Tag Archives: JDM

WTAC Thursday 2018

Why do I attend the same event every year? A simple question that has an incredibly simple answer, because each year it gets even better!

 

I bet you wonder how an astonishing event can get better? Last year saw the Mazda 767B show off alongside a JGTC FD3S and a restored JGTC S15 all of which added to the immense spectacle that is World Time Attack. Keiichi Tsuchiya was there with his infamous AE86 putting on a show for the crowds while the main event saw lap times crumble as we searched for the 2017 Time Attack champion. I know I have gone on about last year being so incredible, so how was this year better? I will start this three-part coverage with my initial recollection…

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WTAC 2018 began earlier this year with teams posting builds and progress as they tracked toward the year-end battle that will see who is crowned champion. Everyone was excited to see the teams back to full strength after some had some disastrous luck at last years event. Ian Baker (The brains behind this event) always strives to promote his events to the fullest, and this year saw the Sydney Opera House becoming a very large billboard! Boarding my flight and arriving at the event on Thursday I could already feel the excitement and anticipation around the paddock, not only were some amazing groups setting up their cars in preparation, but I also had the pleasure of finally seeing Keiichi in competition mode with Beau Yates AE86 that was converted from a drift machine into a grip machine.

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Show and shine was not set up on Thursday unfortunately which meant I had to rush on Friday or Saturday to capture some of Australia’s most amazing vehicles which was not too much of an issue since I had heard that this year would be slightly smaller in layout, providing the perfect size to be able to capture quickly and move straight back into the track activities. While the rain did affect the set up of some stalls and displays, most were putting the final touches on their stands and wrapping it all up ahead of the main event over the next two days.

Practice makes perfect, and with the main slogan being “One perfect lap” many teams were out already on a wet track setting up and fine-tuning their machines in a hope of setting that one crucial linked run.

Along with the wet track testing, the garages were a hive of activity due to most teams utilizing the Thursday session to adjust and change any required parts to optimize their attack on Friday and Saturday. Paddock views are always a welcome change since you get to see the people and teams behind these incredible cars.

With Thursday providing some crucial insight into the coming days, I packed up and headed back to the house to go over a plan of attack! Stay tuned for Friday’s action coming soon…

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Bonus Gallery click here

Chasing Widebody Dreams

While widebody cars are popping out left right and center these days, with amazingly tasteful ones showcasing superb talent and brilliant ideas, the scene is becoming slowly saturated with them all over the world and even though I have no distaste for widebody cars, I feel it takes a whole lot (or little) to stand out now days…which brings me to write this beautiful piece.

 

I would have to admit I do not believe in love at first sight, however upon seeing Zen’s Chaser parked up in all its gleaming glory down in Christchurch I would be hard pressed to say it was not almost love at first sight for sure!

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Zen has put his Chaser through a fattening diet consisting of Origin Labo front and rear guards that have been cut up to within an inch of their lives and re-shaped to his liking to help fit his massive Work wheels that really set this car apart. Origin Labo guards found, Zen had a Traum bodykit to help meld the fenders to the rest of the body lines and while he was at it, further customized the overall look with additional aero accents around the car to set the car apart as his own creation. Talent streams out from Jono Smith who was tasked with building and fitting this massive kit onto the Chaser and I firmly believe he knocked this car out of the park. Flowing around the outside of the car it is blatantly clear how clean of a widebody Zen envisioned when he first picked up the stock Chaser, and while he had the widebody built around those massive wheels, I still feel that the whole look came out impressive and as if the wheels and overall look were just one well thought out package.

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Picking into the finer points of this immaculate beauty, Ganador mirrors really do provide a huge amount of sleekness compared to the stock items and Origin Labo provided more than just the base guards to make the custom fenders from,  front canards are Origin Labo items and continue through to the carbonfiber Origin Labo roof spoiler and D-Max rear spoiler which create some aesthetically pleasing flow on to the rear and trails into the custom cut out to fit a GT86 center light into the lower part of the Traum bodykit. Hidden gems allure to the fact that the rear is indeed tubbed as well.

Width is something to consider when photographing a wide car, and while my photos do not do the car justice at all, the width of the guards are 50mm front and rear to put things into a measurement perspective.

Stunning silver with rainbow flakes and bronze really does lend itself to be a beautiful set of complimentary colors and could not be more fitting for the color scheme of this impeccable Chaser, color combinations aside the one part of the exterior that really threw me into the deep end of adoration was the simple sticker scheme placed on the car, these simple yet cleanly done bronze stickers throw a massive nod to the JDM tuning scene with the manufacturers displayed on the vehicle.

Moving on from the actual girth of the car we can finally get some specs on those gorgeous wheels that adorn four corners of the car, Work Wheels creates some tasteful wheels that suit almost anything you put them on and while these Emotion CR2P’s are limited to only 100 made and feature a crazy 19X10/19X11 sizing respectively, these wheels absolutely set this car apart and to a whole new level of automotive eye candy. Zen actually bought these limited edition wheels first and when bolted to the hubs made it immediately clear that the factory guards were much too small to house anything this perfect. Amazingly though Zen is not afraid to get out and dirty with the car looking as clean as it does, and even threw down some rubber during a few burnouts while I was down there in Christchurch photographing!

Finally beating the heat and heading into the cockpit you are greeted with an interior that is as flawless as the exterior of the car. Door cards, floor mats, rear seats and even the center console cushion have been redone in Bride graduation fabric and provide brilliant flow to match the Bride Zeat III’s that replace both passenger and drivers seat. Tantalizing bits of carbonfiber litter the interior as well such as the window switch surrounds, center radio panel and door handle areas, while a Nardi deep corn wheel, Trust gearknob and Defi gauges throw even more Japanese goodness to this authentic mix of brilliance.

Exterior and interior all completed Zen did not finish things there and completed the engine upgrades as well. Toyota built a stout 1JZ-GTE first time around but with the added aggressiveness that Zen put together on the exterior he was more than eager to get the engine breathing better to suit. Sinco provided the manifold with a Garrett TA3410 force feeding precious PSI through the larger intercooler and into the worked head featuring a set of custom Kennelly cams, BC springs and Tomei adjustable cam gears. Fueling is handled by a set of six 1000cc Bosch injectors and controlled by a Tomei FPR and supplied by a intank Walbro pump. GReddy to the rescue to keep the car cool when Zen is pushing it to the limits with a GReddy radiator and GReddy oil cooler keeping temps in check and then when on song a Turbosmart 50mm Progate regulates boost and it all flows to exit out of a beautifully crafted lobster tailed exhaust! All the wizardry is managed by the trusted Link G4+ Fury and sees Zen’s Chaser putting down 460HP at the wheels. Drivetrain wise, the R154 is a more than capable box and all Zen added was the OS Giken twin plate clutch with lightweight flywheel and then followed that up with a Tomei T-Trax 2 way differential. Added bonuses such as the Weld coil cover and painted gold/glitter cam covers add that finishing touches to a spectacular engine bay.

Overall I can only hope you have enjoyed the tour through Zen’s well thought out Chaser and I know he is not the only one in his team (Chachacha) with a fantastic build. Stay tuned for more from this incredible and talented bunch of guys.

 

Gallery below:

Tsukuba Slayer – HKS TRB-03

Tsukuba circuit has been hallow ground for HKS, with their CT230R Mistubishi Evo setting the blistering pace of 53.58 seconds back in 2007 and holding that title for years up until Under Suzuki came along and broke that record and has continued to do so up until now.

 

With this being said and Under Suzuki continually pushing the limits of aero development along with driver skill, the question could be asked… Has HKS forgotten about their Tsukuba record altogether? Their answer has been officially revealed at the latest Tokyo Auto Salon, and dare I say it, it looks as if it will decimate all that stand in it’s way to go deep into the 40 second barrier.

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Viewing this car in its glorious livery is very much a nostalgic nod to the car that held the record for so long (CT230R) and it is refreshing to see a large tuning house like HKS stepping back into the time attack scene after a long hiatus. Based on the Toyota/Subaru GT86 platform, HKS have taken the stream lined approach to sculpting this beast before you into a tarmac warrior with all areas of the aero work carried out with specific purpose and design, Andrew Brilliant from AMB Aero was placed in charge of the aero design seeing as he has had his hand in many famous World Time Attack cars such as Under Suzuki and the infamous Hammer Head MCA S13 as well. While Andrew has created masterpieces in terms of maximizing downforce and reducing drag on the S13 and S15, this new design takes his keen eye and knowledge to a whole new level, with the whole aero package looking sleek and almost conforming to the stock lines. ‘Infiniti Wings’ as they were labelled from the SpeedHunters article which reviewed the car upon initial debut have not been seen before and as such, it will be an amazing detail to pay attention to in regards to it’s usefulness.

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Moving along the car you can notice the sleek side profile to keep any unwanted drag away from the car with larger front carbonfiber fenders flowing along the channeled sides to the rear haunches. Rear facing you notice the large tunnels that fill the back of the car and help extract all the air from under the car cleanly which being lower pressure ensure a sucking effect to stick the car to the ground. Side skirts may be all but absent but that large flat floor side step ensures any flow across that surface will only help to add downforce and maintain a smooth laminar boundary layer.

While all of these subtle cues are amazing you immediately notice the largest part of the car, the wing. While this takes huge wings to a whole new level, word is that the aero package helps the flow of air onto the three layered wing to allow it to generate up to 3 ton’s worth of downforce! With Under Suzuki struggling to keep the tyres from exploding on his S15 due to the sheer amount of downforce generated from the car, I can only wonder at how well HKS have looked and researched into this area of error and coupled with Yokohama there should be some interesting compounds coming out of the manufacturer soon to help high downforce cars cope.

Sitting under the lightweight carbon clad arches are 18×11 Advan GT wheels and suspension is rumored to be custom HKS suspension with high spring rates to help cope with the large amounts of downforce produced. Mentioning carbon, the entire car is clad in in-house made HKS dry carbonfiber which shows the level of commitment and dedication the team have put into creating something so special.

Engine wise HKS have pushed a FA25 to new limits with stroking the 2.0L displacement and pushing it to 2.5L and then attaching a HKS supercharger to force feed air into the monster below. All the information I have gathered so far point to the engine producing up to 800hp which is a fair chunk of power for such a light car and coupled with the aero we see, should make for one extremely well planted yet nimble racer. Keeping things streamlined seems to be the main theme and we can notice one detachment from the initial design which was the passenger side exit exhaust, this may be due to routing changes or weight targets but a bonnet vented exhaust always looks impressive.

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While I was not able to attend Tokyo Auto Salon this year, I am very grateful and thankful to Charles Chen who supplied these images to me and photographed on my behalf.

With HKS finally tipping their hat back into the record breaking ring, I am sure we will see big changes in the rest of the field as they all take notes of how the original record breakers do it. Excitement will be building all around as we wait to see what this beautifully sculpted yet deadly machine can do at the hallow Tsukuba Circuit.

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Gallery:

Taking Original to a New Level

Taking Original to a New Level

 

While I have just written about this very car in ‘From Instagram to Reality’ the owner promptly changed the overall color of the car along with the looks as soon as we had wrapped up the initial shoot.

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With New Zealand’s weather being favourable to those that like rain, planning a new photoshoot proved slightly difficult and couple that in with working full time…things were never going to be easy. CRC Speedshow comes around once a year and this year will be featuring this immaculate machine at the entrance to the show, so pretty much smack dab in the forefront of what’s expected to be a fun filled weekend.

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Running very quickly out of time and patience I made the decision to do a very quick and impromptu photoshoot with the owner and my incredible new shooter Ken, and while the location was slightly off putting to say the least, I think we both did our best to make it work.

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Color wise the car now sports a dolphin grey wrap and adoring the rear to supplement its girth is a carbon clad APR wing. While these two additions are not ground breaking they certainly change the overall finish of the original car to something a little more menacing. Rainbow tint wrap was added to the headlights as homage to the WTAC HKS GT1000 R35 GT-R and certainly looks the part to compliment the neutral grey finish.

 

Overall this was not considered a full shoot due to the location and time so while these pictures are published for now, a full and proper photoshoot will be coming up very soon.

 

Feel free to comment and share guys 😀

Gallery below:

 

From Instagram to Reality

From Instagram to Reality

 

The internet….a technology that has influenced and shaped the way people find and view information around the world, images are uploaded through various channels such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook every second with thousands of views through different devices.

 

Touching on one such platform, Instagram has become a world wide media sharing platform where users can upload their own content of share that of what they see as worth sharing to hundreds, thousands or even millions of people depending on their followers and audience. While Instagram has created yet another place to view content, it has also helped shape car enthusiasts around the world in gaining ideas from others and shaping it to their own ideal. I am fortunate enough to know an owner who has done just that, and in doing so created a very unique (in New Zealand) Godzilla that stands out from the rest for being both subtle yet effective.

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Godzilla is a name well known by now and has been given many guises but it was not until recently that I was given the opportunity to feature such an amazing R35 GT-R owned by a close friend and part of my small car team, Team TSB. Forming his ideal image from the pictures of the R35’s he has seen around the world, this owner set about to create something refreshing with quality being top priority.

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The R35 GT-R needs no introduction however this car is certainly different. At first glance this car may not jump out at you and draw your attention but taking a few seconds to stop and look closer will alert you to the wider fenders adorning the front and rear guards, these were not overnight parts from Japan but as close to it as you can get with the order being placed through Varis for a full set of front/rear over fenders, front lip and rear lower skirt. Varis may not sound familiar with some so a quick rundown will inform you that Varis is a Japanese body kit manufacturer that produces top quality kits for both street and race cars, with some noticeable contributions to a large number of time attack cars competing around the world. Dry carbon right through to the show car end gloss twill weave carbon, Varis produce it all with fiberglass kits included in the mix. With this owner choosing to have quality over cheaper replicas the build time for this kit was a little arduous but I can say from the final finish the wait was well worth it.

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While the Varis kit widened the car the black accents on the side skirts needed some matching and so a Varis carbon bonnet was added to break up the sea of silver. Standard equipment was dropped in favor of the aesthetic flow of the car, and so a carbon Seibon boot lid with built in duck tail was purchased and as such completed the flow of black to add contrast to the majority of the body color.

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Wider guards meant wider wheels were needed as well, so back to Japan to source more parts was in order and as luck would have it, the owner stumbled upon some new satin black Advan GT wheels measuring a staggering 20×11 all round with the GT-R wide enough to swallow them up without breaking a sweat. Tyres were ordered for these mammoth wheels and the only ones up to the task of keeping this beast in check was a set of Toyo R888 315/35/20. Blitz ZZR coilovers keep the car’s stance on point with the ride being slightly bumpy but not unbearable and planted when pushing the car around with the Whiteline sway bars proving their worth.

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Engine power is all the talk when it comes to talking about the Japanese super car killer, and this car certainly lives up to the hype. Engine work has been carried out by none other than New Zealand’s home of Godzilla ST Hitec and features a whole list of modifications to take this supercar killer beyond its already formidable reputation. Work carried out includes a ST Hitec intake kit, ST Hitec intercooler kit, ST Hitec transmission cooling pan and ST Hitec titanium exhaust, 1000cc injectors fuel the beast with a Dodson transmission cooler and Dodson downpipe and Y pipe rounding off the base performance list. All of these modifications barely scratch the surface of what the owner has planned for this car, but I can say from first hand driving experience, pushing this car will have you stuck to the back of your seat as you grapple to hold on to the steering wheel long enough to shift to the next gear and repeat till you run out of road…which comes short very fast.

 

Moving from the gorgeous exterior, the interior has been kept very tidy and stock with some tasteful modifications being key in keeping things personalized but subtle. A Recaro fixed back bucket seat is swapped out when the owner pushes this car on track but other than that, a simple carbon steering wheel is all that is needed to refresh the already brilliant interior and add a slight touch of flow from the carbon clad exterior to now the interior.

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While I may have a personal investment in drooling over this car, I think the owner has done an amazing job in transforming a staunch and touch Godzilla into something more formidable with a heart to go with the looks and as such, has taken a Instagram dream and turned it into a beautiful reality.

 

Feel free to comment and share guys 😀

Gallery below: