The Idlers Games Take Over Tsukuba
Grip Dictates Grip

I was recently asked what I actually ‘like’ when it comes to cars.

The variety we’ve always tried to bring to Speedhunters has really opened my eyes to many different sides of car culture that previously I’d never considered nor had much of an interest in.

My favorite example would have to be covering Mooneyes events all those years back. I felt like a fish out of water having to ask so many questions and trying to figure out what to actually shoot and write. But it’s now a scene that I love so much and always look forward to checking out. I may even get personally involved by building something in the future – you never know. Do I like stance? And by this I mean that practice of slamming cars to the ground to achieve a particular look. I certainly don’t mind it, and the lower the car is the more impact it seems to have in pictures. But no, I’d never sacrifice function for looks with one of my own cars.

What I’m really into is driving.

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It’s the thing I love the most and thus it dictates the style I like. It doesn’t really matter what the discipline is either; a nicely sorted street car with the ability to carve up mountain roads, a track oriented car, a drive machine or an off-road rig built to crawl over rocks and take a few jumps – if there’s driving and performance involved I’m there.

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And this is why I feel very much at home at idlers. This is a series that has grown and expanded exponentially in Japan, even spawning its very own magazine. It oozes variety and colorful ways of building cars for grip racing.

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In a way it defines what the Japanese are all about: meticulous about car setup, technical in approach, and always extremely experimental when coming up with potentially beneficial solutions. However, the single biggest aspect is that it truly represents Japanese car style. It doesn’t matter the base car, domestic or import, the approach is always the same.

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That is idlers, and that is what you should picture in your head when you think of ‘JDM’ style. Sure, it’s an acronym that’s thrown around so much, but in my eyes it defines a certain way of doing things, an approach rather than a particular type or brand of car.

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And there is always so much to look at this event, the first of the season, which of course is held at Tsukuba Circuit.

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There were a few surprises this time around, like finding a Focus RS being hammered around the track. With Ford having officially pulled out of the Japanese market due to poor sales, it brings joy to see that nothing will stand in the way of local enthusiasts. If they want a specific car, you can be sure they’ll find a way to get it!

idlers Games is split into a variety of classes. You get a few sessions in the morning and early afternoon to set a best time, and then the top qualifiers get thrown into a 12- lap race as the day’s final and most anticipated event.

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Yes, a fast and capable car is important, but keeping a level of reliability is paramount. This is especially true in the idlers 12-hour endurance race that is held at the Twin Ring Motegi every August. We’ve participated in that race countless times and quickly learned that team work and actually making it to the finish line is the most important thing. A comment that was left in my recent RWB Museum post ridiculed a 31st position idlers award I took a picture of, something that made me realize that if you don’t actually experience racing for yourself, it’s hard to comprehend what it’s all about. But I digress…

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Over the years a very prominent Fairlady Z class has developed at idlers. It’s mostly populated by the older and much more affordable Z33, which not only lends itself rather well to grip action, but due to a relatively under-stressed engine is a reliable racer.

As long as you have a GT wing, you’re in the club. Of course I’m joking, but I couldn’t help but notice how the bolt-on GT wing still rules in Japan.

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In this section of the paddock I even came across a Lotus Exige 350 Sport, a potent lightweight that thanks to its Toyota powerplant has all but done away with reliability issues. At least from the engine…

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Cheeeeeeeeee-zu…snap! The whole team at idlers is busy snapping away, covering the action, each entry in detail, and of course the drivers themselves.

Count All The Porsches
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Speaking of the official idlers team, this is Seike-san’s McDonald’s-themed 911, a blisteringly quick machine that has overtaken me under power and under braking countless times at Motegi.

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As you’d expect, Porsches make up the biggest field at idlers, and seeing three rows of cars lined up in the paddock is one of the most recognizable aspects of this event.

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They come in every sort of flavor, and this is where the RAUH-Welt Begriff brand fine-tuned a look that has exploded in popularity on a global level.

I feel like I have to talk about his a little bit more too, because after seeing the comment section in the RWB Museum post, there seems to be confusion there, which somehow turns into criticism.

What are the main points you should understand about RWB? Well, first off it’s not an outfit, a car tuner or car builder. It’s simply a body shop that visually transforms 911s into GT2-inspired wide-body creations and a variety of other combinations, backdates, and even narrow-bodies with some added flair. While Nakai will fit suspension and your selection of wheels to support the ‘visual boost’, that’s where it ends – performance and everything else is down to the individual customer/owner. RWB builds cannot be compared to those from Singer, RUF or Gemballa. Nakai-san doesn’t rebuild and restore cars or reimagine them, so I hope that helps anyone who is unsure understand what it’s all about.

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Speaking of Nakai, he was there too of course. Even if he spends most of his months flying around the world attempting to chip away at the ever-expending waiting list, he never missies an idlers event. As usual, his weapon of choice was Rotana, possibly the wildest RWB interpretation out there, and one that really has balls. Or one at least, in the form of a large Trust T78 turbocharger hanging off the back.

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The car keeps evolving and I did spot a new color-matched steering wheel in the cabin.

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The man himself must have been tired though, and I didn’t even manage to see him. He would race and once back in the pits immediately go to sleep in his white Dodge van.

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He probably set an alarm for every session as he was right back at it once his turn came around.

No Drift, No Fun
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In recent years idlers have also added a drift component to the event, which just makes it that little bit cooler. I mean, what would a motorsport event in Japan be without a few clouds from burning tires?!

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This group of cool drift cars reminded me that I need to check out some grassroots events soon, just to see what’s happening in that scene.

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Due to all the crashes drifters get into (let’s face, it’s an aspect of the sport you just can’t get away from, no matter how good you are), this scene is the quickest to evolve. The more you crash the more often you have to repair and there comes the opportunity to play around and mix things up in the styling department.

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These guys were out with a stock-looking JZA80 Supra, but there was nothing stock with the way this thing drove, boasting a ton of power to light up the rears and an ample dose of driver skill from the man behind the wheel.

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AE86 drift-spec perfection. Nothing much else can be added here.

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This brightly-colored engine bay belonged to a very yellow AE86 Trueno; I can’t say I’ve ever seen green anodized velocity stacks before.

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In the line-up there was one car that stood out for its relative rareness. We’ve seen Sunnys in many different flavors, even drift-specific ones, but an HB310 might be a first for me.

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It was still running its factory-fitted A14 four-pot, which was breathing through uprated carbs and possibly a cam as it was getting some good angle out through the tight Tsukuba infield.

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And now for something totally different. This E46 M3 on air was driven hard in the BMW specific session. It’s no wonder these cars are going up in value – they just look so menacing.

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The action on track was fierce as ever, with the level of driving among the best you’ll see at Tsukuba.

It’s always cool to compare the different ways different cars seem to behave on track. The 911 has real direct and snappy corner entry, with most drivers using that weight transfer of the rear-mounted engine to rotate the car and get it set up for the corner earlier on. On the other hand, the Auto Gallery Yokohama R34s need to lean on the brakes more to scrub off speed to avoid washing out offline as they plough into corners. But the way the Skylines shoot out on boost, well even Nakai’s Rotana didn’t look and sound as dramatic.

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We’ll definitely hit up more idlers gatherings over the course of the coming year, but for now I’ll leave you to enjoy this set of pictures.

I’m back at Tsukuba for a third time in as many weeks this weekend for the Hyper Rev Meeting, where the focus will be on Imprezas, Evos and Legacys. Don’t miss the coverage I’ll have coming during the course of next week.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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67 comments

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1

That Soarer is awesome! Amazing write up once again.

Author2
Dino Dalle Carbonare

And it was driven amazingly well too!

3

I don't doubt that for a second!

4

His plumbing is gonna fall out lol.
Cool coverage dude.

5

Exhaust hanging out in the wind like that always reminds me of a prolapsed rectum.

6

R.W.B.

-Really
-Wide
-Butthole?

7

well that escalated quickly!

Author8
Dino Dalle Carbonare

LOL what???

9
John W Cangieter

RWB= Rear Wheel Biased

10

Would be interesting to know more about that yellow Peugeot 106 in the 3rd picture! Love how the Japanese make any car look great :)

11

I totally support this, mainly because I bought one exactly like this a few weeks ago and was quite surprised to see one in japan. Great car!

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Author12
Dino Dalle Carbonare

You see some around, especially at track days. Will have to hunt it out for you guys

13

fingers crossed

15

Hey Dino, any idea what the spring rates are on the purple RWB? Curious what kind of shocks and spring setup Nakai is running.

16

Yay!

Flat purple paint!

That must be fun to keep clean.

17

Do you think he washes his race car often?

18

So, what's it to you? It's not your car.

19

What're you getting all defensive about?

It's not your car either.

Did I trigger you or something?

20

>Trigger

Oh boy, we have le epic trole on our hands..though as much after seeing your weak ass bait comments..meh, move along.

21

You're supposed to white-knight girls, not paint jobs.

Author22
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Now now guys, let's play nicely ;)

I know the dampers are Aragosta but I'll have to ask about the spring rates

23

Thanks. The name rings a bell, but I can't remember if they are an in house design or a rebadged / rebranded shock.

Their Porsche stuff is around $4000 + but that's not necessarily an indicator of quality or cross talk. Any info out there?

24
Mark Joseph I. Argoso

At this point, nothing is out of left-field with events like this. No that was wrong. What I meant is that it'd take quite a lot to stand out from this crowd. Something special, unique, and never been done before.

Like a Morgan Aero 8 GT3, I reckon.

Author25
Dino Dalle Carbonare

It would take A LOT to stand out among so much variety that's for sure! A corosseyes Aero 8 would do that ...

26

Good lord that purple RWB's rear bodywork is ugly

27

I like the bodywork on rotana.

28

Love the idea to make it like the LM cars, but the serrated rear "bumper" is awful. Couldn't Nakai have made it straight?

29

Rough World ;)

Author30
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think that was the point, he was probably in the mood to try something different. When the car is driven back to HQ the bumper is fitted back on again BTW

31

I thought the Japanese hated idlers.

Oh, that's right.

You're not talking about employment.

Author32
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Uh?

33

Why do the Japanese always throw the peace sign when people take pictures of them?

34

Why do you feel the need to post juvenile comments?

35

I can't help it. I was born this way.

Author36
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I do the same, becomes natural lol (the peace signs I mean)

37
Your best friend

Yo I throw a peace sign every time I wave to someone. It becomes habit

38

It’s been real good to see Nakia-san Home for a long period this year. Good to see him back home resting and racing. And the shop has been remodeled. I hope to see it soon and chill out with the guys and girls. RWB is smoking, some speed and girls. That’s RWB in a nutshell. They don’t project any negativity. They just do what they want to do. And that is something to be jealous about. And that’s why I built three gold cars because I do the same. I do what I want. Great coverage Dino-san

Author39
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks Ricko! I'll have to do another tour of the shop, looks quite different now

40

Surprising amount of Z3s there...hmm

Author41
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Cheap...

42

I always look forward to your idlers coverage. (The pics make killer wallpapers)
I love the evolution of Rotana. Pretty fucking wild to see the heads of the flat 6 while it’s racing on track.

Author43
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks Dave!

44

long live ae86

45

I want to know the story behind that RWB with the flowers! Can anyone give me a name? Thanks

Author46
Dino Dalle Carbonare

No clue who ones that

47
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Nakai-san is basically a machine. I really got to ask him how he manage his sleep times. I'm always lacking sleep. LOL!

Interesting to know that he travels around in a Dodge van. He's just as Japanese as it gets: races a European sports car, dailies an American van.

Author48
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think he must be real good at being able to sleep on command, something I cannot do. My bro in law is a doctor and if he wasn't able to fall into a deep sleep whenever he wants he said he could never survive the long shifts

49

What carbs is the little Sunny running?

Author50
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Solex if I recall correctly

51

Nice! In a field of more expensive metal, I bet the old Datto is a right hoot to throw around! Looks like it's been modified for a bit more reliability on the track too, without an enormous budget. Nice to see the privateer spirit is strong!

52

Holyshit, the amount of awesome car!
If I'm there, I'd be just walking around repeat "wow!" all the way like an idiot.

53
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Or "Holy shit!" LOL!

Author54
Dino Dalle Carbonare

That's what I do lol

55
JBfromSiliconValley

1) Good Shit
2) The people demand video!!!!!

Author56
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Would be cool to do a video on this event!

57

Does someone on here know what wheels are on the #52 Porsche?

58

How come, you find more Alfas on track days in Japan than on other circuits in Europe? Dino, how come the japanese like them so much ;)??!!!

59

Nice little 106, looks big compared to the Beat next to it

60

okay Dino- now you have to tell me- Does Nakai selling Stella or not? Rotana is Running, Stella were at TAS, whats the deal with 2017 post about Swaping Rotana's engine into Stella?
is HE trolling us or what? Cheers!

61

You're referring to 3 different cars. "Stella Boost" is a matte black 964 chassis with turbocharged Promodet-built engine, in the same spec as Rotana's. A hybrid concept between Stella and Rotana, in a separate chassis. Both Rotana and Stella still exist as individual vehicles, Stella Boost as a third.

62

what happened to the stella artois rwb car?

63

The has got to be up there with the best assortment of custom race cars - and probably one of my favourite types of write ups!

1. More video please
2. Thanks for clarifying RWB vs. others. Perhaps people incorrect assume popularity = best builds?
3. I love the more function / less form here. Photo #23 - just slap on some duct tape over the headlights/taillights, who cares about paint for racing!

64

Who says rwb porches are all form and can't race.

65

Decades from now when our generation is in its twilight years the younger generation would look at stance cars the same way we currently perceive '49 Mercury's and various other street rods

66

I thought the owner of RWB must have a VW transporter (gen1 or 2) wide bodied and a porches engine transplanted but seems he has an American van.

67

A Peugeot 106 rallye (s16) in japan (4th photo); what kind of modifications people over do to them;;;

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