The Japanese waste little time kicking off the New Year with events and celebrations. In addition to the Tokyo Auto Salon, the “Seijin No Hai” celebration and the first Sumo Tournament of the year, HKS puts together the first major motorsports festival for the season, known as the HKS Premium Day. Despite early morning rains, over 5,300 attendees made the trek to the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji on January 26, passing through the gates of the world famous Fuji Speedway. The track went hot with several racing events conducted throughout the day, while a car show, dyno challenge and a busy vendor row offered a diversity of things to do.
Text by Richard Fong and Rob Shaw // Photos by Rob Shaw / BackFromLeave Photography
Option Fuji Super Lap
The indisputable main event on the track was the Option Fuji Super Lap competition. A field of 45 competitors was split into two categories. Thirty cars were placed into the Super Lap class, while the remaining 15 were classified into the One Make 86/BRZ class. This premier class of competitors represented some of the quickest machines in Japan, piloted by high-profile hot shots like Tarzan Yamada and Nobuteru Taniguchi.
In the Super Lap class, the competition was intense, and the lap times were blistering. Top honors went to the Top Fuel/Voltex Racing time attack S2000 piloted by Taniguchi. Not only did he take the class victory, Taniguchi also set a scorching new track record of 1:40.195. The runner up in the class was Mitsuhiro Kinoshita, who recorded his quickest lap of 1:41.777 behind the wheel of ATTKD’s R32 Skyline GT-R. In the 86/BRZ class, the Esprit 86 driven by Yamada earned the top spot with a 1:51.885 lap time. Only 0.122 seconds separated Yamada from the runner up, Taniguchi, driving the HKS 86 to a best lap time of 1:52.007.
A Class for All: Hiper Challenge
While the Option Fuji Super Lap class provided a venue for the top-tier competitors in attendance, the Hiper Challenge featured a diverse field of platforms, opened to anyone wishing to compete. Divided into three groups, 148 privateer competitors put rubber to the pavement in a time-attack competition. While sharing the track with such densely packed fields proved a challenge, the quickest rose to the top in each class, delivering impressive lap times comparable to some of the Super Lap times. Skylines dominated all three classes, with the quickest being Naoto Ito in the A Group. Ito ran a 1:48.945 in his R32 Skyline GT-R.
Vendors, Products and Projects
The Premium Salon featured 46 vendor booths, including representation by allied manufacturers and tuning shops. In addition, HKS showcased some of its latest wares and technology, ranging from suspension and tuning components for the 86/FR-S/BRZ, S2000 and CR-Z to hardcore RB26 and VR38 engine components. An HKS legend, the CT230R, made an appearance and has been revamped with HKS’ bi-fuel system, which incorporates natural gas. HKS also educated attendees about its non-endemic programs, including natural gas projects, aircraft engine programs and marine applications. This broad display of products demonstrated HKS’ diverse development programs.
HKS Experience Test Ride
A test drive usually seals the deal when it comes to cars, so why not take a test ride in a tuned car? HKS provided just such an opportunity to attendees, giving them the chance to ride in HKS-tuned vehicles. There were supercharged 86s, a WRX, a supercharged CR-Z, a supercharged S2000 and an R35 GT-R with the GT600 sport package were available to those interested in experiencing the difference that tuning can make.
An Event for All
As the books close on yet another HKS Premium Day, attendees left Fuji Speedway with an encouraging sense of focus on the automotive lifestyle. In addition to witnessing Taniguchi set a new track record in the Top Fuel/Voltex Racing S2000, they observed shakedown passes by the HKS GT1000+ GT-R, a dyno challenge won by a supercharged Toyota Tundra, and plenty of entertaining side shows throughout the day. For any fan of HKS, this is one day not to be missed, and we can hardly wait for the 2015 HKS Premium Day. Stay tuned.