Browsing: Features

Life comes packed with learning experiences, and some of them cost more than others. When it comes to project cars, you’ve got to pay to play. Though these lessons are often costly, the knowledge gained helps pave the way to bigger and better builds. Text and Photos by Richard Fong Brandon English has first-hand experience facing the disappointments of project pitfalls, gaining experience from a costly vehicle build, and persevering to see the project through. The story of his project began in 2003 with the purchase of a Subaru WRX. He chose the bug-eyed GDB because of its all-wheel driveline,…

Perseverance often tips the scales when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds and adversity. For those who stick with a project given all the possible challenges that come with automotive tuning, the reward of seeing a project completed can be great. While this sounds a little too melodramatic to describe a vehicle build, we can attest to this particular instance as it took over a year and a half to finally photograph this vehicle for the pages of DSPORT. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Andrew Linga Daniel Spielman had been set on the Z33 since it first came to…

Strategies revolve around the rules. Sometimes rule changes can be worked with while others send competitors back to the drawing board. In the world of racing, this is normal. At the pinnacle of motorsports, Formula 1, rule changes resulted in completely redesigned chassis, aerodynamics and drivelines for the 2014 season. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Rob Shaw // Back From Leave Photography CHANGES FOR SHAKE UPS In the homeland of professional drifting, Japan, the D1 Grand Prix (D1GP) provided drivers with the first professional, organized and sanctioned drift competition. With relatively loose rules and few restrictions, it was…

These days, few can claim to have truly built an entire vehicle by themselves. Since the tuning knowledge base and information online (both good and bad) have grown exponentially, automotive enthusiasts theoretically have more data about how to modify vehicles than ever before. But too often, use of incorrect information, along with misuse or misinterpretation of proper knowledge lead to damaged engines and bad experiences that prove discouraging. Jeff Chang stands among the few enthusiasts that refused to give up, and despite his early misadventures, Jeff forged ahead by learning and doing much of the work on his Subaru himself.…

If you’re going in, go all in. This is the mentality and motivation behind HKS Japan’s special projects workshop builds. HKS engineers and tuners pour their experience in racing and high performance into the machines that emerge from this workshop. Anything less than record breaking is not an option. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Dino Dalle Carbonare Time Attack Heritage In 2001, HKS unleashed its carbon fiber Track Attack Altezza, otherwise known as the Tsukuba Record Breaker Version 1.0 (TRB-01). It broke the standing track record with a 55.800 second lap time. A few years later, HKS developed…

Airstrips and long tracks have become the playground for high-powered machines putting down well over 1,000 horsepower to the pavement. According to 6speedonline.com’s standing mile list, even factory supercars produce some serious trap speeds. The Corvette ZR1 (184 mph), Corvette C6 Z06 (171 mph), Porsche 997 Turbo (171 mph) and Porsche 996 Turbo (165 mph) utilize every inch of that mile of pavement to reach these figures. Now imagine reaching 187.34 mph in half the distance with only four cylinders? Text by Aaron Bonk // Photos by Richard Fong In the early 90s, Acura never really considered or cared about…

One glance at the Universal Technical Institute’s 2014 Ford Focus ST will spark a nostalgic feeling deep within any car enthusiast. That emotion which bridges the past with the present is exactly what the collaborators of this vehicle had in mind. UTI, Gulf Racing, Ford Motor Company and Tjin Edition all banded together to craft an unmistakable tribute to the legendary race past of Gulf Racing and to highlight the modern-day technology and unprecedented capabilities of today’s automotive industry. Text by Sami Sharaf // Photos by Gene Tjin and Universal Technical Institute Solid Foundation The onset of this project began…

Mash ups are inevitable. Fusion can be found in foods, fashion and lifestyle. So what happens when European automotive style gets blended with JDM? Well, you might end up with a build like Patrick Estudillo’s turbocharged, E46 M3 GTR. Text and Photos by Richard Fong Estudillo first fell in love with the E46 while in high school and later purchased his E46 brand new in September, 2006. As the final model year of the E46 chassis, it was the last hour to get his dream machine off the showroom floor before the new E92 M3 went into production. Straight from…

An invitation to race in the Pro Class of the World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC) is like qualifying for the Olympics. Only a handful of teams receive an invitation to represent their country, and this fiercely contested class features the quickest time-attack cars in the world. In the first two years of WTAC, Japan’s Cyber EVO and America’s Sierra-Sierra Enterprises dominated the Pro Class, with the Cyber EVO capturing hard-fought, back-to-back wins. But the retirement of the Cyber EVO and the Sierra-Sierra EVO opened the door to new competitors in the field. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Rob Shaw,…

Since their invention, video games have impacted the lives of millions around the world. These simulators allow players to hone their skills on virtual racetracks from around the world. For fanatics of driving games, winning races and earning racecar upgrades fuel the gaming addiction. Alex Robinson, a business owner from East Yorkshire, UK, has played every version of Sony’s Gran Turismo®, which he admits had a great impact on his interest in cars. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Chris Wallbank Going from virtual to real was a gradual progression for Robinson. He explained, “I started my tuning fetish…

Credibility and experience, especially in the world of racing, can take years to develop. In the case of SARD Co., Ltd., this heritage began in 1972, when it was known as Sigma Automotive Company. Within a year, Sigma Automotive began competing on an international level, becoming the first Japanese team to campaign a Japanese car in the 1973 24 Hours of Le Mans with its Sigma MC73 racecar (though it was forced out after 79 laps). Sigma Automotive went on to compete in the 1974 event with its Sigma MC74 which completed the race but failed to cover at least…

Specialists excel at what they do, and customers that know what they want are drawn to them. In the case of Naohisa Tazawa of Garage G-Force, he became a specialist by default. Tazawa recalled, “I worked on Galant VR-4 rally engines at my work, so I was already familiar with Mitsubishi engines. I decided to venture out on my own, by opening Garage G-Force as a non-specific tuning shop in snowy Aomori, Japan, in August 1996.” Six years later, Garage G-Force moved to its current facility in Yokohama. Text and Photos by Richard Fong At that time, focus shifted, and…

In the world of time attack in Japan, one of the most venerable tracks and benchmarked venues is Tsukuba Circuit. This famous racetrack could arguably be the birthplace of time attack competition. Although Tsukuba opened in the late 1960s, tuning shops didn’t start to actively compete in time attack-style venues until the Rev Speed Tsukuba Super Battles of the early 1990s. The Super Battles pitted together shop project cars and high-profile customer vehicles in competition for the quickest lap. At the first event, Tarzan Yamada piloted the Mine’s R32 GT-R to victory with a lap time of 1:00.85. While there…

Where one is good, wouldn’t two be better? This is sometimes true, and for Takayuki Maezuka, operator of a tuning shop in Chiba, Japan, called Car Making Revyou, it was an option to explore. Maezuka got his start in the industry, working at JUN AUTO for two years and at Top Secret for one year, before venturing off to start Car Making Revyou 15 years ago. His shop is a member of the RH9 Tuned Pro Shop group, which includes famed tuners like Top Secret, JUN Auto, Top Fuel and Phoenix Power. When just about every tuning shop jumped on…

To reach a goal, you’ve got to have a proper game plan. To achieve Record Holder 9 (RH9) status, that plan involves producing enough power to run a nine-second quarter-mile time on street-legal tires. As simple as it sounds, joining the RH9 club is no easy feat; however, with the right knowledge, achieving this goal is not only possible, but also very rewarding. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Scott Nelson of TPR Media FROM ROTARY TO RB Tessa Whyte has been a performance fanatic since she first learned to drive. Her first ride was a Mazda RX2 sedan…

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