EVENT – 2011 IDLERS 12 HOUR ENDURO: THE GRID


Before I said farewell to the RWB workshop in Chiba earlier this month, Nakai san handed me a little yellow ticket that had some special writing on it: “Credential Pass”. The 12 hour endurance race turned out to be an unforgettable experience. The weather was mercilessly hot but that didn’t stop nearly 100 cars and hundreds of spectators, competitors and supporters alike from heading out to the Motegi Twin Ring circuit for the 9th annual round of the Idlers Games 12 hour Endurance race. Let’s take a look around the grid before getting stuck into the action on the track later that morning…

**Click Images to view Hi Resolution 1280×850 shots**

Leaving the house at 4am, I drove through the morning haze of the rapidly rising sun and shot through the outskirts of Tokyo and onto the Shutoko toward Gunma, where the Honda owned Twin Ring Motegi circuit was located. Reaching the track just before 7am, I followed this pair of Zeds up the roadways and into the circuit compound.

Nakai san had opted to prepare and race 4 of his Stuttgart thoroughbreds for this years event and each was very different in appearance. There was the obvious inclusion of the #99 TUNERHAUS. Some of you may be wondering what that means but “TUNERHAUS” is quite literally the name of the PowerFlash tune this car was given by Gary Patrick Mannion and the good people from AutoAdrenaline Japan.

There was the recently completed beige Russian Tank #96 “AMAZONIA” (No, I have no idea why Nakai san called the car that! ) with Shinji Yoshioka and his girlfriend standing next to it pre-race…

Along with the brown military themed #93 “AFROMANIA”…

…and the tailless but jaw-droppingly awesome dark grey #90 964 rounding out the entries.

You’ve probably already spotted a number of familiar brands on the cars and for the race Nakai san added a couple of extra vinyls to each of the cars to round out his preferences for his foreign media friends.

Nakai san decided to rep 7Tune stickers on 3 of the cars and when I asked him what he thought of the 7Tune mark he said he really liked the design. That was a pretty big compliment coming from the guy who makes RWB Porsches!

Recently, I’ve been thinking to dump the .com from the 7TUNE name – what do you guys think? Is 7Tune better off with or without the .com?

Alex Adsit from Circuit Soul wasn’t able to make the event this year but his vinyls were clear to see on the flanks of AMAZONIA and AFROMANIA.

Jon Sibal from his website of the same name was also there in spirit. There were a couple of notable absentees including Aaron Mai who will most definitely be at the next event if he know’s what’s good for him!

Just behind the Porsches on the grid was this lone red Hachi Roku that happened to be manned by none other than RWB’s paint specialist Nojima san and a group of his friends. The first thing we talked about was the heat – it was only 7:30 in the morning but it was already 37 degrees Celsius!

Working my way up the grid from the back, I came by a couple of friends of mine who were driving this blue BMW 318is in the race. Unlike Ota san, it was Moriyama san’s first time at any circuit and he did a pretty good job for someone who had never raced before as i’ll show you in a future post.

There was a good variety of cars lined up on the grid with a decent mix of both European and Japanese cars present. Here’s an E36 lining up along side a pretty crazy looking Mazda Roadster converted into a “Speedster”.

There were some exotic cars in the mix as well and you just couldn’t ignore the ones resplendent in Gulf racing colors…

One of the all time greatest color schemes in the history of motor sport with the complimentary colors of powder blue and vivid orange guaranteed to look good on ANYTHING.

The make and name of these cars escape me but they were fierce on the track despite their diminutive size; a central driving position and formidable power to weight ratio making up for any lack of grunt.

Can any of the many 7Tuners out there help us identify what these awesome little cars are?

Speaking of fast unidentifiable cars, does anyone know what this car is? It looks British in a sense but was most probably a kit car; stuffed if I know what it was though! One thing was for sure – this was also deceptively quick in the race…

( Thanks to 7Tune reader FastDuker, I have since self administered multiple facepalms over my stupidity in not seeing this was a Lotus 11… )

Further up the field were some other notable cars like this Endless Brakes sponsored Fairlady Zed sporting the correct amount of camber and semi slick boots…

…the odd inclusion of what is essentially a Holden Gemini…

…this crazy looking Daihatsu painted in what is obviously a McLaren Formula 1 livery from the days of Hakkinnen and Coulthard…

… and this…erm, awesome collection of finely sculpted race queens keeping the boys from Team FKR honest. ( oh, the fun you could have with that one )

What would happen if fair members of the opposite sex weren’t there to cool down the egos of testosterone charged males!?

I thought I’d just keep going and …whoa, WHOA!! That’s the first time I’ve seen an “outfit” like this on a Race Queen…

With my Pants doing the Happy Stance Dance, I turned my attention back to the cars and found the strange inclusion of this bright yellow Beetle…

Packing what looked like a worked engine, bolt on Porsche wheels, calipers and slotted rotors… very nice indeed.

“Nice” is an appropriate word here because despite the heat, that’s exactly how it felt being at Motegi and it was just so refreshing to be back at the track among proper, dedicated racing enthusiasts who band together as friends and just go for it; you can just feel the energy, sense the camaraderie and know you’re in the right place. There’s no agro, no pretention, malice or mistaken intent…

Just pure, clean, committed “I’m-ready-to-go-racing” type people. And it just reminded me for the millionth time why I love Japan and its people as much as I do. Next year, along with Gary Mannion and at the invitation of Nakai san, we are going to be racing alongside them!

With less than 10 minutes to go before we all got underway, I grabbed a couple more shots from the front of the grid. This was the “Pace Car” for the event – not bad at all!

Neither was this Gulf colored S2000!

Just then the clock struck 8am and it was time for the camera car to take its tour of the course, filming the racecars on their formation lap before they set off on a 12 hour marathon of epic proportions in sweltering temperatures.

It was to prove punishing for everyone that day in one way or another…

…but the on track action came thick and fast as cars big and small…

…plain…

…patterned…

…young…

and old all battled for position on the racetrack with the goal of finishing the gruelling race.

We’ll be back shortly with track action in part 2 of our epic Idlers Enduro coverage in the next couple of days!

7TUNE – The Ultimate JDM Experience Since 2005

Words and Photos – Adam Zillin

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11 thoughts on “EVENT – 2011 IDLERS 12 HOUR ENDURO: THE GRID”

    1. I have something in here for you, coming in the next post. 😉

      But Ota san was complaining that I didn’t shoot any pictures of him so now he knows I got one!

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