The Annual 7’s Meeting at Central Circuit, Hyogo Prefecture in Western Japan attracts RX-7s and their owners from all over the country to race together and show off their cars in the warm and humid mountain air around Nishiwaki. Over 50 cars took part in the racing program, and many many more in the show and shine area behind the main grandstand. The weather was cloudy with intermittent sunshine, with a few showers early on in the day resulting in a damp circuit for the morning session.
Upon arriving at the venue around 10am, most Tuning shops participating already had their cars out on the circuit or in the pit lane between shakedown runs. Many of the well known tuning garages were there, Feed (Fujita Enjineering), R Magic, Tamon Design, Sun Line Auto, Stillway, Mars, Nagisa Auto, Feast and Leg Motorsports to name a few. Walking through the pits you could tell everyone was there to have a good time and maybe encourage some friendly rivalry. Some of the workshops customer cars were exceptionally presented, almost too much so, making you think pitting some of the cars into battle on a circuit would be financial suicide because of the repair bill afterwards… but it’s easy to forget just how much money gets poured into these cars buy some customers, and to do that without ever using the car to it’s full capability on a racetrack would be pointless.
After the warm up period the RE2 and RE8 class was run in a 3 lap race with the Autocraft Phantom FD3S Masahito Yamamoto taking out 1st place honours. His fastest laptime of 1’30.276 wasn’t as fast as 4th place Takuya Yoshida’s 1’29.687 in his FD3S. 2nd and 3rd places went to AutoStaff and Judas FD3Ss respectively. Of note were the 9 cars that didn’t complete the whole distance or failed to start, the most prominent being the FEED and Stillway customer cars which had problems requiring them to pit before the end of the race. The two classes run in this race are ‘street trim’ run on radial street tires, with over half the field made up of privately owned cars, some of which drove long distances the night before to make it to the event. A couple of RX-8s an SA22 RX-7 and a couple of FC3Ss rounded out a more mixed field than the other classes.
By lunchtime the Workshop demo cars and other high level private cars were getting ready for the Time Attack event to be held after midday, with the CAM and Stillway cars spitting lots of flame braking and downshifting into corners. These cars were at lest 5 seconds faster than RE2/RE8 class cars, it was obvious to see they were packing alot more power while running down the main straight. The silver Stillway FD3S demo car put a wheel on the dirt just after going under the mainstraight bridge, carrying a too much speed and giving me the biggest scare in the process, as I had squeezed between a gap in the fence and in front of the barrier to get a better view of the action. Needless to say I got back behind the barrier as quick as I could after that! So to finish the Time Attack event, the yellow FEED FD3S demo car came in quickest at 1’23.292, in second place was the Quarter Mile FD3S with 1’24.869 and in third was the silver Stillway FD3S with 1’25.818. FEED averaged 121km/h around the track, a good 3km/h faster than the Quarter Mile car.
After the Time Attack came RE1 5 lap race. Most cars in this class average 1’25.00 – 1’28.00 laptimes, but the competition was a little less fierce than in RE2/RE8 with 5 seconds each separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th places at the checkered flag. The aptly named ‘Akazame Oyaji’ FD3S took top honours this time with a fastest lap of 1’25.714, followed by the striking blue FEED FD3S with 1’25.856, and well known SuperGT GT300 RE Amemiya RX-7 driver Hiroyuki Iiri (Shark Iiri) driving his own car with a best time of 1’26.742 taking 3rd place. After the RE1 race the track was open to people still wanting to get more laps in before the end of the day and by this time the humidity was making things pretty uncomfortable trackside, so we made our way over to the Show and Shine area.
If you never bothered to physically look, you’d never notice that there was a Show and Shine going on behind the main grandstand. We were met with a sea of FD3S RX-7s, with a few FCs and RX-8 scattered about aswell. Of particular note was the Tamon Design area, it’s bright orange pearl FD3S with incredible fully redisigned bodywork making you look twice to make sure if it indeed was an FD3S! All of the Tamon cars were impeccably presented, with bright colors all vying for your attention. A chameleon colored gull-wing FD3S was over by the Tamon area too, the work done to the area above the wheelarches gave the car a unique look… somehow taking your attention away from the paintwork. The dark blue FEAST FD3S demo car was also there, wearing Racing Hart CP-S10 alloy wheels which made such an impression on me I eventually got a set for my Nissan Silvia. One more car which I had written an article about before was the w00w Port City SuperAutobacs FD3S demo car, only this time it was wearing different wheels. It didn’t make it onto the track that day, but I’m sure it would’ve placed at the front of the field in RE2 class.
It was a great day, the weather was difficult at times but the action on the track more than made up for it. For rotary lovers this event is a must, you can rub shoulders with some of the best FD3S tuners in Japan and see first hand how their cars perform against their rivals. The distinct lack of SA22 and FC3S RX-7s shouldn’t come as such a suprise as FDs can be bought for less than US$10,000 these days, and that the older RX-7s are getting thinner on the ground every day. I will definately be back for the next event.
Text and Photos: Justin Karow