The Sights Of HKS Premium Day
An HKS Themed Party

This is what the HKS Premium Day is all about.

It doesn’t matter if you scroll quickly through the 60-plus images I’ve selected from the event, or if you actually take your time to read through what I’ve got to say about it all – both methods of digesting this rather large post should get the message across.

In my opinion, even if it’s brand specific, the organic way HKS has let this gathering evolve over the years in no way tries to be an outright promotion of its products. It’s rather an honest celebration of what’s good about the current Japanese tuning world, and HKS sends out invitations to a vast variety of shops to keep things interesting and fresh. So let’s dive right in, shall we?


Having stopped in a hotel close by overnight meant that I was at Fuji Speedway bright and early without having to get up at silly o’clock, as is the norm on an event weekend. But even before 8:00am, the paddock was buzzing with movement as people began flocking in, despite the sub-zero temperatures.

It only seems right that I open up this main post with a few images of the latest HKS cars. It was exactly a year ago that we first saw the GTS800 in detail when it was unveiled at the 2017 edition of this event. Now re-baptised as the TRB-003 – TRB being an acronym for ‘Tsukuba Record Breaker’ – the all-carbon ZN6 has been out on a few private and closed test sessions at Tsukuba Circuit, however, HKS Premium Day was the day that we finally saw it on track in public. I’ll dedicate my final post from the event on this outing, as there is some rather controversial stuff going down right now after it showed up to Fuji Speedway with a redesigned front end.

The Suzuki Swift on the other hand is still a work in progress which HKS will be developing over the course of this year, so it pretty much stayed put.


That said, there was a ton of other cool stuff to feast one’s eyes on, including hundreds of GT-Rs. I can’t believe the old JUN R33 demo car is still doing the rounds; it’s now looked after by Autech Tsukada in Nagano, and is still a screamer if you are wondering.


Again from Nagano is Garage Mak, who brought out some of their demo cars as well as Amemiya-san’s S15 Silvia which since when I featured it years ago has continued to be evolved.


It has well and truly morphed into a time attack machine, something its rather massive rear spoiler kind of hints at. It’s so different from when we first looked at it four years back that it’s begging to be shot again. What do you guys think, would you like to see this car revisited?


Since the first Premium Day in 2008, HKS has run the Hyper Challenge series as a big component to the day’s proceedings. This is when budding circuit racers sign out to take their cars out on a series of timed sessions. The line up this year included a few Ferraris, which is great to see, as this is of course what these cars were engineered to do.


The selection is varied as you can imagine, but you can be sure to find the usual suspects in there somewhere.


I’ve gone to great lengths not to force feed you too many BNR34 images, which is a tough thing for me to do. Still, there are a few in here you will like, starting with this simple white example running a Nismo Z-tune bumper, flared front fenders and a set of RAYS Volk Racing TE37SLs.


Now that I’ve parted ways with my trust BP5 Subaru Legacy, I’m finding myself looking at them more. Is this regret settling in? Definitely not as my recently-acquired Audi RS4 Avant is proving to possibly be the best replacement ever; but there is still an attraction there. Also, this is the first time I’ve seen one on TE37RTs. Which reminds me, I have yet to show you guys the RS4 properly…

If you asked me what the car of the moment in Japan is right now, I wouldn’t even need to thing about it. My answer would be instant: the Honda S660. It’s redefining all that is cool about affordable, light and tuneable platforms.

Here it is presented in a few flavours, from two wearing Liberty Walk kits – simple for the white, a proper overfender setup for the blue S.A.H car – and a windscreen-less example tuned by Top Fuel which was built for the recent K1 Grand Prix endurance race.


Not too far away I stumbled upon Revolfe S.A’s display area, where a curious-looking Lamborghini Countach was on display next to an Aventador.


There is a cool story behind this car, one I will be following up on with Mizota-san, one of the original Mid Night club members.

The Gems Of The Paddock

With so much to see, I moved about the paddock continuously. Cars kept going out on track and coming back, with others arriving, so the opportunity to nail some cool shots was all around.


I took a few minutes to look at the two Toyota Supras from Material Auto. These weren’t quite as extreme as the one we took a look at during last year’s event, but I’m a sucker for execution and the blue one you see above had me drooling. Ridox aero and Enkei RS05RR wheels must be one of the freshest combinations I’ve seen in a while. Damn, why can’t I shake this attraction to the JZA80?


The red example in front sported an individual (six) throttle body conversion, something you don’t see done much as it’s often looked upon as being too complex for marginal benefit.


Over at the Auto Select pits, the line up of customer cars waiting to go out was pretty mesmerising. Do you guys remember the matte example at the end with the centre-exit exhaust?


We’ve taken a look at the Kansai Service NSX already, but here’s a better angle to see the other cars that Mukai-san and his team brought to the event.


Around pretty much every corner there was awesomeness to be found, and the best thing is that most of the cars were unleashed on track during the day.


As I was walking towards the top section of the paddock a bunch of cars started flowing off the track as one time attack session had just ended. That’s when I spotted Matsui-san of Powerhouse Amuse behind the wheel of the Bulletproof Evo X demo car, perfectly placed for an obligatory Fuji-san picture. It doesn’t get better than this.

I’ve got to give it to the Ben and the Bulletproof guys, not only do they build sick looking cars, but they’re totally functional and begging to be driven. This car has been shown at SEMA as well as being on the Varis booth at TAS a few weeks back, and here it was being put through its paces at a track in Japan. That’s what I call doing things properly.


The cars entering the track and coming off from the previous session was creating an entertaining traffic jam.


This Porsche 964 is a permanent resident of Tatsumi PA. I say that because 95% of the times I go, it’s there. The owner is part of the R9 club, a group of guys that like to lap the Route 9 loop that goes through Ginza and back onto the Wangan to create the most fun Shutoku run you can enjoy. It’s cool to finally see it during the day and at a proper track.


This is what happens in three minutes if you park a nice car in Naples. Jokes aside, the car-on-bricks approach is a new one, but I guess a good way for Marché to show off the Zeal dampers and Endless brakes that their BRZ runs.


Bozz Speed was one of the very first shops that I featured back in the day when I got started as a photojournalist in Japan, and it’s awesome to see that they haven’t given up on the pursuit of performance. I absolutely love their Suzuki Alto Works demo machine.


There was much commotion when a transporter started reversing into the HKS Technical Factory area; it was carrying a BMW Z4 GT3 race car with no livery, except for a few stickers here and there.


Words can’t describe how imposing and simply stunning this interpretation of BMW’s little two-seater drop-top is.


It was parked up in front as part of a display which also included the owner’s F40, a car we’ve been seeing over the last few years at the Premium Day. As part of his arsenal, the same guy runs a 1,200hp R35 GT-R which is only a second off the shop’s demo car’s pace around Fuji.


As I was shooting the F40 from the second floor of the pit building, the Prime Garage C35 Laurel – which we looked at three years ago at this same event – rolled past. You can’t get a more varied selection of cars than these.


Nismo was even present with a selection of its complete models.

The Toyota Tundra was never sold in Japan, but there’s this curious trend at the moment where guys will import these massive trucks and run them on Japanese streets.

I’m all for stuff like this, as it adds an even cooler layer of awesome to Japan’s car culture, and even more so when people just can’t control the tuning bug. That’s a pair of HKS superchargers bolted onto the V8. Wild.


Arvou is a name you’d automatically think of when talking about S2000s, but these guys play around with a lot of other cars, like this Lotus Exige for example.


Nice charge cooler.

The Entire HKS Catalogue On Display

Back upstairs, I went for a quick nose around the HKS Premium Salon, a big display of pretty much every single product that the tuning giant produces.


You can get a closer look of everything in here, from HKS’s new line up of MHI-made GTIII turbochargers, to all sorts of other gadgets.


I even spotted the soon-to-be-released new version of the Circuit Attack Counter. This thing does so much more than just timing your laps but also uses GPS tech and data-logging to allow you to go back and accurately trace your lines around the track. I wonder if it works for the Shuto? Oh wait, I shouldn’t have said that…

RB28 and 2JZ, the former running the GTIII-4R and the latter the GTIII-5R. Which one would you choose?


Here is the 4R, 5R and 6R, rated to 750, 1,000 and 1,200 horsepower respectively.


A VR41 with all the bells and whistles; all 1200hp of it.


There were a ton of displays sub-divided for specific car application, like this one for the Honda S660. If you haven’t gotten it yet, I really, really like this car and all you can do to it.

It’s Time Attack Time

Option magazine organizes a Super Lap event as part of the proceedings, taking full advantage of all the demo cars that shops bring to Fuji. With two sessions at their disposal, and ideal ambient and air temperatures, this is when records are broken.


As cars started warming up, I took a walk down the pit lane to see what was present and came across HKS’s all-carbon 86 that they built alongside Fat Five Racing last year. This is Nob’s play thing, a car used only for demo runs and one which was used later on in the day to burn up a few sets of rubber.


Garage Mak was one of the first shops to head out for a try, putting their development R35 to the test.


Doing the driving was Manabu Orido, who on his second fast lap managed the car’s record time, a 1:45.564 lap, which also happened to be the car’s last as the engine had some trouble and had to be retired.


Top Secret was there too, putting their half-million dollar BNR32 with R35 running gear to the test. This car messes with your head; it looks like a R32, but the VR38 sound is unmistakable. The question is, though: is this thing really worth $500,000?


After taking the Esprit R35 GT-R out for some fast laps, Nobuteru Taniguchi jumped into the Garage G Force Evo IX and proceeded to break some records. He managed to set a new fastest time for Fuji of 1:37.381, right before the front passenger side tire exploded as he was passing in front of the pit garage he had exited just minutes prior.


There were rumours as to what had happened floating around the pits; some were saying the springs were too soft and became coil bound, allowing the tyre to rub on the chassis and slice itself in half.


The Voltex guys, who took care of designing the custom aero (sort of based on the Tilton Evo of a few years back) were examining what may have actually happened.


It seems that almost the opposite occurred, with the front springs having been too hard, thus transferring far too much stress to the Yokohama semi-slicks through downforce at max velocity. The result was that the tire just couldn’t take it, hinting where the next step of development needs to come from if the sport is to safely progress.

Thankfully Taniguchi didn’t get hurt, and he stopped the car safely at the top of the pit lane.


After all the excitement of the Garage HRS CT9A, I stayed in the pits to observe the rest of the session which was delayed while the marshals cleaned up the pieces of Voltex aero that had been scattered around the track.


That’s where I got the chance to take a closer look at the HKS Technical Factory ZN6 which has to run one of the most unique forced induction layouts I’ve come across. As you can see by the two HKS pod filters on either side of the intercooler, this thing runs a twin-turbo setup on the FA20 motor. We need to have a proper look at this car I think, as it’s far too interesting to pass up.


At 1:44.667, the Garage Ito BNR34 was the fastest ‘old’ generation GT-R on the timing sheet, proving that these old girls still have plenty of potential.


It’s all about the execution. The Osaka-based shop has kept it pretty old school with virtually no aero aside from the C-West front bumper and a rear GT-Wing. You could say it’s all motor, oh, and suspension, and a fair share of lightening. You get my drift, I’m sure.


I came away from this year’s HKS Premium Day with a grin on my face. There seems to be so much energy in the air for this year; so many new cars, so many new products and so many challenges from shops. It’s so great to see, and like all of you I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.


HKS, for example, will be trying to break into the 49-second bracket at Tsukuba in the coming weeks, and you know Under Suzuki will be right there attempting the same thing.


It’s been an action-packed January in Japan and while the rest of the Northern Hemisphere thunders on through its off-season, and we still have some exciting time attack sessions waiting to unfold.

February, we are ready for you.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Good stuff Dino! Like you said, although it is brand specific, the variety of cars there is amazing. Everything from kei cars, to GT3, and even a Tundra!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah, it's basically an open invitation to HKS dealer shops but the cool thing about that is that they all cater to a wide range of cars.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Oh wow, the Top Fuel S660 is definitely a speedster!

That blue Supra looks like the same car that was featured before by Ron, together with a group of fellow JZA80s driving up the Hakone Turnpike.

And that Mid Night Countach... definitely looking forward to know more about this legendary club!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Oh good call, looks like that car uh. I've been meaning to meet the Material Auto guys for ages, must go down there once


Mid Night Countach!! This definitely should give a proper full feature on!
Cars from this legendary, yet mysterious club were the REAL DEAL.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah and an interview with the owner and Mizota-san who's seen it all in its hay-day


the presence that a Countach exhibits after all these years...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Such a crazy design. Imagine seeing one in 1974, you'd probably have thought the aliens had landed!


The infinite drag to bullshit ratio wing seems to be gone from the ZN6

Outwash and inwash frontwings are a thing and they work, in single seaters at least, but that infinite drag -lift ratio is BS

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Vittorio...I'm curious to why you would say that? The car has done rather well in its first few outings at Tsukuba straight out of the box. But let's keep this discussion for the post I'm working on ...


Yeah I was just a bit cynical about the naming of the wing, not the wing itself. Sorry for the strong words. I find the concept quite interesting actually. I presume it's designed to work in yaw rather than in straight line which makes sense. To make it work may be tricky, but we'll see.


Looks like we got ourselves Vittorio,the legendary armchair aerodynamicist in the comment section!


This one is just better suited for Fuji, and you seriously think AMB Aero designed a bullshit wing? Lmao


Would love to hear some more about the R9 guys and also cant wait to read about the Countach and Mizota-san

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Problem is they don't want it too publicized right. I mean what they do would get the attention of the law rather quickly. It's the same reason we keep away from covering street drifting. Cool as shit but what we'd show would become evidence.... That side of car culture is better left as it is, underground ;)


Agree something are best left organic and I take it by what you have said these guys are still running to this day, awesome!


Wow what a great event! Tons of cool cool cars and car parts . Great pictures and great article to read

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks man! One of the best for sure!


I love the reports from Japan, so many cool cars that never gets to Europe.
Can just say it again, please keep up the good works!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

We will always try :)


The galleries and story really bring you there, great coverage. Those machines are pure sex, would love to see the action in person one day

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Must see event! Come on over, just bring a thick jacket and gloves!


Great coverage Dino! I'm excited to see your RS4 - what generation is it?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's currently sitting on B5 wheels & snow tires but once the stock 19s go back on I'll introduce it as part of the Speedhunters Garage. Gives me time to collect a few parts at least :) Oh it's a B7 btw




If you could, ask Mizota-san why he chose to divulge his status as an original member of Mid Night. I was under the impression, that members swore themselves to secrecy while the club was active, and chose to continue that, even after the group disbanded.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That's not true, I've met countless members from the club, some very high profiled people. Lot's of time has passed, maybe they don't care to let people know what they got up to...


well, that makes for a nice story, but nearly all of the members are accounted for (known by those that care to look into it) despite not being very public about their membership.


Whatever you do, don't believe the Wikipedia article. Its made up by a load of BS by Steve R Neill. The group is kinda private but everyone in the scene knows members when they head up at Ebina SA or stop by at Daikoku Futo PA before races. They are tuners, car dealership owners and other businesses, they arent strangers to people. Also they never actually disband, they just no longer active like usual.


Excellent report Dino! For event that is dedicated to HKS, the variety of cars and tuners that showed up is amazing.

Also for the Mak Silvia, I would love to see the updates on it, in fact I support Speedhunters if they want to revisit some of the cars that you guys once featured. There is always story to tell.

I hope you can do full coverage on that mid night Countach, It seems to be heavily modified! How does the owner keep the car from losing traction at high speed? I know the original LP400 tend to lift at high speed. But I heard even the wing and arches of later cars don't eliminate the problem.

Also about Mid NIght club, someone should make a book out of it. Even if it classified as fiction since I want to know more about it. And quite surprised that a Countach join that club too!

Anyway excellent amazing report as usual from Dino!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks man! Will try to see if we can get some time with that wild S15 again :) And the Mid Night club, would be cool to get some straight answers, there seems to be so much misinformation around the whole thing, would be cool to put some stories right


Great article. Always like seeing variety.
Garage Ito red BNR34, interesting engine bay colour, ex Falken car?


What ever happened to the HKS GTS800?


It's pretty much the first thing Dino talks about.


That yellow R33 though...

Oh, wait...the cool way: #pornography

One last thing. Could someone PLEASE remove one of those turbo tubes from that Tundra and beat the owner with it?!?!
That'd be grrreeeat.


EDIT: supercharger tubes.

Although, any object that can be wielded like a baseball bat would do. Exhaust tubing is relatively accessible due to the vehicle's ride height. Whatever works.


Great coverage...just an observation from recent posts from Japan...notice a lack in coverage / presence of the current gen Subaru WRX/STIs... is this because not many people are tuning them or?


The old HKS livery still charming, the new red livery is good but the old one hits that soft spot.
All the cars are flawless and deserves a feature but the Countach and the Z4 GT3..... well maybe because it's a Japan based event and all the other cars were predictable (Excluding the F40, even if a couple of them are based in Japan and were featured on SH before).


Awesome coverage! Looks like tunung scene is still live...

Also we need more Mid Night club cars....

Here is video of Blackbird blowing engine:


Makes me wana ditch my MK6 GTI for a ZN6!


Loved the Garage Mak S15. S15 not making to the States still makes me cry. Also, the LB S660 is so awesome. Would love to have those here. What really surprised me is that Suzuki. What a fresh face! Amazing proportions too. Would love to have those around here instead of the Versa's and crap we get. Finally, Z4 was absolutely sinister.


Why is the evo running its tires backwards is there a benefit to that?

Keaton Belliston

Anybody else notice that the exploded Advan on the front of that Evo was on the wrong side? I doubt that had much of an effect on the wear, but that's usually a mistake that show cars make. Unusual to see that error on a track monster.


Is the r4 turbine attached to the rb26 or rb28? The post said 28 but the picture says 26.