The World Of Japanese Time Attack

Welcome to time attack, the fastest-evolving form of grassroots motorsports. Along with the more fashion and trend-oriented side of the Japanese drift scene, time attackers continue to challenge themselves and push the envelope more than anyone else out there. And this goes for the backyard builder all the way up to properly funded teams. Given how brilliantly it’s brought together in a countrywide wintertime championship, the team at Attack really have to be commended.

I had a chance to spend a couple of hours at the Tsukuba round of Attack a couple of weekends ago, but this time around I did things differently; I wanted to experience the event from a time attack fan’s perspective. So unlike previous years where I’ve signed up for media credentials in order to park myself at the best shooting spots around the track, this time I decided to focus more on the cars, hence why I’m bringing you an extended gallery of shots, split between the paddock and the pit lane.

The Pit Lane

Attack creates a true spectacle out of the pit lane, lining up some of the top cars in front every pit as each team and driver prepares for the day ahead.


I usually walk it from the end where ‘Fire’ Ando and his Escort-built CT9A Mitsubishi Lancer Evo set up pit.


These guys are chasing Under Suzuki so hard, and it’s truly impressive to see how close they’ve come in such a short amount of time. I still recall seeing Ando’s Evo IX in the paddock four or five years ago, without any livery, and wondering who it belonged to and where it had come from.


Last year Ando-san managed to record the quickest time at Attack’s Tsukuba round, a 51.119-second lap. He topped the time sheet again this year, but with a 50.739. That’s not luck; fine tuning and improvements over the last year have allowed the team to push extra hard, but the craziest thing is that conditions weren’t even optimal. It was about 5°C (41°F) warmer than it usually is for this event, and was clouded over for most of the morning which left the track damp from the previous night’s rain until mid-morning. The day before, during practice and in slightly more favorable conditions, Ando clocked a 51.716-sec lap, hinting that there is still potential in the car’s 2020 setup. Incidentally, 50.739 is the fastest time ever recorded for an AWD car at Tsukuba Circuit.


It was great to see the M’s Cayman GT3 parked up, waiting for the morning session to begin.


It certainly looks like it’s in need of an update feature here on Speedhunters.

This thing keeps getting more and more serious, as reflected in its 58.708-second best lap.


Seeing time attack cars like the Yellow Factory EG6 Civic still being evolved boggles my mind. Kaneko-san managed a 57.279-second lap, putting him 13th overall on the day.


The Reverse VAB Impreza got me thinking that in a few years we’ll be seeing tuned versions of the rumored new STI at events like this one. As the EJ-series engine will be no more, there’ll be another new Subaru powerplant that tuners will be challenged to build upon.


57.820-seconds was the quickest lap time for this Evo V. We all love screamer pipes poked out through hoods, don’t we?


The Admix R32 definitely won in that department.


The twin-scroll GCG/Garrett turbocharger and subsequent twin wastegate setup makes this car sound insane at full noise down the Tsukuba back straight.


Here’s another sub-58-second Civic, the GNR Racing EK9 built with Garage Rise up. 57.100 was its best lap at Attack Tsukuba 2020.


I remember when I first saw this CBY-developed Levin at the Daikoku PA 86 Day meet a decade ago.

Things have come a long way since then, so much so that I’ve decided to do a proper feature on this thing. Just look at that engine bay…


Like everyone on the day, the Aslan K24-powered EG6 Civic was struggling to find grip in the not-so-favorable conditions, but it still managed a 57.140. Kenneth Lau in his further-evolved (since seeing it at the 2019 event) DC2 Integra recorded a 58.662-second lap.

That was the pit lane – now let’s check out what the paddock looked like…

The Paddock

Attack always manages to pack an insane amount of cars into the Tsukuba paddock. In the best Rev Speed Super Battle years I recall 70 or so cars making it, but 94 entrants signed up for this event. One of them was the TFR FD3S RX-7, which we have seen evolve substantially over the years, starting at Battle Evome. It’s now running a modified version of the Pan Speed aero, and a further enhanced mechanical setup. 55.340-seconds was its fastest lap.


Away from the main area of the paddock and towards the smaller top section on the inside of Turn 1 is where many of the amateur cars are parked up.


That’s where I came across these badass Material JZA80 Supras, the white one running a Ridox aero conversion, the other a Tamon wide-body. Lap-time-wise, they ran 1.01.577 and 1.00.301 respectively.


In front of them was this Feed GT3-kitted FD3S. I’ve since concluded that this is my all-time favorite aero conversion for the ageless RX-7.


I mean, just look at those fenders… How in the name of everything that is holy is this a 30-year-old car?


Of course, FDs can take many shapes and forms as the Full Stage 20B-powered machine perfectly exemplifies. This was the fastest naturally aspirated car on the day, 7th overall (the numbers worked out nicely there) with a 55.790-second lap.


This Porsche and McLaren combo were an unexpected surprise. It was fun seeing such prized exotics actually driven in anger; the GT2 RS looked ballistic on the straights and even more so with those massive 21-inch Yokohama Advan Racing GT wheels. The Senna managed a 1-minute flat lap, and the GT2 was three seconds behind that.


For me, it’s cars like this Renault Megane that define what the Japanese enthusiast scene is all about. There’s an ability to take any car and give it that little twist of JDM-ness that makes you look at them in a completely different light, and RAYS Volk Racing CE28s (ZE40s at the back) along with a carbon lip and hood is how it was achieved here. Incidentally, this RS clocked a 1.05.013 lap (on radial tires), which put the car in last position. That shows you just how fast everyone really is at Attack.


TCP Magic fenders are another good choice if you want to add some real aggression to your FD RX-7.


There were only a handful of GT-Rs at the event, but the quality was top notch. This BNR34 from Reverse recorded a best lap of 1.01.175.


A second faster with a 1.00.187 was this R32 from Admix. It’s running the tried and trusted old school setup of a slightly stroked bottom end mated to a nasty Trust T88 turbo for plenty of dirty, screaming RB power.


ATTKD must have really done some magic with this particular Nismo R35 GT-R, as it ended up being the 10th fastest car on the day with a 56.875-second lap.


In second place, and yet still over three seconds away from Ando-san and his Escort Evo IX was Bando-san and his JZZ30 Soarer, managing a 53.886-second lap.


This is another car that deserves a full reshoot. If you’ve been following Speedhunters since the early days, you might remember my feature from nine years ago, shot at the Auto Bahn shop in Ibaraki-ken. Much like Under Suzuki’s S15, it’s been awesome to see Bando-san’s Soarer evolve into the wild machine it is today.


This 59-second Garage Mak Silvia stood out like crazy in the paddock.


It’s such a well put together car from the guys that could easily call themselves S15 specialists.


Now, this is interesting. Stay tuned for a spotlight…


Another blast from the past, Koseki-san’s Tamon Design-kitted Scoot FD3S RX-7, the first 4-rotor-powered car I ever rode in.


Trust/GReddy was onsite with a booth and their D1GP R35.


The screamer pipe game is on point here, too.


I noticed a few cars in the spectator carpark wearing the famed Mid Night sticker, but wasn’t sure why until I saw this 911 GT3 RS.

This is owned and driven by one of the original members of the club, and it looked so good on a set of BBS E88s.


However, this Suzuki Twin was my overall pick for best-looking car of the event. The level of awesomeness (and JDM-ness) is strong with this one. Japan, we love you.


I’ll just leave this here. Have you ever seen an S2000 look so good?


I hope you enjoyed this slightly different look at Attack. Stay tuned for the three spotlights I have coming for you, and then we’ll cross over to Nostalgic 2 Days 2020 which happened over the same weekend.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Great to see that Time Attack seems more than healthy, and the cars, my god, looking at the old shots of the soarer from nine yeats ago, and now this ? It looks like a GT300 car. These heavily modified bodykits like the one the Evo, do they test these via software simulation before they actually build them ? They look incredible complex. Also speaking of the Evo, what happpend to the Cyber Evo guys ? Anyway, great coverage, as always, thank you !

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah it's pretty crazy how it's changed. Not sure they use CFD, the only guy I know that does that is Andrew Brilliant of AMB Aero and the Soarer runs his front spoiler and rear wing, the same as used on Under's S15.


Speaking of testing, doesn't Voltex wind tunnel test their aero?


GT300 car is a hunter.


Hmm i remember a particular set of pics from such a time attack event with a crashed lambo wearing a mid night sticker, and then either the driver or another member removing the sticker. Why was the article deleted? I mean everybody in attendance could see what was going down..or was that too much shame for the club=

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That was at Sodegaura. Blake shot that. Not sure what the deal was but the did ask us to take the pix down.


Wonderful article! We need a spotlight o the Suzuki Twin! ;)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thank you! I did a little spotlight of the car on my IG account ;)


The yellow NA Eg6 I love that feeling when it all comes together into one, time just stops at the apex, until you reach for that next corner


Lol imagine cornering in that suzuki ??


With that short of a wheel base, I think I'd be terrified taking that last high-speed corner.


I don't think you could ever make a time attack post too long. I could sit here and scroll for a day and still want more.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Haha I agree. Pictures speak a 1000 words...


Timelap of that Suzuki Twin?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

45 sec lol


S-two-thousand. I'd like to see more about these as I still think that they hold the best chance of lowering the times, along with the RX7s.

They have just the right balance of weight and drivetrain.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah you would think but even Top Fuel struggled to push much past that time bracket they were stuck in for so long.


It’s just a shame that it was suggested the Midnight members whose cars were in the car park (including the club president) got there ‘stickers from a supermarket’ .

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

"I noticed a few cars in the spectator carpark wearing the famed Mid Night sticker, but wasn’t sure why until I saw this 911 GT3 RS."

You sure have a funny way of interpreting the statement when it isn't even close to implying what you thought it said.

Rafał Szulejko

This is the topic that drew me to Speedhunters and really never bores me. I hope to see more similar articles and features from the paddock.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

There are a few coming


Love how almost every one of those fds are running v-mounts. Nice to see the fd still being a track weapon. Here I am dreaming about just getting my stock body fd back on the road... T-T

Dino Dalle Carbonare

V-mounts are an absolute must in an FD. So much space in front and you shorten up the piping


Dino, about that grey RX-7 and that GT3, why Mid Night members starting to appear on events also some of them have Instagram accounts now. Any info about that?


Search for Stevespov on YouTube for the reason. They have never been secret loads of info in various Japanese media through the years.


Please guys more info or feature abou that supras !


Does the Scoot FD3S RX-7 have a completely different rear end, or is it just the angle of the photo?


where are all the A90 supra..


Any chance of a spotlight on Ando's evo in the current guise?


It's so good to see the experimentation and development of the cars over there. Time Attack is as strong as it's ever been there. I'd love to get the 240rs Maxi to Tsukuba as it was the original spark to build the car in 2005 (as well as a Berg Cup event). Besides all the usual awesome Japanese cars, that Cayman is pretty badass. Great coverage as always Dino!

Herbert Berger

Under Suzuki S15???


Currently in rebuild process as his S15 involved heavy crash at WTAC 19


I'm rather shocked to see that a Mclaren Senna and an R32 with no aero aids got almost the same time. Also totally in agreement about the FD3S RX-7, they look wonderful now, but I remember seeing one when they first arrived and was utterly captivated.


Cool. A naturally aspirated civic is faster than a Senna.

Oswald Hoogeveen

Wait, so a lot of Civics are faster around the track than a McLaren Senna??