It’s the last day of 2021, which means another year of Speedhunting is now in the books. Whether you’re a long-time reader or brand new to the site, we really hope that our curated automotive content has informed, entertained or inspired you in some small way over the course of the last 12 months.
It’s been another tough year all around, but with 2021 almost in the rear-view mirror we can now start focussing on 2022, which we all hope will be amazing. Here’s what some of us have planned…
Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst – it’s really the only way to approach 2022 in the current climate, isn’t it? Looking back at 2021, I still can’t believe that Tokyo Auto Salon was cancelled. When you think about it, it’s almost unimaginable, but you could say that of so many things right now. Hopefully though, TAS 2022 – scheduled to run between January 14 and 16 – does happen, because it really anchors the Japanese tuning scene as a whole.
I’m hoping what we see at the Makuhari Messe and what people and companies have been hard at work on (and still are for the most part, pre-TAS rush and all) will put Japanese tuning culture back on the map again, or at the very least bring a new wave of freshness. I mean, 2022 is the year the new Z is hitting dealers, and that’s huge. For me, it’s a way bigger deal than when the A90 Supra launched, because the new Z is a car that Nissan developed and evolved by themselves, it comes with a real manual transmission, and it’s turbocharged. Nissan Japan has said it will have a car on its TAS booth along with the 2022 GT500 race car, but we won’t be seeing any builds on this new platform (which is still an Z34, by the way) until 2023. That doesn’t lessen my excitement though.
On the subject of new cars, or at least refreshed ones, I’m keen to see what builders will do with the 2022 Toyota GR86. Daigo Saito is building one and there are already some badass examples floating around, like the Pandem Cusco car. For forthcoming product releases, there are a few things I’m excited about, starting off with the new Yokohama Advan Neova AD09 tire. By now you’ll likely know that I’m a big Neova fan, so for Yokohama to have evolved it is something very special. I recently got to watch some shakedown sessions and also try the pre-production tire for myself, so stay tuned for a story on that in January.
What I’m most looking forward to in 2022 however, is seeing how far I can get with Project GT-R. I really want to get it back on the road, and Mark’s latest update on his R34 GT-R has filled me with energy. Then of course there’s Project 964, which I’m thinking about renaming ‘Project Money Pit’. I’m sure it will evolve over the coming 12 months, but it’s sure to be slow and painful. And finally there’s Project Drop Top 2.0, which has been on the back-burner over the past year, but really deserves some attention. This all makes for a fun-filled 2022 to look forward to, but the best thing of all is that I get to share it with you guys. Dino Dalle Carbonare
It’s difficult to think about the future without at least some consideration for the last two years. While we can hope that the worst is now behind us, it doesn’t mean that we’re fully in the clear either. However, travel restrictions and an inability to do real Speedhunting over the last while have served to focus the mind on what really matters. For 2022, I’m trying to commit to doing more of the things that I really want to do. As things currently stand, there’s plans afoot to cover three of Ireland’s national motorsport series and one world championship in as close to their entirety as possible. That’s 28 out of 52 weekends next year which have already been allocated to hunting speed in various shapes and sizes, and I still hope to add a few more wildcard events into the mix. More than anything though, I’m looking forward to meeting and catching up with people whom I’ve scarcely seen or spent any time with over the last 20+ months. And while I don’t think that 2022 will be a return to ‘normal’ just yet, I do think (and hope) we’re getting a hell of a lot closer to it. Paddy McGrath
I’m not a person that feels down very easily, but I’d be lying if I said 2021 wasn’t a bit of a tough one. Almost all automotive events here in South Africa were cancelled, which sucked, both in the sense of not being able to go out to see mates and other car enthusiasts, and finding new and exciting car builds to shoot. In fact, right now we are still in a ‘level 1′ lockdown and even have a curfew in place. Fun.
That said, work-wise I had a crazy-busy year photographing and filming all kinds of genres. What I wish I had more time for was car-related stuff. I did loads of automotive films this year, but I certainly missed putting together stories here on Speedhunters. That’s why my plan for 2022 is to be a lot more active on the site. I’ve already shot a few really interesting cars, and have more shoots in the pipeline. South African events should also be returning in the coming year, and I’m really looking forward to getting out to as many as I possibly can, whether they’re show or motorsport-based.
This year I finally picked up a project car – which I just introduced – and I’ve been enjoying it so much that it’s all I’ve been driving. It’s a 1999 Lexus LS 400, which is in decent condition for a 22-year-old car. But more than that, it’s so mechanically sound it’s almost unbelievable. I have big plans for this one, and I’ll be updating you as soon as I can. Then there’s another potential project. We have an E36 BMW shell in the family that I really want to turn into a track car. The idea would be to make it look similar to the STW BMWs, but instead of BMW engine power I’d be going for a Japanese four-cylinder. I’m really hoping that this one pans out.
Overall though, I’m just really looking forward to 2022 and I can’t wait to fill it with loads of Speedhunting. Stefan Kotze
Ah 2022, how glad we are to see you (really hoping to not regret that sentence!). It’s a funny time right now, tentative on one hand due to the ever-changing landscape, but also hopeful for a return to freedom, normality, and some really exciting events in the new year.
Top of the list for me in ’22 is the new WRC season, and the tantalising prospect of jumping into the unknown with a new era of hybrid ‘Rally 1’ machines, and witnessing a depth of talent right through the three leading teams not seen for quite a while, all tackling a mix of classic, returning and new events. Portugal in May has me tempted, but the real excitement is the prospect of Rally GB upping sticks to Northern Ireland and regaining the open slot in the calendar for August.
Away from rallying, the other big event I am incredibly excited for is the Isle of Man TT. After two long years of silence, the mountain course is due the awakening sound of screaming bikes. It’s a dip into the unknown for 2022, as the whole field have been away from racing for two full years now, and only a handful of smaller local-level events lie between now and the first bike roaring down Bray Hill at the end of May. To say the excitement for this has been building for a while is an understatement – my ferry for Race Week has been booked since May 2019! Cian Donnellan
Given the current state of the world, it’s difficult to say how many of my personal wishes for 2022 are actually possible, but a boy can dream, right?
Having been in Japan for the entirety of the pandemic, I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of my relative freedom to live life normally. But it’s meant no return home to the UK for holidays, constant mask wearing and overly cautious locals making it difficult to make new friends outside of work.
Looking forward, I’d love to have a beer in a British pub with my dad; I’d love to travel to Hong Kong; and I’d love to throw my mask into the furnaces of hell. In reality I’ll probably have to settle with more realistic goals, like fitting a new transmission in Project GC8. I also can’t wait to take a spin in Madlane’s amazing 935 replica, and I’d love to take a trip up to Hokkaido for a spell of fresh air, a spot of camping and to check out the scene of course. There’s plenty to look forward to, and it certainly beats looking back. Toby Thyer
To me, Speedhunters has always been the pinnacle of enthusiast-driven car content. When I first came across the website in 2008, it really resonated with me. Having had sporadic interactions with members of the team (starting with the first Retro Toyota Corolla Gathering at the Ace Cafe in 2009) and having the very first #featurethis car on the website, Speedhunters has been a huge inspiration and influence for both my cars and photography over the years. To be able to have the platform to share the stories of others and my own is a huge personal accomplishment. I am not a professional photographer by any means, having a regular job and other commitments, but my passion for everything automotive and photography means the two have always been mutually inclusive of one another. For the forthcoming year, I’m eager to document as much of the UK automotive landscape as possible, the slow but methodical building of my AE86s and Subaru (more on these soon), along with coverage of everything from huge international-level events to small, skilled workshops not often in view of the public eye. A photo without context is, however, only half the story. The people behind the builds are equally as important and my hope is to do them justice. Thanks for having me come onboard and stay tuned. Chaydon Ford