The Battle Evome
The Real Speedhunters Are Back

If you’re anything like me, you live for this stuff. You appreciate whatever else goes on in other areas of Japanese car culture, but this, right here, is what Japan is all about. It’s these guys that define what I am passionate about; guys with their cars out at a track attempting to perfect their setup and driving for that ultimate goal of improving their lap times. This is what Battle Evome has been about since back in the day.

It started as a small group of friends inviting along others to join them at the track, and nothing has really changed since those early years. Battle Evome is still the most undiluted and purest form of amateur time attacking that I’ve witnessed in Japan.


And of course it all happens here – Tsukuba Circuit. For 2016 there have only been two sessions; the first held last month during the Tokyo Auto Salon weekend (talk about bad timing!), and the second held this past Saturday. There was no way in hell I was going to miss it, even if a forecasted 20°C temperature meant that no one was going be setting a crazy new record. I needed a fix; another fix of time attacking before the season comes to an end.


As always, the event was short; a two-hour slot between 9:00am and 11:00am in what is a busy day of track events. But despite this, the cars that turned up were impressive and at times inspiring.


What you may not be aware of though, is that all the guys competing are amateurs; they have all built up their cars either by themselves or with the help of their tuners. They’ve honed them and developed them, and turned them into the vehicles you will see in this post. This is a real and accurate representation of the Japanese grip scene; the epitome of grassroots racing against the clock. As this JZA80 perfectly demonstrates, aside from power, suspension, weight savings and other areas that the cars are tweaked in, it’s aero that continues to be the big area of interest. And as you can see above, some of the solutions can be quite wild. Just look at that side skirt setup and the rear extractors.


I’ve heard people say that selecting a good base car is half of the job, and the RX-7 certainly ticks all the right boxes when it comes to that. It’s light and can be made much lighter, its motor can be tuned up to whatever power you need, and the chassis can be made to stick thanks to the vast choice of aero on the market.


I’ve also heard people say that the base car doesn’t matter, and that it’s what you do with it that counts. And that makes sense too, as it basically comes down to how much investment you are prepared to put into a project that dictates its outcome. These two ‘TFR with Ad Hoc Works’ FDs running similar livery (and by that I mean the red bonnet) weren’t doing too badly for themselves. The car you see above recorded a 57″558 lap, while the other with the slightly more conservative wing posted a 1’01″624.


When it comes to rotaries at Battle Evome however, the Auto Sonic FC is still a force to be reckoned with. This car constantly laps in the 56-second bracket, and its best time on the day was a 56″508.


Does this RX-8 look familiar? Maybe this will jog your memory! I guess the guys at Revolution are either fed up with the whole time attack thing – as they’ve sold this car and are still trying to shift their FD project – or are working on something new and crazy. I really hope the latter is true, because we need them to keep building cool cars like this 3-rotor-powered beast. It might not be the fastest car out there; its new owner posting a 59″937 lap,  but the way it’s been built and developed, not to mention the way it sounds, made it one of the day’s highlights for sure.


It’s always surprising how many new cars show up to this event. This year it was the SK Feed E86 BMW Z4 that instantly plastered a ‘WTF’ expression across my face. I love it when people do different stuff and think outside the box, and this thing was looking pretty mean with all its custom aero.


The best time it put down was a 1’00″019, which is only a whisker away from breaking the 59-second barrier. This BMW will definitely be one to watch, and potentially a good candidate for a full feature if you guys are interested in seeing more?

More GT-Rs please!

What’s a little sad however, is the fact that we don’t get to see more GT-Rs. Maybe it’s because R32 and R34 values are on a steady rise? I don’t know the reason why, but I do know there are a ton of awesome time attack beasts out there. This time around there were only two BNR32s at Battle Evome; this very clean gunmetal car on WedsSport wheels that managed a 1-minute-flat lap…


And this one, which ran 1’01”.


There’s one thing that almost all of these time attack GT-Rs have in common though, and that’s a big single turbo. Despite the fact that most are street registered, the way engine tuning is evolving it’s now a lot easier to run more extreme setups on the road. It’s certainly making me think more about the direction I should be moving towards with Project GT-R. And yes, in case you are wondering, I’m still working on my BNR34, it’s just all evolving into something bigger than I could ever have imagined. I’ll have something to share on that soon!


Variety is really what makes any day at the track in Japan so much fun, and if you are into Hondas, last Saturday was a good day to be at Tsukuba. There were so many good examples to see, starting with this EG6 Civic SiR which recorded a best lap time of 1’05″109.


Two seconds faster at 1’02″328 was this black DC2 Integra Type R, illustrating beautifully what self-developed aero looks like. Does it all make a difference I hear you say? Well, some of it probably does, some of maybe not so much, if I recall what a famous aerodynamicist once told me. The cool thing is that people are trying out this stuff and learning from it.


As far as this car is concerned, it certainly looked like the aero was doing something judging by the speed being held through the final bend.


This DC2 took a slightly different approach; the aero is there but is less pronounced, but you never know what’s happening underneath these cars, right? It was slightly faster than the black Integra posting a 1’02″085.


The great thing about watching a grassroots event like this unfold before your eyes is having a first-hand look at the involvement of each driver/owner. If something isn’t right or goes wrong, they know exactly where to look and what to do; it’s obvious that they know their cars inside out.


They’ve developed them alone or along with their tuner over the years, and because of this it’s all so much more special from their perspective. It’s as if it just gives so much meaning to it all, if that makes any sense?

Grassroots Grip At Its Best

Along with a couple of BMWs, this was the only other foreign entrant on the day – a nicely set up 996 GT3 that sounded pretty special when out on track with its RPM needle right on the redline before every shift. 1’03″132 was the Porsche’s fastest lap, which is pretty impressive considering it was running Dunlop radials and not semi-slicks like most cars were.


Unlimited Works had quite a few customer cars show up, and if you’ve heard the name before (think Cyber Evo), then you’ll know that their area of specialization is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.


They certainly know how to build up a well-performing 4G63, and are one of only a few shops in Japan that are experimenting with foreign-made parts; stepping away from Japanese-made products which have been lacking in innovation over the last few years.


The engine in this CP9A has a ton of performance, well over 500hp worth, which allowed it to post the third fastest time on the day, a 57″014. That’s not far off a 56-second lap!


White always seems to be a popular color for track cars like Evos, but there are others out there that want to stand out from the crowd. Bright pink has that effect!


You guys remember the blue Garage Kagotani FD I shot a while back? Well, this is the owner’s other car, probably one of the cleanest and nicest FDs present at the event. This is actually a street-oriented project, so it’s not as crazy as his blue one, and certainly not as extreme as another RX-7 he’s currently building will be. A 59-second lap at Tsukuba is all you need to know to judge a car properly, which means this thing will annihilate most supercars on the street with ease.


How many interpretations of these things can there possibly be?! It’s really hard not to fall for each one… Mazda, get a move on and bring us back goodness like this once again!


This FD2 Honda Civic Mugen RR wasn’t entered in the event; rather I found it sitting parked up along the access road that leads you the grandstands at Tsukuba. Aside from its rarity, I thought it was so cool and a little ironic that it was sitting on Spoon Sports wheels!


You have to love the look though. It makes me wonder when Mugen will be releasing that wide-body Civic Type-R we saw at Tokyo Auto Salon last month. It’s been way too long since they’ve come up with something as cool as this ultra limited edition machine.


I’ll close my main Battle Evome coverage here, but this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seeing more grassroots time attack cars. The main purpose of my visit to Tsukuba for this event was to hunt out lots of cars to spotlight and a couple to feature. And believe me, you’re going to love what I’ve got coming!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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We have plenty of R32s here in NZ and most of them are nothing to get excited about, but I always drool over the R32 GTR. They just look, sound brutal!


Talking of prices of GT-R's rising, Evo prices here in the UK are getting crazy


I never tire of your time attack coverage Dino (especially when you slip in some Euro stuff, more please)!


How much is the GTR nowadays and how much would it increase in the next few years? I'm trying to start saving up for one but with the looks of things this would cost as much as a brand new beemer :/


I think that Mugen RR's wheels are definitely my favorite sets of everything I've seen. They just look so good.


Paolo Siega

For starters prices go up every month, thats something that i have learned from following global auto's stock and other traders for years. Second a GTR isn't a BMW so the question of how much a GTR cost is way too non specific to answer! What model the you want (32,33,34), what grade (R-3.5-4,0-4.5), Spec (Stock, LM, V-spec, Nur, Nismo), Do you want a stock one, mild tune or full tune? Finally if you see a good example at a dealer that does export, don't try to haggle the price. They won't budge especially if its a tuned example.  

But here is a rough range of price, from the most basic one per model to the most expensive full tune or rare spec per model. And yes you could probably get them cheaper than the price that i'm going to post but exceptions and beaters are not what you should be looking at when buying a GTR. Keep in mind every GTR's worth will roughly double once it reaches 25 years of age because then it can be exported to the US.


BNR32 (1.200.000 Yen to 7.000.000 Yen )
BCNR33 (1.100.000 Yen to 11.000.000) Yes higher max than 32 because of the 400R.
BNR34 (2.700.000 Yen to 12.000.000) Yes low mileage Nur's or M-spec's actually fetch that much.

Full Tune medium price's

BNR32 (3.200.000 to 6.000.000) Six mill gets you a full tune that has been totally restored, Garaged defend started doing that recently. 
BCNR33 (3.000.000 to 4.000.000) 
BNR34 (4.500.000 to 7.500.000) Could also be much higher if some one tuned a Nur or even a V-specII.


More Evome!

Gianluca FairladyZ

Cool! Impressive lap of the RX8! Is it running an NA setup with triple rotor? or still the 13B?


Does anyone have info on the RX-7 in the main picture which is behind the supra??


Ayo Deano, please ask the owner of that Revolution RX8 if he wants to sell me his Craft Square wing Mirrors please. Craft Square no longer make them and I've been trying to grab hold of a set for my Rex for about a year now to no avail!
Know of any way I can get a hold of a pair?


naveedgt may possibly in one of the features that will be coming later.


Man that RX7 in the opening shot is perfection


Why couldn't anyone set a record time at 20 degrees Celsius? Was it too warm?


Awesome coverage and words, Dino. I know it lacks the diversity of this event but any planned coverage of N2 events at Tsukuba? Watching footage of them is always pretty white-knuckle/butt-clenching haha


I love the revolution rx8. But I miss the old all carbon fiber spoiler .


JosephMcKinney Conditions need to be perfect. Wind in the right places could help, track being too hot or cold in certain corners plays a part, as well as humidity. I'm no engineer, but these are factors I would assume affect overall times.


STJ88 Paolo Siega Just random complaining on my part, but if you went through all of that research, might as well convert yen to us dollar seeing as most here probably dont know the conversions. Great Info anyways :)


Not really research just out of the top of my head. And i'm not American like allot of Speedhunters readers. So if i had converted it, then it would have been to Euro's.


gtr prices are going up because the US is now in the market, and r34's can now be imported to canada.  Sucks bad, I wanted to get a r32 but for a gtr its 25000 to 30000 us dollars. ill stick to my s13 with the rb26dett conversion.


All prices are going up, and BCNR33 and BNR34 prices are going because of the nature of the Japanese market and the fact that good GTR's are becoming rare. It has nothing to do with the Canadian market. Most top spec cars are sold locally or to the UK.


More of that Z4 please. Basically no supercar (and I'm German U0001f609). Would like to know why they ran a roadster instead of a coupe. Great coverage Dino!


mayorquimby What youll see eventually is every 90s Japanese sports car price skyrocket because the Japanese no longer make sports cars.


Paolo Siega Its sort of amusing people thought GTRs were going to be bargain cars or something.

Supply and demand.

It actually makes more sense that a R32, 33, 34 would cost more than a new beemer.


tokuku  I wouldnt be surprised if prices go up in New Zealand and everywhere else in the world.
Only when every country can have them will we see the real price.


Just a couple things you might want to edit: The R32 is on ZE40's, not Weds.

and the Mugen RR is on Regamaster MP's, not Spoon SW388's. SW388's weren't made in 17 inch sizes, but Desmond obviously made those Spoon wheels.


ForzaLiveryGuy Speedhunters ForzaMotorsport Imo, if any track were to come back, forget fujimi, I want this!


Yay! A Supra! hah :)
Good to see aero experimentations around. I think for Grassroots, trial and error is the way really, see what works. Don't be discouraged not having expensive testing equipment.
We can see importance of making it efficient too, bigger isn't always better. Need the power to push through the extra down-force too. Another balancing/compromise act added to tuning.
I find it exciting :)


Do they only have 2 hours to get in the pits, set up the car and make a run? Really curious how this whole event is run if anybody knows.


What were the fastest laps?


Jagdroach it goed in 3 days
1 - setup day
2 - practice and qualification
3 - race and aword


So much awesomeness!! Thanks Dino. Hope to see more coverage of those GTRs, Evos, and that Yellow RX7. 59sec and it looks sooo clean :0


I was too hoping to see at least one FD2 Civic type R to compete in the time attack


STJ88 Paolo Siega I'm just looking for a bone stock 34. It could even be from the junkyard and I'll just rebuild it
thank you for the pricing! although the prices will go up in time, at least I have an amount to think of,
honest opinion tho: is it really worth it to save up for a 25 yr old car? or should I just keep it a dream car?


dono wat 2 say


sad mugen sr civic couldnt entr


butterswrx yes I'm sure. Look up Volk ZE40 Diamond Dark Gunmetal. Notice the writing near the lug nuts?


Speedhunters #thanks for sharing about grassroots, have a great Wednesday :)


Smiggins tokuku They have gone up everywhere


LukeEVOVIII The best cars of the golden era :)


ErikWilson Check out the spotlights...and feature cars coming


Gianluca FairladyZ triple rotor na


caledoniacation naveedgt Not a car I featured but a really sweet one


Joeguard1990 I have about 4 sets all boxed up :) The name is Dino BTW


JosephMcKinney The fastest times are always set around freezing, or just a bit under, with sunny skies so the track surface warms up just enough


colinbrunt No plan for now, they are cool but not sure if anyone would even have a look at the coverage


Smiggins mayorquimby Sad isn't it


Jagdroach Most people rock up when it's still dark so between 5-6, set up, driver's meeting about 8 and then 9 it starts. By 12 almost all have gone


JoeOlSoulR Times are worked into the story but check the battle evome site if you aren't a fan of reading ;)


Speedhunters Another great feature! #TimeAttack


That's a shame. The FD isn't a very unique time attack car it seems. Good work as always though Dino.


PLEASE feature the Z4 and e30 m3!!!


caleb potter One of those is already in the works:)


S_Fleet Speedhunters Thanks man


yesssss this why i love you guys i genuinely think time attack has become my favorite type of a racing this makes me want to take my 16 wrx to track to find my own limits against the clock great article as usual Dino


Thank you!


Dino, if you don't mind me asking, what is it you do/did to get what seems to be permanent residence in JP? Thanks in advance.


Those RX7's are glorious, and that opening pic should be marked NSFW. Brilliant shot Dino! 

My opinion: As ignorant/blasphemous/keyboard mechanic as this sounds, from all that I've read/watched online and seen to a limited extent on the street, bar a couple of exceptions, it seems the japanese seriously need a shakeup when it comes to RB26 tuning. Sure RB's are now ancient and VR38's have taken priority for a long time, but they've been using the same setups for longer than a decade and there hasn't really been any crazy new advances for a long time.The F Con V-Pro + T04Z or similar setups have been honed to a craft, but it's not 2005 and it's a little sad seeing big money builds still using them when there are internationally made products that simply blow them out of the water and it's so much easier to procure such parts now. 

Take Steve Ka's R34 GTR for example, it's running a pretty massive turbo, but the video telemetry of it at WTAC 2014 shows full boost coming on pretty much instantly once it's above the threshold RPM for +ve boost. He can also flat shift by having the ecu cut ignition for a short time so he doesn't lose boost by closing the throttle. I know that these GTR's in the article are cars driven by amateurs who just want to have a bit of fun with their mates, but isn't that how most of the incredible builds start? Take Under Suzuki for example.

Japanese tuners need to stop being scared of what the rest of the word has to offer. Because these products are being proven over and over to be superior, and unless they either 1) suddenly develop a new breed of parts that can compete or: 2) adopt international parts; they're going to be left in the dust.


Smiggins mayorquimby That was a powerfully true "shot to the nuts" statement right there. 100% truth though and it sucks.


I'm glad to see that the white CP9A Evo is still racing. I have a wallpaper of that car from, oh, 3 years ago (i think).


Always wonder why no one runs s2000's at evome. Really liked that yellow mugen faced ap1, one of my favorites for sure.
ps this is my favorite event of the year, thanks Dino!




not_drizzy_ butterswrx Yes they are 100% ZE40´s


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