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
Waking up at stupid O clock on a Saturday on a November morning in Tokyo is never a warm occasion but today wasn’t so bad, a little gloomy but I didn’t care as I would soon be on a train heading down to Gotemba and Fuji Speedway for the last races of the Formula Nippon, GT 500 and GT300 series for 2012. Read more
I returned to Japan from an epic trip to Europe on the 15th of September knowing full well that Sunday the 16th was going to bring with it the mother of all Skyline GT-R days. The weather turned out to be excellent too and Fuji Speedway was packed to the brim with hundreds upon hundreds of Skyline GT-R’s, in all shapes and sizes. Not only that but on the same day, the Drift Muscle championship was being held down at the Short Course and the super popular 1JZ day was on at the Drift track! Let’s take a look around at an epic day out… Read more
It happens more often than not that I end up in the right place at the right time. Only a few days back, I randomly bumped into Amemiya san at the same spot where we were waiting to meet people. It was an incredible coincidence but a timely one that led to this article. You see, Amemiya san told me that, after all the issues and false starts to their WTAC time attack campaign, they were finally ready to shake down the world famous Hurricane FD at Fuji Speedway. There was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to witness that… Read more
Let me start by putting the internet arguments to a rest. The new Toyota 86 is an epic little machine that will amaze you when you get behind the wheel and really go for it. It is also so simple and rewarding to drive on the limit and I’m certain it will be absolutely pounced upon by all sorts of people when it get’s released next Spring. Forget about it’s looks, power figure, weight and wheels for a minute and let’s just take a look at how good it is as a drivers car ( and for that matter a potential drift machine )… Read more
Dom Bloemhard is a great guy to have on the 7Tune team. One reason besides being awesome to down pints with is the fact that he is so deeply ingrained into the VIP culture that it was an insta-yes the second he told me about the Sessions Platinum event at Fuji Speedway not too long ago. Read more
The grassroots scene is a different world in Japan and far removed from the corporate grip of big race weekends. It’s relaxed, playful and above all else communal. That’s a good thing because grassroots events like the one I attended at Fuji Speedway recently reminded me just how interconnected people are through the sports they love on all levels… Read more
The first race of the Super GT 2011 season was tough, as it is often the case at Fuji when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Usually when it’s raining over there, it’s raining a lot. As such, the race result was difficult to guess before the start since the rain added yet another level of uncertainty over the many unsolved questions arising for the first time the new cars, drivers and teams gathered to race at last.
This video contains raw footage shot on the iPhone of a press ride I was given by the good people at Toyota in the race specification Lexus LF-A. I still can’t believe how poised and balanced this thing was at Fuji Speedway and I don’t think it was being driven slowly. They say the times this car makes are even faster than the quickest GT500 cars! Read more
After a very windy and cold qualifying session, the weather took a turn for the worse today with non stop rain during all the race. It went for 60 of the 66 scheduled laps then was red flagged after the rain became unbearable and cars were spinning out left right and center.
The result of the first qualifying session of the Super GT 2011 season is everything but expected. This has much to do with the weather and the tyres, as the nice spring sunny day turned to a chilling gale and a gray cover as the session got started, then all bets were off.
The Fuji Sprint Cup has been breaking new ground in Super GT racing by separating GT300 from GT500, running sprint races (100 km) without driver change or pit stop and getting the races going from standing starts. This made for a whole new way of appreciating cars and drivers. We will have at first a look at the GT300 category, usually hard fought but often overlooked because of the GT500 happenings. Not this time.
Single seaters are not seen very often on 7tune but let’s make an exception this time as the Formula Nippon, arguably the fastest of all racing categories in Asia, was sharing the top of the bill for the JAF Grand Prix Fuji Sprint Cup last week at Fuji Speedway. GTs and Touring cars are nice, but nothing can match single seaters for pure racing. One man, one machine, and the fastest comes through at the end.
Minor Touring ? One of the many charms of Japan is its liberal and imaginative use of English, even for race categories. The Minor Touring was in the 70s and 80s a popular feature of the Fuji Grand Champion (or Grachan, as it is fondly remembered), a series of race events held several times a year at, you guessed it, the Fuji Speedway. The top billing might have been the mighty Super Silhouette series, but almost equally famous were these races opened to the affordable cars of the period, Nissan Sunnys or Cherrys, Toyota Starlets and Honda Civics.