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Atsushi Ito is one of those Japanese tuners that flips the bird at conformity and the status quo. His brand, Weld Techniques Factory, has been around for a long time now and Ito has carved out a nice little slice of tuning stardom not only through his exploits in D1 with pro driver Koichi Yamashita and their fire breathing MkII Toyota but also through custom tuning circles with cars like the FR-S you are seeing in this special feature, exclusively to 7Tune… Read more
Kiyonori Imai is a really interesting guy. Known in professional drift circles as not only the boss of Bee-R in Machida and team manager for Tezuka san in D1 but also for the mind blowing creations he comes up with year in, year out. The craziest machine of them all might well be the one you’re looking at in this 7Tune exclusive… Read more
Before I set these two cars up for the shoot, I was just pondering with a friend on how people say these cars are so hard to find and so rare and yet, I have come in contact with so many of these rare beauties. Even a couple of my friends are getting into restoration of S30Z’s. From hidden personal restorations to internationally acclaimed zetto artisans, Star Road, I have been witness to a great variety of Fairlady’s and have found a deep and profound sense of appreciation for all of them, regardless of what state or style they arrive in… Read more
Formula Drift returned to Speed City Kuala Lumpur this year with an extremely diverse line-up of drivers from all over the world. Names like Ken Gushi from the US, Daigo “the Ninja” Saito from Japan of which has remained undefeated since the beginning of the Formula Drift Series, Local Malaysian drifting royalty Tengku Djan Ley of which owns the venue turned Battle grounds for this event, Japan D1 drifter Masao Suenaga and Frederic Aasbø
of whom is piloting the beastly V8 powered RS*R Toyota 86 were just some of the star studded entourage of superstars in the Drifting game that participated. Read more
It was back down to Nagoya for me for the second time in a month to shoot one of the biggest supercar meetings in the country; an event organized by Wataru Kato and his team from Liberty Walk Japan. Once again, rain threatened to really put a dampener on proceedings but mercifully held off for the day and what I’m going to show you now is one of the coolest collections of hard rolling Super Cars you’ll see anywhere… Read more
Right now, I’m down in Nagoya with Kato san and the crew from Liberty Walk Japan. If you haven’t heard of them I would be very surprised since they have exploded onto the international stage with some of the wildest custom supercars the world has seen. After a long haul south from Tokyo to Nagoya in the new 3 series Active Hybrid, I got some down time with new friends at a great Yakiniku restaurant where the stories and beer flowed freely… Read more
280,000 people, 800 cars, 4 days, 12 hours of sleep, 1 M6 convertible, 73 cans of Redbull, and 3000 shots later, the curtain (mercifully), fell on the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon. Come with me as 7Tune takes a look back at the biggest TAS in years… Read more
The signature yellow, Rocket Bunny wearing, drift machine from Bee Racing in Tokyo, has caused a stir and created a lot of discussion since its conception late last year. Arguments have sprung up on all corners of the net debating what it actually is and Kiyonori Imai from Bee-R just sat back and laughed at all the attention it is receiving. You see, it’s not a Scion FR-S despite wearing Scion badges and anyone with half a brain will also figure out that the Scion FR-S is a LHD model since it was a North American designated model… Read more
It was an absolutely MEGA end to 2012 for 7Tune – with almost a dozen events to attend, countless people to meet and a couple of international events to fly to. Here is a rundown on what you can expect on 7Tune in the coming weeks during the first month of 2013… Read more
Up an at it early the next day for round two at Fuji Speedway and what a glorious day it was! A complete contrast to yesterday – the only disappointment being that Mt Fuji was surrounded by clouds.
A honk of the horn outside the hotel and I see the familiar shape of Richard and another guy I haven’t seen for a couple of years who happens to be great friend Dominik Schwager; a German driver who raced in Japan for many years. Delighted to see him, I jump in car and off we go.
At the circuit and with Richard tied up with Team business and commitments, I was left free to wander around with Domonik in the glorious sunshine and to really get a hold of the atmosphere here at Fuji on race-day without the torrential rain. Before Richard left us, I had time to pull off a quick picture with himself, Dom and GT Japanese legend Motoyama san; Richard’s 2004 championship winning teammate.
It was also amazing to see just how crazy the Japanese are about their racing and motor-sports. Dominik hasn’t raced in japan for 4 years, yet he was recognised and flagged down by fans all day everywhere we went!
Hanging around in the pit lane before the start of the Formula Nippon Race, I managed to catch a few shots of the cars themselves, which are loud and lightning fast V-8 550bhp rockets.
Here in Japan, everything is totally family orientated at big events like this and it’s always great to see the kids involved!
I went back to the Garage and found the boys watching the start of the Formula Nippon race, so I settled down to watch it with them and see how drivers and teams watch races as opposed to us normal folk haha. The amount of banter between the teams about what the other teams might be doing is actually quite intense. In-between watching the monitors and timing splits, I was just seeing blurs out of the corner of my eye out of the garage entrance of the cars screaming by, by God, they are quick.
An interesting race with an eventful end in which the initial winner, Andre Lotterer, was disqualified after it was found the skid block underneath his car was thicker than regulations allowed which handed Takuya Izawa the win.
In the jam packed schedule the GT300 class was up next with Richards Team mate Akihiro Tsuzuki and Igor’s team mate Kenji Kobayashi up in the Audi R8 cars of Hitotsuyama Racing.
Tsuzuki made a great start but dropped back a bit and finished 12th from 15th on the grid. Unfortunately, Kobayashi didn’t fair so well and lost the Bonnet of the car after a touch on the 2nd lap and couldn’t continue…..seems like team Hitotsuyama Racing had a tough weekend but im sure they walked away with a lot of experience to put in that knowledge bank for next season.
I decided to walk up and down the paddock and the team trailers and see if there were any interesting cars after all this is the glitz and glamour of motorsport here and im sure I might spot some kick assery in the car park and sure enough I did.
Before the GT500 got underway it was time for a bit of a photoshoot with the race queens and the drivers.
Time for GT 500 and unfortunately we couldn’t watch for long and only stayed for a few laps….the chariot waiting to carry me back to the bright lights of Tokyo was awaiting me. Coming back in the car with Richard and Domonik was fun to say the least – if you consider a 6 hour traffic Jam all the way from Gotemba to the Tokyo turngate fun.
Till next year Fuji Speedway…
7Tune – The Ultimate Motor Racing Experience Since 2005
Words and Photos – Adrian Venner