember the Arvou car was close to breaking the 1 minute barrier with the new AD08 when you posted about them back in 2013. 

Anyways keep up the great work!



That's what we love.


that carbon FD  =O


More time attack coverage the better. It's starting to feel like time attack is kinda bouncing back here in the US after the debacle that was Redline Time Attack in 2011. Though the big-name tuner houses in the US aren't in the mix as much either, there's an increasing amount of grassroots support and with the addition of an East and West GTA series it should become even more popular.

Great post as always Dino, I too look forward to this event as well. Have plans on attending more Battle Evome events later in the year?


I agree with the aforementioned. There seems to be a multitude of micro-tuners that are doing impressive work in terms of certain chassis development in the time attack community. Hopefully, Dino and SH will continue to give subscribers insight into them in the future. Keep up the good work!


Hooray for rotaries!
These are the first RX's I've seen on the site for a while but I'm stoked to see them. Now if you could just feature a good quality street RX7 or two I could finish the year happy... ;)


Here's a vid of the Kurumadoh S2k at the event:


The very first picture of the RX7 -  Feature that


That v40 though


I got all excited by the title thinking that maybe there had been a Speedhunters Team decision to go back to the old days where there were pages and pages of photos from shows such as Wekfest, Worthersee and Sema, now days we just get "my favourites from each",.. usually the sponsors cars.. the quality of the photos turned out by Speedhunters is by far the best, but it is no longer leading in quantity and variation per coverage. (I'm talking car meets etc) Makes me sad as I rep the Speedhunters hoodies, stickers etc every weekend.  I hang out all year for Sema Coverage, Living in New Zealand it is far too far for me to go, What did you turn out compared to Stancenation... I look at this site every single day and have done since 2009. Don't forget your roots please :(


Sorry Dino, this possibly was not the right place to say, This is amazing coverage of this event. it just reminded me of the others.


@JustHowIFeel You made me cry there for a second, after all the time I put into this haha.  Spotlights are coming and I we have no sponsors at the Super Lap


JustinOdijk Weird yet wonderful right?


Pedro Gonz Fujita?


Brett Allen Not to worry, some on the way ;) They are getting rarer aren't they! :(


FunctionFirst Yes I'll be hitting one in Jan and one in Feb :)


Max_Ryde :)


S2k Tim Oh yeah the Arvou S200 is a monster, down to 57 sec this time. I'm featuring it so stay tuned!  I'm gonna pump a lot of time attack goodness into SH this season ;)


@MyLifeAsLouis There was a new Copen haha


Ealoken Really, that's crazy! And there I was thinking that all Nordic countries had to offer was Gatebil lol


@Chris Yes it's beyond impressive.  Not enough corners? You sure?


Brian Ang Oh yes, yes I will!


Gianluca FairladyZ The ARTA NSX did a 51.875


greenroadster Aero dictates the looks I guess


UWerqxTeam_MJ haha thx


Floz They sure do. Hope they drop a 3-rotor in there, they need more power to make it faster, everything else is in place


Doomas I've been 3 times ;)


speedhunters_dino See, that's why I love this site. I ask, you agree to deliver (not that it's just for me of course)


Auto Bahn Soarer!!!! Please have a post on it soon please!!!!!


Wish we could get a little video coverage :(


@meowta Rev Speed had video cameras there so I'm sure something will be released soon


izzy_ortiz :)


Brett Allen speedhunters_dino Glad to be of service, just keep in mind there is a rather long list in front of it that needs to be shot too haha


speedhunters_dino  This IT analyst Job is killin' me, maybe its just envy.. your have the best job ever. Sorry buddy.


Does anyone have the numbers on where Under Suzuki's car is at right now with regards to weight and power? Last stats I can find are 800hp in February 2013 and nothing for weight. Thanks.


@JustHowIFeel speedhunters_dino haha no worries, it's a good job I certainly can't complain


speedhunters_dino Pedro Gonz Yes please!!


As others have said, time attack is what really took my love of Japanese cars to the next level. Love these posts. Of course the fd, Evo, s2000 and under are awesome cars and they inspire me but having gone from a Wrx that had a more functional setup to a GE8 Honda Fit for my 70 mile round trip commute and daddy duties, the Suzuki Swift going 59.4 is super inspirational. Can't wait for this feature. All the little details please! Tire and wheel sizes, suspension mods, weight reduction and aero, would love to know how it went sub60! Thanks again Dino!


hechtspeed You got it!


emotional_r I think it's a bit up on power but no idea on weight


speedhunters_dino Cool, thanks.


Exactly espacially in japan or is volvo vommon there?


there is simply too much awesomeness in japan.


Am I the only one who's smiling at the GT-R picture? There's this big decal on the side that says ""... yet on the front corner I also see a Hankook sticker... :-)


speedhunters_dino FunctionFirst What event are you hitting stateside in Jan and February Dino?


More of the Fujita Engineering FD!