Defining JDM:</br> Battle Evome Tsukuba Attack
Battle Evome Never Disappoints

I’m a bit sad really, because what you are seeing here is the final Battle Evome time attack event of 2015. This year they only organized three rounds, and due to being busy on other assignments this last round was the only one I was able to attend. Still, not all is lost as I once again got to witness just how this scene keeps thundering on with new and improved machines. For me this little slice of ‘the JDM’ is, and will always be, at the very core of all I do and cover out here in Japan.


It’s great seeing this event’s evolution over the years and the way tuning has progressed. Today we are seeing many tuners and privateers dropping tried and trusted Japanese brands in favour of stuff from abroad – think BorgWarner turbos and a string of advanced ECU systems as a small example. Yes, times are changing…


First up though, let me set the mood with a few images of that very cold morning in Tsukuba. I arrived at the crack of dawn, and of course everyone was already there with their cars prepped and ready to go. This last round saw a total of 37 cars entered, which for Battle Evome is pretty big.


Before you guys ask, no, Under Suzuki was not present. Back in December, when he set his fastest lap of 51 seconds, his engine ended up throwing a rod out of the block right at the end of a lap as he was heading towards the start/finish line. And that’s put his car on a prolonged time-out as he builds up a replacement engine. But just to prove his dedication, he showed up at the event just to walk around and chat to people and see what times people were posting. Once his car is back together I’ve decided to shoot it again – which will make it three times – such is the pace of its development. I’m sure everyone wants to get a look at those tunnels in detail…


The previous day at Tsukuba, during another time attack event, the black and blue Work Civic we usually see at Battle Evome had an unfortunate encounter with the barrier on the very last turn. The damage was bad, so it’s pretty much being junked. The shop now has a bit of work to do to prepare a new demo car, but it was still well represented by Work customers who were enjoying their stripped-out and screaming Hondas. Check out the front wing treatments on the silver EK9 and black DC5!


As a further example of how the scene is growing, this is something you would have never have seen years back. Tyre warmers – no matter how crude – were a luxury that only the bigger tuning shops would have, but now more and more privateers are making sure their semi-slick rubber is suitably warmed up prior to hitting the track.


No matter what time attack event you go to, one aspect that always stands out is the variety of cars that show up. Years ago, if you wanted a fast car you would go all-wheel drive, but today many competitors are keeping things simple and sticking with rear-wheel drive and taking full advantage of modern high-grip tyres, and more advanced suspension, diffs and of course aero – if used correctly!


While the wilder sub-60-second cars are always the most interesting to look at, it’s important to note just how many people enter in street cars. The important thing is to have fun and it doesn’t really matter what car you are doing it with.


If you want to achieve the fastest possible times at Tsukuba, starting out in an AWD car like an Evo is a pretty good idea. It’s relatively easy to drive and we all know just how well the 4G63 responds to tuning – albeit directly proportional to the amount of money you’re willing to throw at it.


Like to scare yourself to death? Then the RX-7 is the car for you. Lightness, balance and the potential for big power has always made the FD3S a popular car, even if it is hard to drive at these sort of levels. Now that you can pick one up for spare change it’s one of the most popular platforms to go hunting lap times with.


If the more advanced dynamics of a mid-engined car is your thing, then you can’t go wrong with a Lotus Exige. This particular car has been fettled by the guys at Ti Racing, and it looks like a pretty serious machine.


The owner was making sure his tyres were at the right temperature from the very first lap, which allowed him to shave precious hundredths off until he posted a flat 60-second pass.


This almost sedate-looking FD2 Honda Civic Type R managed a 1’02″930 which is testament to just how fast you can go with a lightweight car at this track. Power, as many wise people have said, isn’t everything…

The RX-7 Is King

It’s not often you see JZA80s at time attack events. We all know just how much potential the 2JZ has for big power figures, but deploying it to the road has always been one of the Supra’s biggest drawbacks. Some of the smarter tuning shops get around that by working progressive traction control solutions into the high-end ECUs a lot of these cars run; limiting boost in low gears and so on. That’s probably why the model is popping back up here and there. Let’s not forget the 800hp Autobahn Soarer – a very similar chassis – that always enters in the Rev Speed Super Battle. The best this particular Supra managed though was a 58″803, which put a big smile on the owner’s face.


Next to the Supra was this CT9A Lancer Evo prepared by Unlimited Works. It’s a fully road-legal car with no cage or a stripped interior, yet is able to run the track in 1-minute flat and then be driven home.


There is something so cool about that, isn’t there?


The Super Battle Evome class is where the big boys chase serious number and this time around the RX-7 truly reined supreme. In fact, out of the 10 fastest times of the day, six were recorded by the iconic Mazda sportscar.


The white Wild Hearts FD, which we have seen countless times over the year, and is still street registered as you can see by the number plate, managed a 59″144 – just a whisker away from a 58-second lap.


This mean-looking TCP Magic kitted Rems Fuel Evo FD3S was the fastest car on the day.


56″991 is a serious time and as you can see it takes some aerodynamic touches to make sure that the car unleashes all of its performance through the corners.


It’s a testament to just how fast this whole amateur time attack scene is getting, and it’s all thanks to the mighty Under Suzuki!


After the top-finishing black FD3S there were three cars in the 57-second bracket – one of them being the yellow Top Fuel RX-7.


This car is an Evome regular and it continues to look wilder and wilder every time I see it as the team experiments with new aero touches.


I’m pretty sure that wing keeps getting taller and taller!


57″654 was its fastest time – just over half a second off the pace.


The Tatsukuro FD may not be the fastest out there with a best time of 58″698, but it’s definitely one of the prettiest.


It’s so clean. I love its mix of aero parts, including that very serious rear wing which could be straight off a race car!

Variety Guaranteed

And then there was this – possibly the loneliest GT-R I’ve ever come across. That’s right, in a discipline where the mighty GT-R once reigned supreme, it was the only Skyline present. It had the potential for a fast time but suffered an unlucky accident on its first fast lap where it ended up hitting – rear-end first – the foam barrier at Turn 1. Luckily the damage was mostly cosmetic.


A truly unexpected showing was this vintage pair of German performance icons – the Cosworth-powered 190E and the car that would have never existed without the mighty Benz – the E30 M3.


While they M3 was a great looking and superbly looked after modern-day classic, this 190E was on another level – which is why I featured it. Make sure you check out the forthcoming story, as you are sure to love this painstakingly-restored beauty!


Battle Evome and similar events like it continue to be the fuel for this great scene, and as long as they exist I will continue to follow and cover them.


It injects momentum and energy into the whole scene, and pushes people to create great things with varied platforms. I love it to bits and I can’t get enough of it, which is why you can expect another story on this event where I’ll be concentrating on the cars that stood out the most to me – this red GC8 being one of them.

Back soon with more!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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sweet... Love the German cars and the red Subaru wide body. Maybe 22B ? Painted red ?


That 190E!!!!


I love Battle Evome. Every season i's getting better and better. I see a lot of great cars there too.

Thank you Dino for sharing this with us. Of course i need to see more BNR34s and a future of the Unlimited Work's Evo!!



I've always been a huge fan of the FD.. magnificent lines :)
Same goes for the last Supra. Just give me a slightly tweaked 2JZ with 500-600HP and i'll be happy. Don't need to go crazy. =)


Battle Evome is a great place to see great cars from grassroot to big companies/ shops. I really like what you have done so far Dino.

I also really look forward to EVO I track car of Motor Racing Clever. I have tried to search for this car features for many years and I am very happy that you finally make it.


Very nice article! I am very happy that you stilll follow the Time Attack scene. It is one of the more interesting race events. Sadly I won't be able to visit one in Person. But I have your articles thank you Dino.


Looking forward to reading about that Merc, when when?


AWESOME ARTICLE!!! Love the rotary coverage. Quick question though was the leg sport rx8 there?


Tell that bloke in the 2nd-to-last pic that his rear aero setup is stolen!

Gianluca FairladyZ

I love Battle Evome.. But Dino, you as an insider. How's it that there aren't a lot of Z33 competing there? We all know the VQ is not the master of desaster.. But with an RB swap it would be a pretty powerful machine. What's your opinion on this?


Dino, you didn't happen to come across these guys did you?

Not sure what day you went but I was pretty happy to see a US team laying down lap times in Japan. 

I find it especially refreshing to see a bunch of RX-7's turning laps reliably while using their rotary engines. If this was in the US maybe one of those would have a rotary still, the rest would be easy-mode V8's. Love the coverage of these events. Can't wait to see that third feature of Under's S15. Thanks Dino!


Gianluca FairladyZ The price on the Z33's are coming down quickly, so that will help make the chassis more popular. I don't think swapping in an RB would be a good answer. Supercharged VQ's are reaching 450+ WHP on relatively low boost while still CARB-approved (emissions legal). 450hp is plenty of power, and a supercharger is cheaper than a swap. The issue is lowering weight and improving cooling to make it more effective of a chassis. Z33's need coolers for everything. 

I wouldn't mind building one myself, good looking cars with plenty of potential.


was suppose to go to cover the 2nd Battle Evome, but yeah... going from Tokyo to Ibaraki via train and having little sleep from partying isn't gonna help much. Oh well, I'll try to go to Tsukuba during my next trip, and maybe rent a car while I'm at it!

Angelo Tengattini

Dino, there is another S15 to feature, position 6 time 58.536, no rollcage, no wide body, no wild aero:


Does anybody know what times would a GT500 and a GT300 make around Tsukuba? For reference basically


good article - wished I lived somewhere that actually had a proper track


@Alpha_RT  Tsuchiya posted a 51'875 in a JGTC  GT500 Autobacs ARTA NSX - this was the official lap record set in 2007 I believe. Under Suzuki did post a  51'127 at the beginning of the year though!


Another great article, I love these Time Attack features, thank you Dino!

I kept reading hoping you would feature the red GC8, such a clean and stock looking car! Can't wait!


@Nico Leone  From the time sheets, it looks like the GC8 is an actual year 2000 WRC car - painted red! It posted the 5th fastest time at 58.260.

The Merc 190E posted a 1'03.007 and the E30 M3 a 1'06.619


Hold the phone. You're talking about the FD3S when you say "now that you can pick one up for spare change?"
Either we have different definitions of spare change, or you're finding them for a lot cheaper than I am.


Gianluca FairladyZ The z33 is nog suited for circuit racing. It's heavy, non turbo and difficult to work on with the stock v6 engine.


BTW the White Unlimitd Works prepared EVO did 1:00 on Dunlop ZII*,not semi slick


ChrisGoding at japan auction this is cheap car..getting to your country legal may be the price problem..


@turbo BEAMS ae86 ChrisGoding 
$10k for an okay-poor condition car seems to be the going rate here in the states.


Amazing! So looking forward to more content!


ChrisGoding They are very cheap in Japan now. Most with engines that are about to say bye bye


shiftyXTI Spotlight coming maybe ;)


SzymonFugiel Where are you from?


Alpha_RT Would be hard to say as it's been about 12-13 years since the Arta NSX was driven there. Probably 47-48? Who knows!


Muzaffar Musa It's worth it!


FunctionFirst I think they were there a few days before


Gianluca FairladyZ Oh Z33/Z34 are very popular track cars in Japan, there's even a Z cup series organized for amateurs but you don't see them much at nobody really goes nuts with tuning on them...


UWerqxTeam_MJ Say what?


jacobherman14 Thanks! And no it was not there


@Louis Haha, this week


Physalisfresser My pleasure :)


Supornsak :)


AdamBezzegh The FD refuses to age


GregoryS More GTRs? Yes please!


GregoryS More GTRs? Yes please!


SelwynLeonard hehe


I love your time attack coverage Dino! Their the one I look forward too most! Just makes me wanna go to Japan and go to Tsukuba.


Awsome post as usual Dino. Speedhunters coverage at its best.
The integra you posted though is a DC2 not a DC5....




speedhunters_dino Alpha_RT Oh, I see, pretty impressive that suzuki can lap so close to what are considered to be the fastest touringcars in the world


Alpha_RT speedhunters_dino He does have a considerable power advantage though - goes to show how much of a difference pro level aerodynamics and slicks make.


190e and gc8 feature?? That made my day lol


Dino, you had me at E30M3 and 190E.  Looking forward to that feature!


That S14 in the second picture is perfect! Please tell me you got more of that one. Keep up the good work, I love articles like these.


Love the BE coverage, thanks Dino. Was the Motobei FC there?


That's a DC2.


did any one possibly find a time for the synergy v8 86 by jun? I can't find it anywhere and wanna compare times!!!


Can we have more pictures of the 190e and E30 please? And maybe a vid thrown in for good measure? some side-by-side imagery? I almost literally can't even looking at JUST their rear ends...

DTM golden era icons!

Gianluca FairladyZ

speedhunters_dino Gianluca FairladyZ  I know what you mean guys. I think the only problem is the engine.. The car has great balance and with the right engine it can be a beast.


Beautiful event, I like the attention of details, and how effectively those teams are working to slice off a second or two off their records...
Good learnings as well for car enthusiasts in general. I like the FD3S RX7 as an overall performance, well balanced toy, but for dimensions reasons I always slot it below the mighty Skyline / Supra battle, however FDs are capable of over 1200 hp from developed 26B rotaries madness, so it's not shy of power by any means..
That 190E is a masterpiece to look at all day long, I wish I had one.
I wish such events had glorious Mitsubishi 3000 GT VR4/GTO, and the Nissan 300zx Z32 Twin Turbo, with some aftermarket attention towards them, I kinda feel that those animals have been neglected where they shouldn't have been.
My two cents


Despite being out of the grip scene (for now), I still love seeing these articles.  It is truly incredibly how drivers are setting the bar higher and higher at Tsukuba using machines that have been around for so long.  I can't wait to see the feature on the GC8 also.  It was featured in Option last year and their choice of engine work has always intrigued me.


ChrisGoding Canada - $20k CDN for LHD
6-18k CDN for JDM cars (varying condition)


Still no Osaka Auto Messe coverage?


Very nice article! I am very happy that you stilll follow the Time Attack scene.
signature: |


apex_DNA Speedhunters I didn't go :)


roryfjohnston THere's a spotlight on the second post here:


Mahfoodh Fearture on the Benz coming up soon ;)


@Niek I've got a feature coming !


ChrisGoding Good late model cars (1999+) with low mileage from auction in Japan do command relatively high prices, around $12,500 US. But earlier ones with higher mileage can be had for as little as $1600 US. They'll have accident repair history and the engine probably needs rebuilding, but if you're going to race it you probably don't care about that too much.

Keep in mind that importing these cars to different parts of the world heaps a whole load of cost on top though. ;)


pretty snazzy cars


ChrisGoding $20k+ in Australia! I believe you could get one for $1k - $3k in Japan fairly easily, especially if you don't need it to be road registered.


Gianluca FairladyZ They tend to shy away from engine swaps in Japan compared to other countries. Even for competition use I haven't seen many with engine swaps.


Unfortunately FDs are not "pocket change" in the US... and unfortunately they're probably on the upswing at this point, so that will probably never happen. One of the prettiest cars ever IMO. I look forward to the story on that red GC!


Can you Dino post final results with these articles? :)