Top Picks From The HKS Premium Day
Mitsubishi & The GTO

Boom! There you have it – a Mitsubishi GTO as the leading shot on a Speedhunters post! When was the last time you saw that? I can’t remember if we’ve ever run any GTO-related content on the site, which to be honest is a real pity. That’s exactly what I was thinking when I came across this car at the HKS Premium Day. It wasn’t one of the high profile time attack cars that everyone was drooling over, but rather a regular tuned machine that was entered in the Hyper Challenge under the Pro Shop Fukuoh name.


Truth be told, the GTO never really ranked as one of Japan’s best driver’s cars, but what the big Mitsubishi lacked in poise and feel it more than made up for with character, design and its abundance of electronics.


I’ve always had a soft spot for the GTO; it brings back many memories and somehow – much like the 300ZX – it’s cycling around again. By this I mean it’s gone full loop – it came out, was cool, then was forgotten about, then slowly its design and appeal has come full circle again. Certain cars – much like fashion – have a funny way of doing that, don’t they? This particular car was running a nice set of Advan rims and packing some serious brakes thanks to HKS.


Talking to Fukuoh-san, he explained that the 6G72 had only been treated to a few simple modifications, including a full hard piping kit, an upgraded intercooler and a ECU remap. This has yielded a decent boost in power and torque, allowing for some fun through the tricky Fuji layout.


Yep, the GTO is still a decent looking car. It would be really cool if we saw more people getting into these and coming up with some wild builds. In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for this one and see if its owner has more plans for it…


HKS Premium Day is one of the only few events where I can catch up with the Miyazawa brothers from Garage Mak. In the last few years these guys have really made a name for themselves by building some of the most serious S15 Silvias we’ve ever seen. It’s been a while since I featured one of their demo cars, but every year they seem to have something new to show.


This blue time attack beast is one of their latest creations, and it sports the complete Garage Mak aero kit plus a ton of carbon fiber highlights. The car sits low on a set of Enkei RPF1s and looks ready to hit the track in anger.


Don’t think for a moment think that this car is all about stance. Oh no, this thing is built to set serious lap times and everything that it’s been fitted with – including the rear overfenders – is there because it directly or indirectly adds more performance.


Garage Mak has done a superb job of taking the old school tuner car feel and fusing it together with modern day style to keep things current. Because let’s not forget that the S15 is 16 years old now!


Like the wild supercharged Z33 that they further evolved and entered in the Option magazine time attack session, Garage Mak cars are never short on power. They are what I’ve always referred to as ‘proper’ demo cars – well-rounded builds with no shortcuts taken.


Then of course there is HKS. I couldn’t possibly skip out on showing you Nob’s crazy GT1000+ time attack GT-R – the car that he managed to set a 1’37″773 lap time with right at the end of the day. This car has been evolving over the last couple of years and in its current form runs a BenSopra front bumper and diffuser section which was added before last year’s WTAC in Australia. HKS are continuously making little tweaks and changes, learning along the way and eventually trickling down that knowledge into the parts they manufacture. It’s the way HKS has done things since the very beginning.


Since the last time I saw the GT-R it’s gained carbon fiber doors, Lexan windows and a louvered cover for the rear glass. While most time attack GT-Rs seem to look mostly factory inside, HKS have taken some time to really strip everything out of the R35’s shell. On top of the full rollcage is a lightweight carbon fiber dashboard that looks remarkably similar to the one that Daigo Saito is using in his new Formula D GT-R.


With around 2bar (29.4psi) of boost thrown at it, the 4.1L stroked VR38 is good for 1200hp and an almost ridiculous-sounding 130kg/m (940lb/ft) of torque. To take the gargantuan abuse that the driveline has to endure, HKS produced a limited edition run of a very special gearbox set that features specially coated and thicker cogs, steel gear plates and 8-disc clutch packs that are 300 per cent stronger than stock.


This all allows Taniguchi to pack on the speed at an impressive rate, reaching well over 320km/h down the Fuji main straight. Of course, with great power comes a greater need for braking performance and that’s where Endless came to the rescue with these anchors. Strangely enough, the HKS car wasn’t running the same Endless carbon ceramic discs that the MCR R35 out testing was.


While the car has a complex front bumper design to aid in downforce, you won’t be seeing any other crazy aero additions – the norm with modern day time attack cars. That’s because HKS has always focused heavily on power and performance, and this whole project has stayed faithful to that way of thinking. At the rear however, they’ve cleaned up the airflow by employing a custom diffuser which seals around the center-exit exhaust. If it can do 1’37” with very limited aero, imagine what it would be capable of if it went full Under Suzuki spec!

Prime Up Your Engines Gentleman

I know you guys are going to like this one! After being totally baffled by seeing a time attack tuned C35 Laurel burble along the paddock access road, I had to go to the Prime Garage pit and investigate.


It turns out that strange noise was coming form a pretty heavily tuned SR20 that’s been swapped in in place of the RB20DE this particular car was originally fitted with.


Oh, and the fact that the external wastegate vents to atmosphere via this side-exit screamer pipe makes the car infinitely cool!


The subtle touches that Prime Garage have made really help create a one-of-a-kind C35. There’s a one-off front bumper and splitter, vented front fenders and rear flares to widen up the rear track. A high-mount GT wing and a custom under diffuser helps keep the rear end glued to the ground, which I’m sure is very helpful in a high-power, rear-wheel drive sedan like this.


I love how most of the grandpa-spec interior has been retained, including the fake wood trim on the dash and door cards. It’s a superb match for the rollcage and bucket seat! Seriously, this is one of the freshest builds I’ve seen in a while.


Which brings me to this. Considering that they’ve built most of the 2JZs that have powered Daigo Saito’s drift cars in the past, Esperanza Motor Service are well-versed in the art of extracting big power from Toyota’s legendary straight six engine.


When they aren’t building engines for customers and the best drifter in the world, they are slowly developing this Toyota Chaser, which has been engineered in collaboration with the guys at Sonic Boon. You might actually recall that I spotted this car making some mean 1/4 mile passes at Sendai Hi-Land, back in 2012.


It’s good to see that Esperanza are still very much working on it, but I can’t help but wonder wonder where it will race now that Sendai Hi-Land has closed. I find it really hard to believe that no one has stepped up to build a dedicated drag strip in Japan! It would be the only place that crazy 1000hp-plus beasts like this would have a chance to prove their true potential.


It’s not everyday you see a Chaser fitted with a parachute!


Once warmed up properly these Hoosier drag slicks will generate enough grip for the JZX100 to hook up and lay a decently-fast run. In fact, that time I saw this car run these tyres provided so much grip that something in the driveline let go with an almighty series of painful clunks.

This concludes my coverage from the 2015 HKS Premium Day – the perfect time to give a big thank you to HKS. Thank you for existing, thank you for continuously developing parts to feed our passion, and finally thank you for this awesome event you put on every year! More next year, please!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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I used to own a 3000GT so great to see one on here, I think its only the third I've ever seen on Speedhunters and maybe the only one actually talked about. There was one cameo in a background shot the other day.
Very underrated car with a design that has aged very well in my opinion!


I've always liked the Mitsu GTO, and my favorite example is - hands down - a pearl-white, first-generation VR-4. Something about that black band around the nose contrasting with the white paint, and of course the pop-up headlights.

My brother used to have a 1993 VR-4, and while it was enormously fun to drive, he had to sell it because he's 6'4" and the suspension was giving him back problems.

I used to do all the maintenance for him, so after he helped me replace the driveshafts, steering rack, transfer case, oil pan gasket, all the vacuum lines and the active aero systems, he decided it was Fuck This Shit O'Clock and sold it to some guy in St. Louis.

Oh well. It was a lot of car for $2,800.

The funny thing was, he traded one GTO for another. He used the proceeds from the sale of the VR-4 as a down payment on a 2004 Pontiac GTO.


love it!!!! great job Dino!!!!!


Always admired GTO/3000GT's from afar. Growing up they seemed too daunting to take on as a project but maybe now with more experience under my belt I could tackle one someday!


I always feel like I'm going to enjoy the article when it starts with a picture of that 3 pointed star on  the front bumper or grill... ok, so it wasn't great when it was the announcement that the EVO would not becoming back for XI, but you get the idea... Well written, and love the shots Dino!


Thank you Dino for making my lunch break awesome.


speaking of HKS and GTO...was speedhunters already around by the time HKS USA put out their take on the GTO (1st gen)?  or if not, was the car still around by the time SH is in order to feature it?



I think a feature on Pit Road M's GTO has been long overdue. I know they'll be at Osaka Auto Messe in a couple of weeks. If you're gonna be there maybe the stars have finally aligned & we'll get that feature.


HA! Less than a day ago i post a comment saying that the 3000GT/GTO has been almost forgotten, and then one pop's straight up! 

Great article. I would be good to do an extended spotlight on the 'forgotten' jap cars. 3000GT/GTO's, Eclipse GT's, Starion's, MR-S', SVX's etc...


I've always felt that Speedhunters had little love for the Mitsubishi brand. Even when in at Car Shows they hardly get a full picture, usually falling into the background of other cars. So it's good to see a less popular Mitsi getting the spotlight.


J45ON Mitsubishi Galant VR4 and not to forget the Legnum


So Glad you posted a few pictures of the Garage Mak blue S15! Its an awesome car. I have that and another Garage Mak gray S15 as my wallpaper courtesy of NDF! Thank you for your coverage of HKS Premium Day!


That C35! Love it.


who likes cars pledge this game we need this to happen only for pc and mac its a amazing game please support us if you are interested


Ice Age nice life story


What kind of blue is that on the s15?! Looks mad


@bluecrysis My guess is some variant of Nissan's Bayside Blue. My absolute favorite color.


Brocky_X We love Mitsubishis, it's just that Mitsubishi no longer loves car enthusiasts...


J45ON Cool idea!


@Karbon I shot it for a few magazines long ago. I wonder if they still run that thing?


nugundam93 SH has been around since 2008? When was that GTO build?


AceAndrew2 I aim to please lol


Kirk_B Thanks Kirk!


JacobHerman1 Thanks!


@Nick Ah you mean the one at JUN?


H_Dawg25 Nah it's way too light to be TV2


niZmO_Man Pretty nuts right?


speedhunters_dino Yes that one haha! Glad you wrote an article on it! I'll give it a read right now. This is the photo I was talking about by the way.


I remember read that Laurel on magazine & I was surprised by the engine choice , now I'm even more surprised to see it have kept most of the interior in place ! I wonder how many power/torque that SR produce ? And how heavy that Laurel is ?
Daigo Saito's old 2JZ powered a drag car is ... just right , with all that power .


I'm glad that the VR4/GTO is finally getting a little recognition. Thank you! :) Heres my BPU '91 VR4.


hypodermic Ice Age Thank you.


niZmO_Man A lot of people would look at a Laurel or a Chaser and think "boring and boxy." But I LOVE "boxy." I own a Volvo 850, and I drive the shit out of it.

I never understood why people equate "angular" with "dull." Cars like the Laurel are clean, subtle and well-proportioned, and that time attacker above is pretty much how I'd like to do one.

I'd love to build a JZX100 or a C35 project, but we can't get 'em here in America because of the EPA-DOT Axis of Evil.


Love seeing that GTO up top!  Kudos!


Feature on the s15 and laurel please?!


Oooooooh ! Flip-up license plate !
Convenient ~ :">


speedhunters_dino Well played Dino...


Respect that VR4/GTO (3000GT) up there, I loved that car, and the boy lines still look fresh despite the 25 years of age. The other thing is the 6g72 motor that is quite capable, so there is no need to swap in any 2J/RB/LS1/Rotary engine. To bad that this car didn't have much attention and aftermarket support


Love the GTO....more please, great to see something different. Remember the gold Top Secret single turbo GTO. 1000hp.


bbbradbbbrad Don't think I do actually?


KennedyCao lol


@ayoadrian Nice!


@bluecrysis Laurel is a bit far for me....


bbbradbbbrad Do you mean the Pit Road GTO? Badass if so.


The Laurel makes 640ps, 63.4kgm torque.


@ayoadrian gorgeous!


speedhunters_dino nugundam93 oh.  i think i'm carbon-dating myself by saying that that specific HKS GTO was featured by road and track and motor trend back in '93 iirc.  hahaha.

*facepalm while laughing*


Colouryum bbbradbbbrad 
Oh, I think you're both right. My mistake. Bad ass.


I like Enkei RPF1 , simple design but I'm wonder how they look awesome !


That GTO is  absolute beauty and a hell of a beast


Wow Speedhunters released an article without the words, flush, agressive, rocket bunny, liberty walk or over fender in it!


@Tire HookUp  Wow clearly someone hasn't actually been READING the daily articles. Also, over fenders are mentioned in this section:

"Don’t think for a moment think that this car is all about stance. Oh no, this thing is built to set serious lap times and everything that it’s been fitted with – including the rear overfenders – is there because it directly or indirectly adds more performance."



God I love that GTO. They are a really appealing shape, and definitely a forgotten legend from the 90's.


Woah ! I was expecting 500-hp only !


Are 3000gt's worth making project cars out of? They were definitely the turd 90s golden era Japanese sports cars. But because of that they now interest me. I wonder what theyre capable of and if theyre worth messing with.


Mahfoodh Definitely dont think Id swap a rotary in one unless it was like a 4 rotor. You can always make the other 3 work.


@ayoadrian Nice. I now have an interest in these from their lack of popularity.


Nice seeing the GTO. I dont think the S15 will ever look dated, always a sweet ride. The GTO is the all wheel drive right? I would think the AWD built 3.0 V6 would be something to behold. Still a cool body design. I think the GTO/3000GT looks really cool in person.


@ayoadrian man that look fantastic


JoeyChaves speedhunters_dino good gosh those rims on that gray S15!!!! What are those.


Smiggins The twin turbo version is worthy, but they are hard to find and not cheap.


JacobSmith4 thanks brotha.


Smiggins Yeah thats one of the reasons I bought one (that and cuz it was my favorite car in Grand Turismo 1 back in the day lol).


JacobSmith4 There are plenty of built 3.0Ls out there. You don't see them often because people don't want to deal with some of the things when owning a VR4/GTO. There people here and there (the ones with $$$) who have enlarged the 6G72 engine to a 3.5L stroker. Run 1100awhp all day long. Theres even an option to turn the 6G74 engine to 4.2L stroker. Fully forged. Sky is the limit lol.


Smiggins Just the VR4. Don't even mess with the other sub models lol. Even then its not a car for just anyone.


Smiggins Just the VR4. Don't even mess with the SL and base models lol. With time, patience, mechanical know how, and of course money, they can be very capable cars. Its a car for just anyone, though.


Smiggins Just the VR4. Don't even mess with the SL and base models lol. With
time, patience, mechanical know how, and of course money, they can be
very capable cars. Its NOT a car for just anyone, though.


I am so surprised that there isn't even a Hyper Rev book on the GTO.  The only one I know in Japan that even worked on a GTO is Pit Road M.  But I would like to see a modded one.  The biggest setback was the weight.  It is in R35 territory.  But tuned right I am sure it can move.


ThelamusCeasar Zesty, Kaze, Bozzspeed, Puma and other smaller tuner companies all made race cars out of them. PRM and Zesty still race their cars to this day.


those garage mak S15's... :o


JacobSmith4 GTO paul walker respect


Alfdog Enkei RS05RR 18x11 from memory....


Was an awesome day, myself and a few others I work with were lucky to have been invited over with HKS.
Sure I saw you running around the Pit Lane Dino!


I love my GTO, here is what my engine bay looks like...


What makes you think they were the turd LOL google the race between all of the japanese supercars.. the vr4 gets second. The reason why its a "turd" is because its awd. Its acctually an EXTREMELY popular car in japan and europe.


This car has TONS of aftermarket support. I have 7 twin turbo models


@ayoadrian  I am so curious about the front lip you have underneath there....Is that a universal? I have a 1st Gen VR4 and I want to delete my front Aero and get a lip just like the one you have.