A Porsche 997 GT3 Carrying The Torch For Mid Night

For every kid who grew up in the ’90s obsessing over Japanese car culture, stories of the infamous Mid Night Racing Team were impossible to ignore.

And how many of us wished we could be a part of it? Admittedly, back in the day I was fantasising about joining the grunge band Nirvana, not an underground racing team in Japan. But despite the car culture bug biting me a bit later than some, the magnitude and history (spanning four decades now) of Mid Night is as infectious now as it was all those years ago.


It’s a very different story for Miyakawa-san, though. He’s one of the new generation Mid Night members who continue to wear the silver sticker with pride, albeit with the club’s focus now more centered around time attack than just street running. But that doesn’t mean joining the Mid Night ranks hasn’t been Miyakawa-san’s sole focus; it has for as long as he can remember.


Impressed by other Mid Night cars, including Nanami-san’s 964 Turbo and Noguchi-san’s 996 GT3, Miyakawa-san set his sights on one day owning a Porsche and, in time, maybe, just maybe, being able to become a fully-fledged member of the team.


Porsches have always been a pillar of Mid Night – even right back to the club’s inception – so Miyakawa-san’s choice of a 997 GT3 over something turbocharged and Nissan isn’t as odd as you’d first think.


But how exactly do you go about joining such a team? The process still remains a long and arduous one; you’re not just given your stickers and away you go. In fact, for those still in their early days, pink Mid Night stickers are used to signify their probationary status before becoming full club members.


But here’s the thing – Mid Night has never been some super-mysterious club with hidden identities. The information and people have always been out there, be it in old magazines or through specific tuning houses. The club’s code of conduct still gives hierarchy to elders who’ve put decades of their time into it, and while egos remain a necessary by-product, those members are still scrutinised for how they behave both on and off the track.


Just being nice and well-behaved isn’t enough though; first and foremost you need to be fast. But it’s not only about straight line speed. Irrespective of what other sources have cited, Mid Night’s focus has always been about being fast on the circuit and winding roads. So much so in fact, that the Hakone touge was fiercely battled in the past.

Having a car capable of ridiculous speed wasn’t always necessary; having one capable of maintaining high speeds for a long time – and being just as skilled when the roads got twisty – has been the real key to success.


Today’s Mid Night team are solely focused on track driving, with circuits like Tsukuba and Fuji Speedway the go-to spots. There’s been an influx of new members in recent years – hence why you’ll see quite a few Mid Night-stickered cars at various time attack events now, but they maintain their rules of conduct and recruitment just like years gone by. There’s still an individual president at the top, and Miyakawa-san knew he needed to prove his ability and dedication on and off the track to earn a place on the team.


He spent a few years tuning and racing GT-Rs, including an R32 and R34 and peaking with a 1,000hp R35 GT-R fitted with a full dry carbon aero kit. Miyakawa-san has also owned an AE86 Toyota Trueno and Suzuki Cappuccino for practice, as well as a Nissan Z33. Nine years ago he picked up the 997 GT3 and elevated his driving to a new level.


The 997 certainly looks the part, having be upgraded with genuine GT3 Cup bumpers front and rear, genuine Cup mirrors and dry carbon engine hood, one-off front fenders from The Check Shop and a huge rear wing.


While the 3.6L engine out back remains internally stock, it breathes freer thanks to an AFE air filter and Volcano exhaust manifold. The 6-speed transaxle runs an Arugos twin-plate clutch and an OS Giken Super Lock LSD with GT3 Cup 4.0:1 final drive.


The suspension uses a number of genuine GT3 Cup components, including both front and rear uprights, lower arms and hubs. JRZ Motorsports 3-way coilovers feature at all four corners, as do StopTech Trophy brakes – 6-pot callipers up front and 4-pots out back, all fitted with Endless pads.  Finally, the wheels – one-off, center-locks from Agio, measuring 18×9-inch and 18×12-inch with Hoosier A7 tyres in 245/40R18 and 315/30R18 front and rear respectively.


But if you think it’s the brilliant chassis of the GT3, the 415hp on tap or the mods that have opened the door for Miyakawa-san, then think again, because you’re only half right.


For years, Miyakawa-san honed his driving skill on the track. He mapped his racing lines using a DigSpice GPS tracker and timer, refining every entry and exit of every corner, and reviewing the data logs with scrutiny in order to shave tenths of seconds off his lap times.


Finally, the practice paid off; Miyakawa-san entered his first race – a seven-hour endurance – alongside Mid Night seniors and placed 2nd outright. He then went on to clock a 1:52:222 lap of Fuji Speedway, which is considerably quicker than Keiichi Tsuchiya’s 2:01.18 in a Porsche 911 Carrera S (997), and sits in the top 15 submitted by Best Motoring. For reference, Fuji’s fastest car lap times are around the 1:42 mark.


Of course, these are all numbers and we can debate the many factors which contribute to a certain lap time. But the important thing to take away from this is that something caught the attention of the club’s senior members and got Miyakawa-san noticed. And that special something helped him earn his place in the Mid Night Racing Team. 

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_



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This car is an icon! Glad to know more about the modern day Mid Night Club. If I'm not mistaken there's also a white Mid Night 991 GT3 RS track car


It's actually wild that that team still exists to some capacity.. especially after seeing Yoshida-san’s special 930 in the back of some small random car dealership somewhere in japan.
I wonder if this team's "elders" are the OG's of the first set of people to make/join Mid Night.
The 997 gt3 is becoming more and more popular again i feel too, seeing it in fastX, having Vin from the Hoonigans buy a 997 GT3RS as well, cool car for great speeds. Great Article too by the way!


It's great that new gen tries to carry the torch and represent but the real folklore of Mid Night is gone. Illegal, highspeed racing was integral part of that narrative and now its mostly confined to circuits - perhaps someone can shed light on their current street racing activities? Yes, public safety cannot be ignored but can you be honest to yourself that racing on the streets and passing civilian cars at 300km/h was what you came to see and what made the name legendary? This is Tom Cruise playing a samurai here. Checks all corporate PR list but does not feel authentic.

Would be nice if they just started a new club based on Mid Night hierarchy and called it another name.

Actually, those Kanjo racers in Civics is doing Mid Night now...


As 3pron said, Misoji's is still active on the Wangan. Being that they were in their prime during the early to mid 2000s the power numbers were rising and some of their top speeds were as high 340-450kph with side mirrors folded in and a tail-wind. Also R9 Racing Team is another that runs the C1. Some of their cars include a black 964 Turbo with a Martini livery and a 1000bhp white JZA80. There's also a few lone runners including Yamaguchi's 993 that races on slicks. The early 2000s Wangan era is one of my favorites.


There is a street racing team in Japan very similar to Mid Night, it's called Misoji's, they race on highways like they did in the 90s, their chairman died in an accident in october 2015, but the members are still racing in yokohama.


Awesome. Can always learn something new on SH


As time goes by things change dude. Cant street race forever; not only is the publics safety different but probably the number of drivers on the road, the amount of safety measures on the highways, etc. Like many the team has to adapt to change


Totally agree with changes. The OG's blessing new youngsters probably have new interests in life too (golf, grand kids, etc) and not too concern about it neither.

If this 997 did not have a Mid Night sticker, how would it be different than other time attack builds featured on SH? Why do new gen need to associate with Mid Night at all? As change happens the original Mid Night formula will move so far away from the original that it's something else entirely different. Somewhat odd for a cult-like group in Japan, where their culture lives and thrives off traditions.

Mid Night could have ended in the 90s and left at that. Schumacher should've retired with Ferrari. Jordan should've retired with the Bulls. And the list goes on. "It's better to burn out than to fade away" right?


I get where you're goin but Mid Night is a club, its not an individual. The club leaders decide on how it will conduct itself and will carry on. While they were known primarily for street racing what they really focused on was being fast (like really fast) and public safety, and it seems they've kept those ideals while moving away from endangering the public. After the accident with the bosozoku it was never going to be the same.

"If this 997 did not have a Mid Night sticker, how would it be different than other time attack builds featured on SH?" The Bulls wouldn't be the BULLS without Mj, Ferrari wouldn't be the same without Schumacher, and in the same sense Mid Night wouldn't be the same without its memebers. Anyone can buy a fast car but that doesn't make them a fast driver. The Mid Night sticker shows others that the driver behind the wheel is a force to be reckoned with; anytime they show up to events they're not to be taken lightly.


Obviously, these guys are smart! If Porsche is involved, it's ALWAYS fantastic. Even in Japan, with all that JDM stuff, Porsche shows it's muscle. Nice car! Can't touch German engineering jack!!!


Nice article Toby. It would be interesting to shed some light on the modern non-track activities that are going on. I still drove out with a small group of close friends that have been driving together for 20yrs so I would
imagine that these guys don’t leave it all at the track..


Hey Joe! That might be a story for another time;)


Said everythimh except how you actually get in thr club


That jacket is FIREEEE! Awesome photos and awesome read! Love hearing about the most infamous car club ever.


My God like as if anyone else couldn't have made the 997 GT3 any better
Damn this is like my dream Porsche spec


Saw this car at R34 Matsuri last year but it was still on pink stickers. Nice to clarify what this signifies. Good article, Toby.