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Japan Day Six, Part One: Tsukuba Circuit

September 27, 2017 11 min read

I might sound like a broken record, but this is going to be the largest, most picture heavy entry yet. Over 170 pictures and it’s only going to be part of what we experienced at Tsukuba. With that said, I’ll pick up where we left off after visiting K-TECH Engine Service.

It was an early morning for us, we had to be down stairs to meet with Tim around 5am as Tsukuba was about 2.5 hours north of our hotel and getting to the track day before the drivers meeting was paramount. We would be staying north of Tokyo in Utsunomiya, Japan which would get us closer to the Honda Collection Hall at Twin Ring Motegi which we would be headed to the following day. Tim showed up at the hotel a little later than planned as he had something important come up at work that he needed to handle. Since we were taking the DC5 not only to the racetrack, we were also traveling further north so with all of the racing gear in the back, we left our suitcases with the front desk as we would be returning to Chiba in a few days.

On the way out of Tokyo the traffic sucked. It seemed like it took forever to just get out of the city onto the open road.I snapped some pictures of this VW wagon in the meantime.

Daihatsu Move. If you have ever played any of the older Gran Truismo games, you hate this car.

Within a matter of seconds all of these scooter guys came flying down the center of traffic. People riding these things are no joke, it seemed like they don’t even care about getting run over.

We were rolling close to 60mph and these scooter guys were cruising with us.

Subaru R2, something most people in the US will never see or hear about.

Honda Mobilio Spike.

Another Fit Shuttle. I don’t know how I feel about these things. Yea, they are cool… but they are also kinda ugly. Normal Fit’s are better proportioned I think.

Getting into the town there more cool signs to read. Golf Partner.

We were thinking about staying at the Hotel Do Do… but decided not to.

The land flattened out and rice fields starting showing up everywhere.

I think this is Mt Tsukuba in the distance.

JDM road construction. Naturally, the road poles are held up by orange caution monkeys.

This was like some sort of vegetable highway or something, I’m not totally sure but I remember Tim talking about it.I have no idea what that could even be… haha

It’s pretty empty out here… much different than the hustle of the cities.

We aren’t far away from the track now.

I don’t know what the hell this thing is, but it was pulling out of the seicomart.

We were certainly heading in the right direction, tuner cars started popping up.

There it is! You can see the Autobacs tower in the distance!

Down the street from Tsukuba, there are a few shops and parking lots that are filled with awesome cars. We explore some of these later, but in the meantime check out this row of Skylines and what looks like a DC2 with a Mugen rear wing.

A little blurry, but it was the best one that I took while driving by the main grandstands.

We had to follow the road down and take a few right turns to get to the back of the track. Tim would be racing on Tsukuba Circuit 1000 which is located on the back section of the facility.

You can see the TS 1000 located in the red box. Considerably shorter and slower than the main track, but still very technical. Tim said a sub 40 second lap at this track was extremely fast.

We arrived late and had missed the drivers meeting so we had to hurry to get set up and check in.

We pulled through the parking lot and found a spot next to this guy with the silver FD2. Tim knew him and mentioned that he has driven this car around the track before.

This car was super clean and functional. Later in the day I actually took this car on a little joy ride around the parking lots. We would have been able to race had we attended the drivers meeting, but it’s ok, I wanted to be a fly on the wall and just take in the full experience.

This place was an FD2 haven… they were everywhere and certainly the most popular car here. We will start off the count, this is #2.

Mostly stock FD2 Type R, #3.

I hoped up on the hill when I heard engines roar, and started snapping pictures. Please forgive the scattered layout of this blog as I’m uploading them in the order that I took them for continuity.There were a few FN2′s here as well.

Track prepped DC2 Type R.

Black FD2 Type R, #4.

The star of the event was on the track as well. The SEEKER built S2000 was laying down some fast laps as Teroaka San was dialing in the suspension.

Looking over my shoulder you could see the parking lot of this place was filled with Honda’s. I took nearly 1000 pictures this day.

This EVO IX was loud and judging by the fireballs blowing out of the exhaust, pretty fast.

FD2 Type R, #5. This thing was covered in stickers for no apparent reason. It wasn’t a factory SEEKER car, just one of their customers.

FD2 Type R, #6.

One of the fastest cars of the day… DC5 Type R. This thing was serious.

A better picture of this FD2.

Beautiful DB8 Type R on bronze CE28s and TE37s.

DAP Civic SiR EK4.

Captiva blue Civic SiR EG6. This car also had a K-TECH balanced engine.

FD2 Civic Type R (Mugen RR edition), #7…

More shots of Teroaka San dialing in the S2000.

Came in a little too hot on this turn and ended up spinning it. I wish I had a more powerful lens as this made for a really cool shot.

We pulled the plate off of Tim’s DC5, cleaned it up and as he was checking the tire pressure, I was taking pictures. ^_^

FD2 Civic Type R, #8. This one also with many SEEKER parts and a nice set of Volk RE30s.

SEEKER carbon front lip.

This car was rad. One of the best looking at the event.

Once Tim got set up I went walking around the pits to check out the cars.

A group of DC5 drivers, including that gnarly yellow one parked over here. They unloaded all of their stuff from their cars and set up a tent. We forgot ours. -__-

Blue DC5 Recaro anyone?

I talked to this guy, well, Tim talked to this guy for me for a little while and he was super cool.

Water in the headlight… :-(

This is the same EK9 from SEEKER’s shop. The owner of this car was also super cool.

FD2 Civic Type R, #9. Like the other FD2 this car was covered in vinyl… Now, I’m not sure many will agree with me, but if you saw this car at a car show or event in the US… it would kill. It really makes you believe that it is associated with FEEL’S, but it doesn’t. I don’t think this car was particularly fast on the track given the amount of stickers it had on it. But in any case, it’s an FD2 and it’s still cool.

I’m always a fan of blue wheels. :-)

So. Many. Stickers. Not to mention the terrible looking aero… (even though it’s Bomex.) Oh well, still FD2.. still cool.

In line waiting to get on to the track.

This CR-Z was awesome looking even with the reverse stagger wheels and tires…

This Mugen RR was dope, although I don’t know why anyone would put those tail lights on it. -__-

The RR was also sporting the new Volk Racing G25 wheels.

Why own a naturally aspirated S15 Silvia?! I can appreciate the effort, but c’mon… these things need to be turbocharged.

I didn’t see this thing out on the track, I guess it was just a spectator’s ride. Like the Daihatsu. Move, the Suzuki Cappuccino was one of the my least favorite cars in Gran Turismo. haha

Teroaka San offering tips on suspension setup. This is one of the things that really sets the SEEKER guys apart from the other tuning companies. These guys will help you set your car up correctly, and Teroaka San will even drive your car and tell you what feels wrong and how to drive it. He was all over the place during the event.

This beautiful Championship white DC5 drove by me on it’s way to the starting line. The Mugen wing is a nice touch on even a stock looking car.

Odd how circuit is spelled, “CiRCUiT.”

I’ve got more pictures of this thing coming later on. You can it has been on the track getting hammered for a long time… haha

The paddock area was for members of the track and who ever wanted to pay for it. SEEKER had a stall over here with all of their gear in it.

Today’s track map.

This Move was actually pretty cool. Crazy loud and filled with a million roll bars.

I feel like this car was always out on the track because every time I would go by the fences to watch it was out there.

Another blue, bone stock DC5 Type R. <3

Two pretty cool tuned vans. The one on the right was actually owned by the guy hosting this track day. It has some pretty huge Brembo brakes. haha

Aside from Honda’s there were a few Toyota Altezzas here for the track day. The orange one in the distance was super tuned and quite fast.

This Kouki S14 Silvia also did a lot of laps. He was drifting most of the time which was awesome to watch.

JDM Toyota Altezza, complete with JDM stickers.

Teroaka San was back at the paddock taking a seat and having a drink before he got back into the S2000. You can see Omino San in the background cleaning a helmet or something.

I didn’t realize it at the time but this is the same blue DC5 from SEEKER’s shop. Yes, this girl was tightening the lugs, yes it is her car, yes she was racing it. Awesome.

I walked over to Teroaka San and he offered to show me this FD2. He said it had a K-TECH built engine. (FD2 Type R, #10)

The motor in this car was a full original rebuild.

Awesome!

To the left is Haga Kuniyuki, owner of K+UP Racing. He also sells Type R cars which he mentioned he does exports. ;-) Check out his site, www.TypeR.jp.The guy in the background with the helmet on was the owner of the SEEKER S2000.

Sign in desk and information. They were watching the live feed from the tower showing the current fastest lap times.

EK9′s in line ready to do battle!

I’m sad that I forgot this guys name because he was so cool, but in this pic he had just come in from a hot lap and was opening his hood to let it cool down.

FN2 cooling down after a session.

I walked back to the paddock and observed Ko Omino checking on the S2000 after it had been out for a few laps.

K-TECH / TODA built engine collaboration was powering this monster.

Ko was pulling the catch can out to clean it.

I would normally begin this sentence with, “I’m not a fan of different colored engine bays,” but in the case of this AP2, it looks good. The yellow and orange work with each other and I think it lends to the cool factor of this car.

Can’t forget to safety wire your oil filter.

The owner was getting ready to go back out for another session.

More talking and discussion from the men at SEEKER.

I could get pretty close to the track from here so I snap a few pics of some cars as they cam around the last turn. This S15 was… different.

Look closely and you’ll see the brake ducts stuck inside of the C-WEST bumper.

This R34 Skyline sedan was not only the slowest car of the day, it was also non-turbo and equipped with an automatic gearbox. I give this guy kudos for going out there and hammering the shit out of it anyway.

EVO X battle!

Another picture of this DC5 lifting the inside wheel.

Turbo Altezza and an EVO IX wagon were fighting it out as well. The evo was super fast and had a set of huge AP Racing brakes on it. Every turn it was burping fire.

A better shot of the front. The award for the fastest most practical track day car goes to this thing. Not only was is super fast, this guy brought so much shit with him to the track it was crazy. More on this later.

A pic of the other side of the paddock. Notice the Z33 Fairlady Z…

Time for another session.

#26, (SEEKER Ap2) currently fastest lap of the day.

Another black FD2 Type R, #11.

Super duper clean R32 GTR parked out near the road. Why this thing wasn’t on the track… I’ll never know.

This S2000 came in from a session and the brake pads were damn near on fire. You can see the smoke coming off of them.

A winning line up of Type R blood.

More spectators.

The silver FD2 next to Tim’s DC5 had the hood opened so I snapped a few pics of the bay…

Apparently this car is serviced at Type One.

The guys were doing more fine tuning on the AP2′s suspension.

The S14 was out throwing down some smooth slides.

The EK9′s were back out at it.

More of the JDM-ish FD2.

Tim had finally made it out onto the track and was putting out some pretty good times.

Tim was fast, but that EVO would catch him on the straight.

The blue DC5 was out as well.

DC2 and DB8 action!

Cool down time as it was almost lunch time.

I forgot all about this Prelude until I went back through the pictures. This car was actually very cool, and being that I’m not really a huge Accord/Prelude guy it really surprised me.

The engine mods looked relatively simple but the overall appearance was really nice.

I tried to steal one of these but it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase. ;-)

I went back to the EG6 to check it out.

K-TECH balanced engine. We spoke with the owner and told him he needed a K series engine and he said he doesn’t need more power, he needs to learn how to drive better. Well played sir.

I don’t know what is up with the colored vinyl at the bottom of the headlight but I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that would trade FA5 front ends with him.

Smoke break!

Our prototype shifter being abused… all day by Tim’s massive Australian arms.

Once the track cleared up, we had a small window to do ride along. You can’t come to Tsukuba and not go for a ride!

Then it was my turn.

It was really cool to go out and feel how the car handled at the limits. You could feel the DC5 rotate in the turns which is much different than the FD2. Tim prefers the DC5 handling characteristics over the FD2 for that reason… the FD2 has a lot of understeer.

Meanwhile, the SEEKER S2000 was getting lined up for a photo shoot. After it did about 90 laps, of course.

The yellow monster DC5 was cooling down. I’m not sure what was done to this thing but it was serious.

The guy with the EK4 was back by his car so we walked over to chat with him.

The car was all stock motor wise, but it did have some suspension and brake work.

We hooked this guy up with some Awesome Sauce and stickers for being so cool!

Back to this DC2 that had been cooling off… This car was racing with 3 different drivers so Tim and I think they had to have been running an endurance team, all getting a feel for the car.

Pretty standard minus the cage and seats.

J’s Racing intake and what looks to be a stock B18 header covered with heat wrap. This car has definitely seen better days.

Towards the end of the day they posted up the stats of the lap day. Tim ended up with the 17th fastest time of the day, not bad considering his car is stock with the exception of a Mugen airbox, Fujisubo exhaust, seeker aluminum radiator, brake lines, pads and coilovers. 2nd is the yellow DC5 and 1st is the SEEKER S2000 which is almost breaking the 40 second barrier.

Check back next week for part two of the Tsukuba track day as we take a hike and uncover some jewels hidden outside of the gates.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and if that is where you saw this post, share it!

Thanks for reading!

David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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