On Thursday it was time to head back to Tsukuba Circuit as Amuse was holding another testing session/track meet. From my past experience I know these events are not to be missed. The Amuse events always attract a large number of well known attackers and the March edition was no different.
Amuse, which has become quite famous for its R35 Phantom GT-R, decided to leave that one at the shop and instead they brought out the no less impressive NISMO 380RS Super Superleggera. This car recently won a Gran Turismo award meaning it will be featured in the upcoming GT5 game.
Besides shop cars and customer cars, a number of other big name machines come to Tsukuba for the Amuse events.
The Pan Speed crew was out with both their FD and RX8 time attack cars but they wouldn't be the only fast rotary cars at the track.
Mr. Imaizumi of Super Now Engineering had the FC out again and it was sporting some unusual changes. First, Imaizumi-san switched to 15" wheels and tires up the front and he told me this was an improvement over the 17" wheels the car has run in the past. In addition, the roll bar was removed for this event. How would it run?
Here we see the always enthusiastic Imaizumi-san sporting the coolest helmet I have ever seen. He is actually a fan of this site and he even wanted to take a photo with me! 今泉さん、がんばれ！
This event was also the debut of the just finished '08-spec EXCEED MOAT S14. EXCEED MOAT is known for having the fastest Silvia's at Tsukuba, sometimes running in the 57 second range.
New GRB STI was on the track for a short time during the morning. The silver CE28N's look really nice with the WR blue.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see a large turn out from the RAUH-Welt guys, adding even more to a mix of already awesome machinery at the track.
It wasn't just Porsche coolness that RWB brought to the track, I finally got my chance to see the cult-classic RWB S15 in action. It's just as awesome in the flesh as it is in photos.
Under-hood shot of V-mount equipped FD. Even though I had a decent knowledge of the Japanese tuning scene before moving here, I have truly been amazed at the continued popularity of the FD RX7 in Japan. There are SO many FD's at track events and they are all so fast and great looking. Now I know how Russ at REXtreme keeps up such a great blog that only deals with only one model.
Just a Ferrari and sexy wingless JZA80 Supra.
Now for the action-
Pan Speed ran the RX8 in the morning and the RX7 in the afternoon.
One of the two Amuse GT1 S2000's on the track. Always sexy no matter how many times I see them.
FD ripping out from under the Dunlop bridge. At Tsukuba the Dunlop corner is one of the most exciting corners to watch from. You get the feeling that drivers don't really "attack" the corner but more just throw their car through it trying to carry as much speed as possible. Some try to enter without braking and many of the high power cars get heavy oversteer at the corner exit.
While the Toyota JZX chassis is mostly known for its drifting use, it also makes a great grip platform. There were two examples at this event.
The first is this JZX100 Mark II from Rasty. She is outputting around 600ps and back in '05 set a record lap of 59.6! It wasn't running that fast for this event, but you could tell it had the power as it struggled for traction pulling out of the final corner.
The other JZX was the RD7000 JZX100 Chaser. This one of a few RD7000/Traum JZX100 demo cars. Times were in the 1:01 range.
One could also see a BMW M3 of every generation. From this E30...
to this E36...
...and of course the new E92 with its Ferrari-like V8. The exhaust note is symphonic.
GRB diving into the first hairpin.
Looks like this Evo X is still on the stock suspension. I can't imagine it will stay like that for long.
The Killer Storm R35 was back out as well. More on this car soon.
Too many crazy FD's to keep track of.
This RWB car was the probably the angriest-sounding car of the day. That is a good thing.
Messing with 1/60 shutter speed handheld.
The infamous RWB S15 blasting down the back straight.
They should have used this car for "The Dark Knight".
More Silvia grip style-
1:01 for this S14.
The EXCEED MOAT car was able to clock some laps in the 59.3 range for its '08 debut.
It was a shakedown for the car and I was told it has a lot more in it. There is no reason to doubt that after seeing what it has done in the past. It looks damn fine as well.
Tanabe-san putting the Super Superleggera 380RS through its paces.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day the car had an incident on the final corner, causing some cosmetic damage. I have no doubt the car will be repaired and back on the track in no time though.
How would the Pan Speed FD perform?
By the afternoon the car was able to get into the 57 second range. Fast, but still off from the car's previous best. Maybe it didn't like the warmer temps?
And last but far from least-
Mr. "Super Now" Imaizumi with his new wheel set-up and cage-less interior managed to drop into the 58.8 range.
He is shooting for the 57's and I think he can do it. Keep in mind this is a car that can and is driven on th e street. After events he throws on some different wheels and tires and drives it home! Truly awesome.