And since there are quite a lot of events happening in this update, I'm gonna make it as compact as possible.
But that's not all, I also acted up as an escort for a friend, guarding a very, very special deal!
And I also attend a very special occassion......technically without my Evo!
Welp, let's see how did everything unfold by checking the update below!
[10 Dec 2019]
The RevSpeed Super Battle is open for quite a lot of entries around Japan, and this year there would be 78 cars attending, including myself with my Silver Queen. I heard a lot of elite names will be joining the competition as well, but who are they remains to be seen. These entries are divided into multiple classes as usual. This classification is a bit complex to be explained, so sit back and grab some snack and a cup of coffee or tea as I'll try to make it easy for you to understand.
The classifications starts by determining if your car is street legal or not. If it is, it enters the Street Class, while if it isn't it'll enter the Open class instead, where the champions are duking it out with unlimited amount of aero. And then both classes are segregated again depending on the drivetrain of your car, which means there are six main classes: Street FWD, Street RWD, Street 4WD, Open FWD, Open RWD and Open 4WD.
The FWD and RWD classes segregates the class further depending on the engine displacement. For the FWD classes, there are three sub-classes: FWD 1 consists of turbocharged and supercharged cars with engine displacement of 1600cc upwards, FWD 2 consists of naturally aspirated cars with engine displacement of 1600cc upwards, and FWD 3 consists of anything with engine displacement of 1500cc or less. For the RWD classes there are only two of them: RWD 1 consists of turbocharged and supercharged RWD cars with no displacement limit, as well as naturally aspirated cars with engine displacement of 2500cc upwards. RWD 2 consists of naturally aspirated cars with engine displacement less than 2500cc.
In the end, the classification should look like this:
Open Class - Non street legal, purpose-built racecars with unlimited aero.
[*]Open 4WD: AWD cars, no engine size limit
[*]Open RWD 1: >=2500cc naturally aspirated RWD cars + turbo/supercharged RWD cars with no engine size limit
[*]Open RWD 2: <2500cc naturally aspirated RWD cars
[*]Open FWD 1: >=1600cc Turbo/supercharged FWD cars
[*]Open FWD 2: >=1600cc naturally aspirated FWD cars
[*]Open FWD 3: <=1500cc FWD cars
Street Class - Street legal cars with OEM or sha-ken allowed aero
[*]Street 4WD: AWD cars, no engine size limit
[*]Street RWD 1: >=2500cc naturally aspirated RWD cars + turbo/supercharged RWD cars with no engine size limit
[*]Street RWD 2: <2500cc naturally aspirated RWD cars
[*]Street FWD 1: >=1600cc Turbo/supercharged FWD cars
[*]Street FWD 2: >=1600cc naturally aspirated FWD cars
[*]Street FWD 3: <=1500cc FWD cars
As I finished my lunch and going to iron my race suit and race undies, Muza (@Niatross) called me on the phone. It's a good thing I haven't fired up the iron yet, I don't want it to burn my race suit and undies (not as in burning it and making a hole, more like leaving a burn mark). As I sit down in the ironing desk and toy with the perfumier bottle, I answered the phone.
"Hey Edo, it's Muza, you there?"
"Yooooo Muza, having a lunchbreak there man?"
"Oh yes I am, that's why I call you"
"Tell me man, how good is Omori Factory's lunch meal?"
"Well, it's......like your regular high school cafetaria, really. Not that good but not that bad either"
"Eh....I still want one anyways. Anyways sup man, anything I can help?"
"Yeah, so um, let's cut to the chase. I need you to accompany me for a deal"
"What kind of deal? I don't do shady deals man"
"Naaaaah don't worry, it's just a car trade. I'm gonna trade one of my cars"
"That thing's already gone man. It's the Merc"
"The Mer-oh, the C63?"
"That's a shame man, but then again you've got yourself an M4"
"Exactly. No point to keep it at this point"
"Yeah, I can see that.......so what are you going to trade it with?"
"Well that one's a secret obviously!"
"Okay okay, so when I should drop by to the garage? I've got races to do man"
"Whoo, our racer making moves again I see! When's the race?"
"Tomorrow and 14th"
"I presume Marc (@topy) will be busy at 11 and 12, so I guess we could make it by 13"
"Cool enough. How about AJ (@RocketBunnyS13) ?"
"He's busy obviously. Don't worry, I've got Ziga (@Lagano) on our side"
"Nice! Okay so it's 13th midday then?"
"13th midday, yes. Aight my lunchtime is almost over, see ya my man, and thanks"
Hmmmm this is interesting. I know Muza almost never touched the C63 ever since he bought it for.........reasons, but what is he gonna trade it with? Considering the Merc is a powerful luxury sedan for most of the Asian market (even the non-AMG ones, I know it's a bread and butter mobilia for Europeans and Americans), I'm absolutely sure it'll rack a skyscraper-beating value in the used car market, even with the mods he has done for it. Speaking of which, we'll talk about it later.
After the aformentioned call from Muza, I continued my preparations by ironing and warming the racing suit and undies, and cleaning my helmet and the Silver Queen, before spending the rest of the day packing up for the race, calming and relaxing myself down and getting an early sleep. It's quite a special occassion, so I have to say, making yourself calm and comfy before and during the race is also an important matter this time And since I'm going to face even heavier competition, all I want and have to do is simply have some fun.
[11 Dec 2019]
As I arrived to the track and I went to the paddock, almost every pro teams has taken the pit boxes and several paddock slots. As expected from pro teams, they're armed with a sizeable amount of mechanics and a ton of spare parts for the car. Most of the racers has worn their racing suits. Nevertheless they're quite polite and open for others, mostly allowing others to take pics of their car and open for chit-chats and discussions. They're once also a bunch of amateurs like me, after all. After having some chatters with other drivers while fitting the timer beacons and race numbers, I went off to the locker room to change into my racing suit. Some of them are my fellow rivals from the Tsukuba Circuit Trials championship, and they were glad I'm joining the foray as well.
"Edo-kun! You're racing as well?"
"Yeah, I was wondering if you and the crew will come to be honest"
"Well, here we are"
"But I thought you'll call me for stuff like this?"
"No......not yet. We gotta give the first blood to Yuuta, to give him the idea of the competition"
"Aaaaah......yeah I agree with that, he gotta know the scene first"
I shifted my attention to Yuuta, who weren't in the garage. The Mirage was receiving final setup and preps by Goro, Kei, Mishima and Nato, Ohira-sensei's crew for quite a long time. I walked to the group and jumped into the conversation. They seemed happy to see me on the paddock, I'm glad I could cheer them a bit.
G: *finished wrenching* "Ah no no, we're good, sit here with us!"
N: *puts tools down* "Say, you're racing too?"
E: "Yeah, it's becoming my routine these days"
G: "Hey that's cool. Tell us young man, how's competition like this feels like?"
E: "Hmmm......a bit hard to day. It's like a trackday, but you're asked to go faster and there's a prize for it"
N: "Well, it's easier said than done obviously" *notices Yuuta* "Ah, there he is"
Y: "Oh hey aniki! Are you racing too?"
E: "Yes I am. Don't worry, we'll be in the different classes"
Y: "I tell you what, he can't hold back his excitement and it shows" *laughter*
K: "Edo-kun, pass me that screw"
E: "Sure" *passes screwdriver*
K: "Thanks. So how was your first race back then? Please tell us and Yuuta"
E: "It was, um, relatively worse. I was all alone, prepping my car by myself"
K: "You don't ask others for help?"
E: "That's the good thing. You could, and just about everyone would help you out there"
Y: "Phew, I'm glad to hear that"
E: "Say Yuuta, are you nervous?"
Y: "Um, yes I am"
E: "Don't worry, I was also in your shoes earlier this year. Just be nice and polite to others off-track, would you?"
Y: "Okay, I'll try aniki"
E: "Oh, and of course be clean and ready to give space on the track. This isn't touring car racing so don't worry about contacts"
Y: "Sure thing!"
E: "After your first run, try to look at the other drivers. They'll give you an idea of what should you do"
After some time it's time to attend driver's briefing, so I and Yuuta went to the conference room to attend it. Along the way I introduced him to other drivers that I know, and I'm quite glad they welcomed him warmly. And oh yes, speaking of which, the Summer Yume Mirage will enter the Street FWD 2 class, since it's been swapped with a naturally aspirated 4G63 engine. Aside from a bunch of Civics, Demios and Swifts and probably Mini Coopers, I can't think any possible challengers that hurdles ahead of the Summer Yume crew.
Most of us went into our cars or pit boxes and started the first session as the race control tower played this from the speakers.. Thankfully it's still bright and sunny outside, and so far no possibilities of snowfall so far. Since the Summer Yume Mirage runs before me, I took a bit of my time to watch Yuuta drive the car around the Tsukuba Circuit for the first time. Yuuta hasn't got what it takes to push it yet, but at least he could bring the Mirage back safely. And some time later, it's my turn as I lined up the Silver Queen at the pitlane exit.
Speaking about Under Suzuki, I really have to say, he's the one who inspired me to this day, and I truly aspire to be just like him, not just in the time attack scene, but also in motorsport world in general. Under started just like all of us, a common office employee who spent his weekend tuning his beloved S15. A decade and a bit more ago when he started his time attack odyssey, his S15 suffered from heavy understeer everytime he fielded it at Tsukuba, earning him the 'Under' nickname from his colleagues and comrades. And ever since then Under tried to find the cure to his S15's problems and studied about aerodynamics as he developed the car, at most times either with a small band of friends or completely alone.
To give you an idea of just how long has Under Suzuki's S15 evolved through more than a decade, here are four pics of his S15 chronologically. The first one is from his early runs in 2008, the second one is from 2011 after he founded Scorch Racing, the third one is from 2013, some months after he became the new Tsukuba dominator, and the final one is from 2017 when he attended WTAC, some months after he renewed his record and solidify himself on Tsukuba's TA throne. You might not believe it, but yes, they are the SAME CAR!
With the crowd finally dispersed, finally I could read the result better. So first off, my own result. I finished at 7th in Street 4WD class with the best lap of 59.602 seconds at the second run. Honestly I was thinking I would be finishing dead last, but tturns out I almost made it to the midpack! Rush Factory R34 won the Street 4WD class by a breadth's hair with a lap time of 58.437 seconds, only separated 0.103 seconds with second place. Meanwhile the Summer Yume Mirage finished 6th in Street FWD 2 class with a best of 1 minute 05.783 seconds. Not bad for their first outing! As for our overall placement.......well, don't even think about it, we're all absolutely buried by the Open class cars
For participating on the Super Battle, I received quite a lot of memorabilias, including a bunch of stickers, mugs, keychain, 2020 calendar and......a special copy of this month's RevSpeed Magazine, signed by Under Suzuki himself! That alone already made me sooooo happy. And for the monetary prizes, I received V$400 for finishing 7th in class and V$50 as overall standing's consolation prize, all to be transferred along with my weekly paycheck. After the podium ceremony was over, I went back home with a happy, satisfied heart.......and still wearing my race suit. It's absolutely cold as the sun sets that day.
[13 Dec 2019]
As I took my shower, I remembered my appointment with Muza to accompany him for his special deal. I immediately sped up my shower, quickly change into my hoodie and denim, wear my racing gloves, get into my sneakers, grab the RevSpeed magazine I received from the Super Battle, skip brunch and set off to the new KS HQ in Tokyo with this song blaring in the Silver Queen's speakers. Two hours later, I arrived at the HQ. Muza was there, but Marc were nowhere to be seen and Ziga apparently was just moving off from Inawashiro.
"Yo Muza, where's everyone?"
"I'm not even sure, it's been empty when I come here. But it looks like someone has used our tools"
"Someone? AJ? Marc? Someone else?"
"Marc, and his friends I guess. I mean look at this AE86"
"Eh? An AE86? I don't remember any of us owning an AE86-"
"That's my point. It must be one of his friend's"
"Hmmmm good point"
"Anyways Edo, how's your race yesterday?"
"IT'S AMAZING! Well, I didn't win, but what an event it was!"
"It seems like you enjoyed it. Tell me more"
"I enjoyed it A LOT! Quite a lot of pros at the event, and turns out a lot of my friends joined as well!"
"Wew, it's already the time you share blankets with the pros, eh?" *chuckle*
"Eh, ideally I'm still far from that, but seeing them run in front of my eyes is just.....majestic man"
"I know that feel, after years of seeing them on your phone finally you can watch the real deal"
"Yeah! And oh, I've got a free magazine as well! Let me pick it up in my car" *runs downstairs*
So, as we waiting for Ziga and wonder where's Marc, we read the RevSpeed Magazine that I got. An hour later though, we heard an engine sound, then someone, maybe two, stepping into the garage. I wonder who is it?
"Hey, you know who that is?"
"I don't think so, none of our cars has that engine sound. Wait here, observe from above"
And so, Muza went downstairs and talked to a copule standing in front of the garage. Turns out the man is Hanteo, one of Marc's close friends and also his colleague. The woman behind him is Kumi, Hanteo's daughter. After Muza had a bit of chatter with Hanteo and telling him to park his car at the garage's storage room, finally Marc arrived to the HQ with even more of his friends in his recently bought Evo IX MR.
And the next thing we know, hilarity ensues as Marc bickered with Muza and Hanteo upon his sudden disappearance. Turns out Marc had a lunch with his friends, but (a)He forgot to leave any messages to anyone, and (b)They were outside for longer than they should. Marc almost forgot our appointment over Muza's special deal as well, so it's no wonder that Muza spilled his thoughts to Marc's face for a while. After they done bickering and Marc's friends continued their work on the AE86, I went downstairs to greet Marc and flex the RevSpeed magazine copy
"Ooh nice. What's that?"
"A free copy of RevSpeed magazine, baby! Man you should've been there!"
"Ah, I wish I could, but right now this AE86 is one of my top priorities right now"
"Well yeah, your Evo is already alive now, but what about the Mustang?"
"That's my premier job as well, but I'd like to save a bit for other parts"
"Mmmm I can see that. Gotta keep that American authenticity. Ah by the way are these your friends?"
"Exactly. And yeah they're my crew, most are my colleagues as well"
"I want to talk with them but I don't want to disturb them. That young woman over there is yours as well?"
"Yep, not my colleague but a close relative to one of them"
"Well she looked like a high-schooler.......is that really your taste in woman, mate?"
*lightly pushes me* "AY, NO! I'm not THAT kind of pervert or a creep-"
*parries in panic* "OI! I meant those who are younger than you, not outright high school girls man!"
"Ah, ummm......possibly, it could be, but it could be not as well"
"Oh come oooooon just tell me. Though not gonna lie, she's cute and attractive......."
*lightly slaps me* "Ha! You're the pervert one! And don't you ever try to cheat on Sera! REEEEEE-"
"Ey what? It's just natural that I'm attracted to girls man! I'm still as straight as Monza's main straight!"
"Well you're right, but ain't you already got Sera for your own?"
"Eh? Oh, I don't even started a relationship with her, we're just close friends that is all"
"After everything that happened in this summer?" *in mocking tone* "Oh you poor poor thing........."
"Eh, poor I am indeed. At least she indirectly saved my life once......."
At this point, finally Ziga arrived in the KS HQ with his Evo 6. Muza separated us and stopped us from our bickering.
Mu: "Oi STOP FIGHTING! Ziga's here!"
Ma: "Oh, already?"
E: "Phew, finally!"
Mu: "We're almost late for the deal mate, let's bounce now!"
E: "Aight, let's bounce"
Ma: "Hold up, let me giv my crew some pointers"
Mu: "Okay, I'll go ahead"
E: "I'll go ahead as well. And I wish she didn't listen to us earlier, dang........"
Ma: "Well, yeah I wish as well. It's quite embarassing" *laughter*
After Marc giving his pointers to the crew and handed them his keys to the garage, we set off to the deal location somewhere near Tokyo. To make our trip quicker and to make our lost time waiting for Marc and Ziga, we stormed the C1 loop once again. We were all on high spirits as I blasted this song on my Evo's sound system.
It's a pristine, pure white Porsche 930! According to the papers Muza handed to me for a while it's not the Turbo version though. Nevertheless a 930 is a 930, and that means an instant passport to a pure sportscar driving experience. And presumably a safer one, since the Turbo version were infamous for an extreme amount of turbo lag, causing the drivers to went out of control once the turbo boost finally kicks in properly and leading to a sizeable amount of wrecked 930 Turbos and dead drivers. These series of accidents earned the 930 Turbo a grim nickname of 'Widowmaker'.
You see, by today's meet, we accidentally had a huge inter-generation meeting between the Evos. From the first gen, there's my Evo III. From the second one, Ziga brought his Evo VI TME. And finally, from the third gen, Marc has his Evo IX MR. And by coincidence as well, all the Evos that are here were (a)The final Evo for each of their platforms and (b)The fastest Evo Mitsubishi offered when they were on sale. So, before we had our lunch, we decided to have an impromptu photo session of the cars. Ain't it beautiful to see a wide band of generation reunited? Though I have to admit, a burger joint isn't really an ideal place to unite them
"Hello, Yuan Edo here"
"Ah hello Edo-kun. Kitagara here"
"Kitagara.....ah, Kitagara-sensei, is that you?"
"Yes, it's me. How's the progress of your translation?"
"Mostly done, will finish the rest of it today"
"Good to hear! Ah listen, are you busy at 15th?"
"No, I don't think I will. Do you need my help for the day?"
"I have an idea. Come to Tsukuba circuit with the documents, I'll be there as well."
"Good idea, but what will be on for the day there? A drift day?"
"Even better. It's the AE86 festival"
"Wowee! But I don't have an AE86-"
"Ah don't you worry, we'll drive together in mine"
"That's quite kind of you sensei, I appreciate that. Okay I'll go there"
"Great, see you at the track then. Have a nice afternoon"
"See you sensei, good afternoon"
I don't even have an AE86 so that's actually not on my bucket list, but there you go, I was invited to the AE86 festival. This time though, I will only be riding shotgun. And that means I will go to Tsukuba Circuit thrice a week.....how cool is that? And later on when I checked the even't information page, turns out aside from free runs for AE86 and ZN6 owners they also had a drift competition, as well as time attack competition. And they will also have a guest as well.
To allow myself preparing for the Eastern Kanto circuit trials the next day, I decided to leave the boys earlier than I should. I wish I could see Marc's crew again and talk with them.........they looked like a good bunch to talk and drive with. And of course I would like to visit the KS HQ for another time, it's quite comfy enough to be called a second home for pretty much everyone. I guess I could sleep there as well
[14 Dec 2019]
As I arrived at the circuit, I do my usual routines: Install the timer beacons, set the race number stickers, go to the locker room to change into my race suit as well as to heed my call of nature, get back on the paddock and have some banters with fellow racers while waiting for the drivers briefing. At this point it has become a normal routine for me, but way back then, I didn't expect myself to be able to do this all the time Eh, we never could guess the twists and turns of fate itself, though there are some that admittably can be bent. Had if I never considered to enter RAYS Challenge in Hyper Meeting earlier this year, I'll never get the taste of competitions until now.
Since my Evo has a Tomei 2.2L stroker, that landed me in the NT3 class intead of NT2. I'm currently sitting in 8th in class and 10th in overall standings after skipping the 5th round at Sodegaura Forest Raceway. All I had to do is do my best to improve my position in the final standings. The format of the day is 1x5 lap shootout, which seems a bit more forgiving compared to the usual 2x one-lap shooutout, but for me it's even more strict and punishing. Basically you only got three lap to socre your lap, with the rest of them used for getting out from and back to pitlane. If you make a small mistake at one of the laps, you can still immediately try to recover at the next one. But if you crashed your car early, it's quite an obvious game over. And there are 30 cars today, which are 10 cars from NT3 class, 12 from NT2 class, 7 from the NT1 class and only one from the AT class.[*]NT1: <=1600cc Road cars, including MX-5s of all generation, but no VTEC/MIVEC/Similar sytsem allowed
[*]NT2: <=2000cc 2WD and 4WD Road cars
[*]NT3: >2000cc 2WD and 4WD Road cars, as well as rotary-engined cars
[*]AT: Anything from above-well, pretty much anything with automatic transmission
Turbocharged, supercharged and rotary engined cars has their engine capacity multiplied by 1.5
With the drivers briefing over, we all went back to our cars and prepare for the final competitive run of the year, and the race control tower blasted this song to spice up our preparations. Moments later, it's time for me to get into the track and use the three chances that I have to set my laptime.
An hour later, the resuts are in! I scored a best lap of 59.468 seconds, unexpectedly placing me 4th in NT3 class and 6th overall! And with that result, I landed in 6th place in the class's final classification and 9th in the final classification. I could've snagged 8th overall since I tied with the 8th place, but since he attended more rounds than me, he had the right to be placed 8th. But hey, at least I actually improved my position in the classifications!
And with that, I won quite a lot of memorabilias and a 2020 calendar from TMAC as the event's host (and that means I've got quite alot of mugs and keychains at the end of the year ). As for the monetary rewards, I got quite a lot from them:
- 4th place in NT3 class, Eastern Kanto Circuit Trial Championship final round = V$ 600
- 6th place overall, Eastern Kanto Circuit Trial Championship final round = V$ 800
- 6th place in NT3 class final standings, Eastern Kanto Circuit Trial Championship final round = V$ 1000
- 9th place overall final standings, Eastern Kanto Circuit Trial Championship final round = V$ 400
After the podium ceremony has finished and everybody had their final chatter and banters, I went back home in a freezy, dark sunset. But no, that wasn't my final visit to Tsukuba for this year, because I still got one more thing to do..........
[15 Dec 2019]
I walked to the other end of the paddock to find this lovely, period-correct example, sitting on SSR MK III wheels and completed with Cibie bumper lights. I do remember Kitagara-sensei's AE86 having Cibie front lights as well, but the wheels were totally different. Is this his car or somebody else's? Nevertheless I spent my time for a while by admiring the AE86 and taking pics of it.
"Enjoying the cars here? Do you like my car's new upgrades?"
"EH WHA-Oh, Kitagara-sensei! I-I'm sorry for being a bit rude"
"No no, no problem at all"
"Ah yes, did you change the wheels sensei? I don't think it looked like that the last time I saw this car"
"Yes, it's now sitting on SSR MK III wheels. I was getting bored by the previous wheels"
"Aaaaah I see, wise choice on the new ones sensei. Period-correct, I should say"
"That's excatly what I was for, a period-correct look"
"Anything else that is new?"
"Switched to new valves and cams. Was considering billet heads or even supercharger but nope"
"Well, supercharger would be an overkill, but billet head is a good idea"
"Yeah, probably someday"
With the drivers briefing coming up, we went off to the conference room. Today's event are split into two sessions: Free run session, where everyone are free to drive however they like until lunch time, and the competition session where the drift and time attack competitions will be held. The drift competition are split into clubman class and pro class. Whereas the pro class has the usual single and tandem runs, the clubman class only employs the single run format. As for the time attack, they're split into the AE86 and ZN6 classes. Kitagara-sensei originally wanted to enter the clubman drift competition, but eventually he doesn't think he would cut it with fresh, unproven parts.
And later on the special guest was revealed: It's Kunihiko Bandoh and his AutoBahn Soarer! Kunihiko came from the same crop with Under Suzuki, being an office employee who likes to tune his car. Just like Under, he has developed the Z30 Soarer for roughly a decade, and this year finally he made his international debut by entering the Soarer in WTAC, aided by Under in the process.
With the driver's briefing over, we jumped into our cars and get ready for the free run session. I am riding shotgun inside Kitagara-sensei's AE86 to see him fling the AE86 sideways for the first half of the day. After decades of owning and driving the car, I wanna know just how far Kitagara-sensei still got it. And I should admit, this is the first time I'm inside an AE86. Of course, I'm quite excited to be driven in one because it's that car from Initial D (though it's not the exact car that either Takumi, Wataru or Shinji drives), but I'm also excited because I've got to get inside one of the motorsport icons in general.
Finally we were able able to line up at the pitlane after queueing for a while to get into the track. In just over 5 minutes the track has turned into a huge band of 4A-GE powered orchestra, covered in thin tyre smokes from everyone that drifts here and there. And because it's AE86 festival, race control tower pumped for us a lot of Super Eurobeat collections along the day. Initial D, AE86 and Eurobeat songs has been associated with each other these days, and it actually shows
"Um, sensei, is that all for the day?"
"Well no, there's still more"
"Eh? Why we're back into the pits then?"
"Take the wheel"
"Um, excuse me sensei?"
"Take the wheel, I want to see you drive"
"Ah, but um, it's your car, I'm not sure if I could-"
"Yes you can. You're a racing driver, you should know the car's limits already"
"Ah, I kinda do, okay then. Well, here goes"
And so, we stopped the car and switched places, with me behind the wheel now. With some time left to drive the AE86, I drove to the pit exit.