Last weekend, Dino and I, along with thousands of other fans, braved torrential rain to give some love to one of our favourite wheels – those made by RAYS.
Across the many parking areas and exhibition grounds of Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture, over 500 owners showed up to show off their RAYS wheel-equipped cars at the 2022 RAYS Fan Meeting, and check out what else was new in the world of tuning and performance.
After a late breakfast and several coffees, I headed down to the legendary circuit nestled in the foothills of Fuji-san. A few text messages to Dino confirmed that patches of rain were creating a nuisance, but I thought my raincoat and weatherproof Nikon would allow me to keep me shooting. On arrival, I was ushered into a parking area and parked Project GC8 next to a very tasty A90 Supra.
Arriving late means two things: I was well rested and feeling replete, which was good as the aforementioned parking area was a 15-minute uphill walk to the main gates. The dark clouds over the circuit threatened rain, so I set my focus on getting some shots before the heavens opened.
The main forecourt in front of the grandstands held trade stalls from all the big names including KW Suspension, Arai and Yokohama, plus anyone who’s anyone in the Japanese automotive industry. And as you know, there are plenty to choose from.
As I walked through the stalls I started wondering where all the RAYS stuff was. After all, this was a RAYS meet.
I realised afterwards that peers can be fans too. Plus, there were more display areas. I was probably due another coffee.
Japanese people are pretty well geared up for rain, which is no surprise considering that during tsuyu, or ‘rainy season’ it pretty much stays wet for over a month. Umbrellas and waterproof shoes do the trick for most people.
No event would be complete without a hefty GT-R turnout, and this was no exception. The drag GT-R on display from Full Stage was exceptionally hefty, definitely something I want to see in action. You might remember their time attack FD3S RX-7, which you’ll see again in a bit.
I tried my best to hunt out all the RAYS wheels I could find, while filtering out all the other tasty cars on display. That’s harder than you might think, especially if you’re as easily distracted as I am.
Case in point, one of my favourite Datsuns.
A few cars from Star Road and Rocky Auto and I was another 10 minutes down the kyusha rabbit hole. But the longer I lingered, the more impending the rain became.
Under a plastic sheet was Mazda’s 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans works ‘254i’, which Ron spotted a while back. It’s now looking freshly restored, which means it’s due for another Speedhunters shoot. Watch this space…
Rally Japan had the rally car that started it all for Subaru, the Prodrive Legacy RS, as driven by the legend himself, Colin McRae. Of course it’s wearing Speedline wheels, but RAYS later became synonymous with the works WRX.
Ok, time to get a wriggle on. Heading down to the P7 parking area, I finally found the 500+ fan cars that had turned up to show off their RAYS wheels. At the first corner, punters we’re greeted by this wide-body NSX.
A little further along, it soon became obvious this would be a proper mixed bag of car and wheel combos.
Let me walk you through and I promise I’ll keep my trivial commentary to a minimum; I’ll be bringing you a closer look at some of the standout wheels in my next post. Enjoy the gallery and I’ll catch up with you at the end of the day…
Ok, here’s the time attack RX-7 from Full Stage. Single-exit center exhaust for extra Batman points.
By the time I had snaked my way through the rows of cars on show, the rain had well and truly set in. My clothes where soaked, my raincoat sodden, and my camera had starting to freak out from being basically submerged in water for three hours. It was time to head home, dry off and chill out.
On my long wet walk back to my car park, I spotted this supercharged AE92 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Z, which looked as fresh as it did back in 1989.
The parking lots were thinning out, so I took the opportunity to park up next to another blue legend to see who was the bluest.
There was on more shot to get: Project GC8, wearing RAYS-made STI wheels, sitting in the rain under the iconic Fuji Speedway main gates. If I had just got this shot I would have been happy, so you can image my joy after spending the day with so many incredible cars wearing the best Japanese wheels.
I also shot a short video which you can watch here.