One Last Trip To Gunsai Touge Before The Snow

Yes, we are back at Gunsai Touge.

We’ve covered the various thrills and risks of drifting at this venue in the past, so at Hardcore Tokyo’s latest Gunsai day I decided to focus on a few of the cars that make these events special. There are some real gems in here too, so you’ll probably want to get comfortable.

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-49

You might know me as an AE86 fanatic, but I do have an affinity for Nissan Silvias as well. Enter the Garage Mak cars.

Garage Mak is well known even outside of Japan, and looking at these two S-chassis you quickly realise why. They’re almost hard to describe. Over the top without looking absurd, perhaps? The Garage Mak 180SX boasts a myriad of custom aero bits including full time attack-style bumpers and stacked overfenders. It’s a refreshing style for a 180SX, especially in Japan where just about every aero combination has been attempted.

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - gunsai-43

Japan has never been known for clean engine bays, but Garage Mak has really smashed it out of the park with these two. Their S15 has one of the cleanest bays I’ve seen in a Silvia here in Japan, complete with stitch welds, custom wheel tubs and bracing finished in a battleship grey. A simple gloss black rocker cover, huge HKS turbo and a bright red HKS Super Power Flow filter suggests this SR20DET has the power to back up its wild aero too.

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-98

And wow do they get driven, fast. For cars that look like they belong at a Tsukuba time attack event, they go sideways at speed incredibly well. Seeing them fly through both courses at Gunsai was incredible, especially given the well-known consequences and how nicely put together both cars are.

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-11
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-14
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-102

And just because I can’t help myself, here’s some more AE86 content.

This yellow and grey 2-door duo look like they’d had their fair share of guard rail rubs, yet were still in fighting form. Garage Infinity was out in force as well; their classic anime-look Trueno hatch was tearing up the courses at an incredible pace. That reminds me – I was recently at their shop in Gunma organising a bit of a surprise, so get excited for that story coming soon…

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-40
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-103

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Gunsai day if there wasn’t some drama, so here are a few photos of the carnage that unfolded throughout the day. Perhaps the scariest crash was the S15’s – it flipped over on one of the banks as a result of engine oil on the track and almost caused a pile up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to snap photos at the time.

Then there was the Mark II, which was rescued by a tiny kei truck. It’s always hilarious to see something this small tow a car twice its size.

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-33

Events like these are all about the visuals. It really is hard to take a bad photo in these settings, so these are some of my favorites from the day…

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-3
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-68
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-104

I can’t say for certain when, but I’ll end up back at Gunsai sooner rather than later, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m curious however, what your favorite car of the day was? Let me know in the comments…

Alec Pender
Instagram: noplansco

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-44
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-55
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-60
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-65
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-78
Speedhunters - Alec Pender - GunsaiHT-79


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The pink RWD converted Platz is always hilarious.


Hey Alec, these photos are awesome. What gear do you use? Seems like it could be a 35MM on a Full-Frame body?


Hey, yeah exactly that. Sony A73 with a Sigma 35 and a Sigma 135


Red S13 just SO CLASSIC! Bummed about the flipped S15. Losing a bumper is one thing, but you never want to land on your roof.