Size Doesn’t Matter At Tsukuba

Following on from what I said in my opening post to this year’s Rev Speed Super Battle at Tsukuba Circuit, the emphasis on smaller and more affordable cars was pretty obvious.

Is that a bad thing? No, of course it’s not, there is space for any type of car to be tuned, modified and prepared for time attack. While the million-dollar, aerodynamically-laden record breakers we associate the event with have now dwindled down to just a handful, there is still lot of fun to be had with everything else.

tsk_superbattle_17_dino_dalle_carbonare_02

And one car that’s had my attention since its debut a couple of years ago is the new-generation Suzuki Alto Works. If you’re into JDM things, the ‘Alto Works’ name will likely conjure up images of modified kei cars sporting tiny wheels and sticky rubber ready to hit little mountain passes or the occasional soukoukai event. In its new guise, the Alto Works has evolved into a pretty aggressively-styled iteration of the base car, powered by the new turbocharged R06A motor which boasts four valves per cylinder (of which there are only three, of course) and variable valve timing on the intake cam.

I thought this example deserved a spotlight, as its creator, KC Technica, has managed to noticeably pump the performance of the little Alto, starting off with the looks. The body has received KC Technica’s own black fender flares and a set of 15-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37 Sonic wheels running a nice, tight offset to boost the appearance and the handling.

tsk_superbattle_17_dino_dalle_carbonare_03

And that’s the underlying theme here: function. While there are adjustable coilovers at each corner, the brake system has been upgraded at the front only with more aggressive pads; the rear still relies on the factory drums.

tsk_superbattle_17_dino_dalle_carbonare_04

If you didn’t quite get it yet, the car was running on Zestino rubber, another foreign tire brand that’s entered the Japanese market with affordable performance compounds.

tsk_superbattle_17_dino_dalle_carbonare_09

And the little kei car wasn’t doing too bad out on track. I watched it exit turn one during one of its outings and it looked nice and composed through the bend, turning in with a ton of speed and hardly scrubbing much off. Its best lap of the day was a respectable 1:09.798, and the whooshing sounds when the driver got on the power prompted me to head back to the pits after the session and take a look under the hood.

tsk_superbattle_17_dino_dalle_carbonare_13

And unsurprisingly there were some nice touches under there. The 64PS these little engines are limited to in Japan had been close to doubled here thanks to a larger turbocharger, plus KC Technica intake and piping, and a more substantial top-mount intercooler.

In the cabin the stock driver’s seat has given way to a Bride bucket with other additions including a set of Defi gauges to keep an eye on the numbers and a KC Technica steering wheel.

tsk_superbattle_17_dino_dalle_carbonare_10

It’s these little kei cars that back in the ’90s, and even further back in JDM history, helped shape what Japanese cars were all about. It’s cool that manufacturers like Suzuki understand that there’s still a small market for fun, sportier versions of their cars. It’s also a great reminder that you don’t need to blow a ton of money to have fun on track.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

25 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Very nice article on a car i've been very curious about! Its a shame the Alto Works is only avalible in Japan.

Author2
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Japan, keeping the cool shit for themselves since ....forever

3
Quinlyn Bernstein

i know. This gneration is lucky though, it is getting easier to import JDM machines of our dreams.

4

Little modified cars like these honestly tickle my fancy as much as seeing something from a much more high end division. It bridges the gap of what most people think is a sport that one can't get into unless they're driving a 6-700hp vehicle. The simplicity, affordability and what's probably a really involving drive, along with their amplified yet at the same time, subtle presence makes them so appealing.

Author5
Dino Dalle Carbonare

What I love about cars like these is that you can drive them at ten tenths all the time, when you'd scare yourself silly with powerful cars, if not end up crashing. Rather satisfying for the driver

6

Cool little car, although I'm somewhat dissaponted that TE37 Sonic wheels aren't Blue..

Author7
Dino Dalle Carbonare

They look cool to me

8

Lightweight IS an ADVANTAGE itself.
You can have HUGE FUN in one of these.
This one will ROCK if you take it up to some twisty mountain roads!
Nice Post!

Author9
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah it would be so much fun. Hardly use the brakes!

10

Holy crap, what is up with that red elbow on the intercooler? That can't be good for flow!

Author11
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah that don't look like it does anything nice for flow

12

the air that passes there is pressurized .. so I do not see big problems

13

I was just looking at that too, must be a space issue.

14

YES! Thank you for this article! I have wanted to see some more affordable and off-the-beaten-path cars on here for awhile now. This hit the spot!

Author15
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Good to hear!

16

Nice ! Looks good on track, though I think these really come into their own on the touge, when the tax-limited width buys you a shallower line through downhill kinks. I remember a colleague with an Evo V telling me how quick the old 550cc Alto Works was on the touge (apparently lighter than the later 660cc model!).

I've always wondered - do people tune these above the 64hp limit and still run them on the yellow Kei plates? Is that allowed / get-away-able-with ? Seems an attractive option if so ;-)

Author17
Dino Dalle Carbonare

They don't check your power at the Shaken. You can loose the yellow plate if you declare you've stroked the engine over 660 cc or if you run wider/longer aero that would make the car bigger than the allowed dimensions

18

Just turn off the boost controller during inspection ;)

19

Kei cars are rad, just wish they had more power. I'd love to see one of these with 300 to the wheels.

Author20
Dino Dalle Carbonare

200 is stop on, takes a bit of work though ...

21

Screw it, run a methanol setup with 500whp. Kei cars must take over!

Author22
Dino Dalle Carbonare

lol (btw I meant *spot on haha)

23

I see a future in LS swapping Kei cars hahaha joking man 200 would be plenty fun in a car like this.

24

Need more chicken nugget's like this in the U.S

Author25
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I want to see this next to an F150 Raptor

OFFICIAL SPEEDHUNTERS SUPPLIERS