Ten years is no small feat.
I remember when the attack series first came out. To be honest, I didn’t think much of it at the time, probably because Tsukuba Circuit already had a Battle Evome for time attacks. The folks behind the Battle Evome event have done a great job; they’ve kept things amateur-centric and so small that it’s a real pleasure to cover. I got to know the regulars and watched their cars evolve over the years until the series came to a close in 2016.
Battle Evolve is always with Rotating speed A magazine super battle event that has been held at Tsukuba Circuit for over 30 years. Every December, the annual Super Battle still invites Japanese tuning shops and parts manufacturers to compete for the top honor.
The attack, however, is different.it brings everyone Together – amateur racers and pro teams alike.
That’s why at Attack Tsukuba you’ll see Yoshiki ‘Fire’ Ando driving his 49-second Escort Racing Evo, and Nobuteru ‘Nob’ Taniguchi driving various workshop demo machines, plus Tie Cars and homemade creations. Everyone is striving for faster lap times in their respective races. The best part is that Attack has become a proper series with added rounds at Sugo, Suzuka, Fuji and Okayama.
It grew so fast that Tsukuba started to have problems accommodating all the Attack competitors. In 2023, there will be 155 cars, which is insane.
What really struck me, though, was that 59 of these entrants had lap times of less than a minute. The fastest was Fire Ando, who ran a lap time of 50.112 seconds, just shy of his personal best of 49.897 seconds and the track record of his modified Tsukuba TC2000.
As always, the first thing I did when I arrived at Attack Tsukuba last Saturday was head to the pits to check out all the heavyweights before the track opened.
It was cool to see the RE Amemiya crew again in an attack event. They used to be regulars at Tsukuba and of course started chasing lap times before the term “time attack” was coined.
The team was there driving their old 20B 3-rotor FD3S rail car, now being advertised by RE Amemiya customers.
The initial walk allowed me to see Attack regulars, see how they’ve changed over the past year, and get a first look at brand new entrants, like the Madface x D Spec GR Yaris, all the way from South Korea. Under the driving of driver Li Dajun, the Yaris equipped with Rocket Bunny achieved the best lap time of 1″02.665.
While it’s always exciting to see international competitors, in 2023, it’s another thing that stands out for me: the Suzuki Jimnys!
That’s right, just when you think you’ve seen it all in Japan, a bunch of track-ready Jimnys race past you at the Tsukuba hairpin, and when their solid front axle struggles to handle the level, they The left front wheels are held up high and they were never designed to deal with lateral grip. Don’t worry, I’m going to dedicate an entire article to all the Jimnys at Attack Tsukuba, because I know you’re going to have real fun with them.
Cusco has the only GR Corolla in the event and posted the fastest lap time of the 1″02, just shy of its PB 1’01.229. For a stock car that basically travels light, it’s almost insane .
Thanks to Cusco, everyone in attendance was able to indulge in some Super GT gold in 2007. The GT300-class Cusco Dunlop GD Subaru Impreza is a legendary car from an era when the Super GT secondary class was more fun than ever.
Here’s Under Suzuki chatting with Techno Pro Spirits’ Kumamura-san in front of Suzuki’s iconic Scorch Racing S15.
This is the first time the Sylvia has been seen in sunlight since some major updates. A transaxle gearbox was introduced, while almost everything else was redesigned, including the yet-to-be-finished carbon fiber body. If the S15 chassis had been used in the Super GT GT500 class, it might have looked like this!
The car was only meant to be showcased at Attack Tsukuba, and Suzuki-san now only has a few months left to complete the work before shipping it to Australia for WTAC later this year.
This is another car I’m going to have to show you more of, partly because it’s a GT-R — we’ve loved every generation of the GT-R — but also because this is the new AutoBahn time attack machine. It was built in collaboration with Bando-san, who has now retired his full-carbon Z30 Soarer, formerly one of the fastest cars in the Japanese time trial. The out-of-the-box R33 was the fourth fastest lap of the day with a time of 54.184.
It was awesome to see the paddocks in Tsukuba filled with cars. It’s a true hybrid of the old faithful and ready-to-go new car.
I’ve rounded up some of my favorite cars in a separate post where I can share them with you in more detail. There is so much to see and take in.
Auto Produce Boss teamed up with Bridgestone and rolled out their RZ34 for some hot lap testing. A quick look at the car reveals that it’s mostly stock form, with Endless brakes, adjustable shocks, an exhaust and some mild aerodynamics, the main changes. The fact that it managed to outrun Tsukuba by 1 minute is a testament to just how capable the new Z is.
The paddock is always busy, with the cars either heading out to the track in preparation for the next race, or returning after three or four warm-up laps during the 20-minute race. I’ve found makeshift pits that use heaters to keep the brakes warm — any advantage would allow the car to attack right out of the lap.
Of all the carbon-fiber-clad FDs, which are more like GT cars than their original production counterparts, it’s nice to see a small group of RX-8s.
While these cars are underpowered, their near-perfect weight distribution and handling make them great track cars. They clearly responded well to the good setup, with two of the five RX-8s lapping the 59-second zone.
And we can’t forget the Suzuki Swift, which remains a popular entry-level time trial bike. This one was built by Rainbow Auto (Jimny specialists, which I’ll post in a separate post) and it does look like it has all sorts of aerodynamics. 1″03.174 was the best time of the day.
The cars poured into the auxiliary pit just outside the track entrance. Above you can see how they are under the barrier on the outside of Turn 1.
A big part of the time attack is tires, specifically picking the right type, compound, size and making sure they are warm before each outing. It’s also important to scrape off the worn rubber that tends to bead up along the tread to keep the tire serviceable from the start.
If there’s one thing I love about Japan, it’s the way the JDM style is applied to European cars, like this BMW E46, which looks downright functional sitting on a set of Enkei wheels. SunBeam in Tokyo is a master at this!
celebrating The car is as much a part of the Attack as the 800hp aero monster, and reminds you that it’s not the type of car you drive that matters, but what you do with it.
That’s why there are so many variations of Attack – big and small, cheap and expensive, very powerful and not powerful at all.
Attack’s FF class has been in the spotlight because it’s home to the fastest Civics in Japan. One of them was the naturally aspirated Rise Up EK9, which ran a lap time of 58.4 seconds and finished 42nd overall.
But it was another EK9 that surprised everyone during Friday’s practice, and I’ll cover that car in another post.
From outside the track entrance, along the passage in the center of the Tsukuba layout, cars occupy all possible spaces.
It’s here that I spotted Usui Motors’ Honda CR-X, which looks just like it was on display at Wekfest Japan. Check out that engine bay! Mark shot the bright yellow EF8 while in Japan last month, so stay tuned for the full capabilities of this new machine.
As I walked all the way to the far paddock, I was surprised to find more Competing cars.
Including this widebody Toyota MR-S, running Honda K-swap, it flat laps in under 1 minute all day long.
However, the best thing about the day was my impression of Attack Tsukuba 2023. Seeing more cars than ever at any event in Tsukuba reassures us that car culture – at least when it comes to timekeeping – is not only alive and well in Japan, but thriving.
I get a lot from Attack so make sure you check back soon. You don’t want to miss those Jimnys!
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