Setting The Wheels In Motion: Japanese Classic Track Day

Japanese cars have always been mainstay of Speedhunters. Some might argue that at times we delve too far into Japanese car culture, and others might think we should go deeper still. In comparison to many of my Speedhunting brethren, my own appreciation for Japanese vehicles is in its infancy.

That isn’t to say I don’t like them, because I do, but in a battle of Speedhunters JDM supremacy, I’d be bringing a knife to a gun fight. However, I’m always down to step a little further into the pool of fanaticism, so I gladly took up an offer to attend a local lapping day specifically for classic Japanese vehicles.

The event, dubbed simply ‘Japan Classic Track Day’ (JCTD), is the brain child of Navin Pillai and Tim Corbin. Navin owns the AE86 above, while the G-nosed Datsun is Tim’s. I’ve known both guys for few years now, and each are veterans of the local scene in their own right.

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JCTD came about when the pair realized the Ontario car community was missing a lapping day consisting of only vintage J-tin. While the premise of such an event might sound pretentious, it was actually one of the most culturally diverse events I’d been to in recent memory. Coincidentally, it was also the first event I’d been to in a long time as well. Thanks COVID.

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The smell of gas and tire smoke, paired with a mature crowd, was a great bit of normalcy in a year that has been anything but.

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With cool cars both on and off the track, there was no losing anywhere I chose to point my camera. Starting with an NSX is a bit of an easy win, but heck, what kind of Speedhunter would I be if I didn’t take a few photos of this darn near flawless piece of machinery?

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It’s really quite impressive how well the NSX has aged. The face-lifted models are 18 years old at this point, and the fixed headlight update really gave them that extra bit of staying power.

Don’t worry pop-up fans, I’m not saying the fixed ones are better. They’re just different, and different isn’t always a bad thing.

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Hanging on the topic of headlights for a moment, the retractable units on this Toyota Celica GT-S certainly scream nostalgia. The fold forward option was a different way of approaching the aerodynamic challenges wedge-shaped cars faced with their headlights.

Overall, this third-gen Celica was shockingly clean and the era-correct Prime mesh wheels are a fantastic choice.

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A proper fitting – visually and physically – set of wheels go a long way. In the world of perfect packages, one can’t go wrong with genuine Panasport wheels on an AE86.

This wasn’t a rad-era event, but these two cars are undoubtedly rad.

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At its core, JCTD was a lapping day, not any sort of sanctioned racing event, and as such, many of the formalities that make racing or even timed events not for everyone were forgone. There were morning and afternoon sessions, each split into several groups of drivers. Quick and to the point driver’s meetings were held to make sure that everyone stayed pointing in the right direction and all the cars would survive the day.

A capped overall attendance meant each participant got ample amounts of track time. The varied turnout of cars, and their unique groupings resulted in many fun on-track pairings.

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An Electron Blue EJ Honda Civic sprinting away from a Datsun 510 was right at home at JCTD.

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I’m a sucker for a clean Datsun, so I made use of a track break to pore over the little 510 coupe. An intercooler tucked behind the grill hinted at an upgrade or two, and power in this case came from an SR20. The later-model turbo four cylinder did a great job of motivating the car around the track.

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While gawking at the Datsun I had the chance to chat to the owner of the Soarer above who was pitted beside the 510. On the luxury sport end of things, these cars are a bit of an under-appreciated gem in Toyota’s lineup. But as other models go up in price I’m sure that will change.

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As someone who was very much a party to the original Fast and Furious era, I feel the need to apologize on behalf of all of us for doing terrible things to anything with a Honda badge. CR-Xs in particular received more than their fair share of questionable modifications, so clean examples are darn hard to come by these days. That’s a shame too, because they are such great little cars.

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Event runner Tim’s own car was easily a favorite of everyone in attendance, and he wasn’t at all afraid to give it the beans. Ground Control coilovers and a bevy of Techno Toy Tuning components, paired with giant 305/35 rubber out back provided a ton of mechanical grip making the car super fun to watch.

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Under the hood is an L28 stroked to 3.0L, breathing through triple trumpet-equipped Mikuni carbs. I know, I know, an engine like this deserves a sound byte. I’ll have to loop back around for that on my next encounter.

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Navin, the other half of the organizing team, has said goodbye to the standard Toyota sewing machine in favor of a Honda K20 for his AE86. The combination worked rather well out on the track with the car hitting every scheduled session without so much of a hiccup. When fitted with ITBs, naturally aspirated K20s sound simply amazing at full chat.

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The big wing, combined with Toyo Proxes R888R tires kept the car plenty stable through the 2.23-kilometre track.

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Looking slightly less planted but no less potent, the other AE86 on the track was attacking the corners with the foot-the-f**k-down mentality I’m now used to seeing from essentially every Corolla owner I know.

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As previously mentioned, this event wasn’t timed – at least not officially – but I’ll be damned if this car wasn’t flying around the track anyway, and often closely followed by another rather low, screaming Toyota.

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This was, unfortunately the first and last JCTD event of the year, but the phrase ‘bigger and better’ has already been attached to 2021’s event.

Given the success of this one, I can’t wait.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom

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35 comments

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1

that was awesome!

2

I don't know who you used to advertise this, but we have way more, and as nice Japanese classic cars than those who showed up to this event. Scraped from the bottom of the barrel.

3

I am one of the organizers and yes we know there are many more old jdm cars in the GTA but not all want to track their cars...

4

I see two R34 GTRs, and in the US. That's the bottom of the barrel? By the way he covered it, and with the cap on people to maximize track time, this also seems more like a group of friends who own JDM cars then a full on race event.

Author5

Considering it was a first event, during Covid times, with a track element, and near the end of a season here in Ontario the turn out was great!

6

I'm in the GTA and there's 2 R33 GTR's parked at home and I never heard anything about this event going on.

7

It was a trackday , you pay for the Day at the track and there is grouped lapping sessions. It’s not a race

8

disregard. my phone only showed me a Celica. Didn't see the rest.

9

Haha, I love that last correction. Imagine looking at a story on a JDM track day and the only picture that would load was of a Celica.... I'd be disappointed as well.

10

Why not more coverage/photos of the GTRs? In the US, that's quite a rare sight since the 25 years isn't up! Are they motorex? Because if so, that's insane. I'm assuming they're just some hush hush ones that were imported through dubious means? Maybe show and display cars? Loved the article and can't wait to see next years.

11

There were 4 r34gtrs present that day and another 3 or 4 r34 GTT’s , they are all street legal and driven here

12

if you actually read the article you'd see this was in canada, not the US

13

Did read the article, my brain autocorrected Ontario to a US state. Yes, I’m an idiot. Thanks for pointing that out for me.

14

Starting with an NSX-R is a bit of an easy win, but heck, what kind of Speedhunter would I be if I didn’t take a few photos of this darn near flawless piece of machinery?



Was there a North American market LHD offering of a NA2 NSX-R I didn't know about? If so, inquiring minds would like to know.

15
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

It isn't an NSX-R. Probably an error on Dave's side. NSX-R comes with Momo Tuner steering wheel as well, instead of the standard item with airbag. Also, NA2 NSX-Rs come with shift light indicator in the tachometer as well.

Author16

Your're right it's a standard done to look like an R, I've been duped, still awesome though!

17

Hey guys, that’s my NA2 NSX. It’s far from a Type R but I love it. Thanks for the coverage Dave and is there a way I can get high rez versions? My IG is kurumabakka

18

That silver R33 is an Autech Version parked beside the blue R34 is one of 400-ish cars! Probably the rarest car there, should've covered that more!

Author19

I knew there was something different about it. I went back and looked through my photos and I've added one of the car. I'll have to keep a greater eye out for it next time!

20
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Man... Tim's ride is bonkers! 305 width rear tyres on a featherweight car? That's some mind-boggling mechanical grip! And that wing on Navin's AE86 looks really nice! Surely it will need all the downforce with all the extra newfound power from that K20 swap.

21

Haha thanks man , it’s the only size tires I could find to fit the 15x12 watanabes .. and yeh grip for days ! Lol

22

12!?!? whuuut

23

Holy hell, 12" width? That's insane!

24

Damn, full on jdm.Really love the civic type R pic on the track.NICE CUT G

25

Awesome read/coverage, can’t wait for the next :)

26

It’s just my personal opinion, but I firmly think, that the NA1 NSX, is heavily dated by its popup headlights...(same with the FD RX-7.) That’s why I’ll always prefer NA1’s with fixed headlight conversions, over ones with popups. But at the end of the day, in my eyes, the NA2 will always be the best looking of the 3 generations of NSX.

27

I'm the opposite, I have a weird obsession w popup headlights lol..

28

You ain't the only one mate. FDs with RE Amemiya's fixed headlights are pure sex!

29

lol dis article reminds me of those good ol cartoons yo

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30

man i really hope to participate in something like this with my ae86 one day... but I'm too scared I'll bump in other cars. Hell I don't even know how to drift. don't even know of a place I could learn, my local track got closed down and police watch the empty parking lots at night...

31
Jeffery A. Farkas

Sucked that my turbo Miata broke down but I was surprised that there was no pictures of my Z.

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32
Jeffery A. Farkas

Sucked that my Miata turbo broke down but I was both surprised and disappointed that there wasn’t any pictures of my Z !

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Author33

You left when I showed up then left again when I was on track :/

Author34

White or brownish?

35

Covid-19 would like to thank you for the kind words and would like to introduce you to it’s new friend Covid-XX to continue please vote leftist, thank you for mandatory compliance with house arrest : end

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