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