Over the past few weeks, I’ve been showing you different sides of Attack Tsukuba 2023.
We started with some main coverage where I talked about how this 10 year anniversary event was the biggest ever, followed by some interesting, occasionally aggressive Suzuki Jimny (yes, really), some Honda Today. kei cars, then earlier this week we get another look at Fire Ando’s all-conquering Escort Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evo – Japan’s all-time offensive king. As the last story of the event, I want to share with you four Attack Tsukuba heavy hitters.
Let’s start with the AutoBahn BCNR33 Nissan Skyline GT-R in which Kunihiko Bando turned up…
It was just that after The event is that I heard that Bando-san’s Auto Bahn/Joyo Z30 Toyota Soarer – a mainstay of Attack since the start of the series – is currently undergoing a rebuild. From the sounds of things, it will return in similar form to Tomohiko ‘Under’ Suzuki’s Scorch Racing Nissan Silvia S15.
Meanwhile, the AutoBahn GT-R is a completely new construction, but it’s safe to say that it has already impressed everyone.
The engine construction features some of the best components ever designed and engineered for high and reliable performance in an RB26. Specs include a big Garrett turbocharger, electric throttle body, Hypertune intake manifold, Scorch Racing clamps, high performance ignition coils, Ross cam release kit and dry sump system.
The power and setup are obviously there, as the Skyline was able to do a 54.184-second lap out of the box.
I have to say, simply love the look of this thing. The yellow and black scheme immediately brought back memories of the Penzoil GT500 GT-R driven by Eric Comaz in the 90s. The huge front manifold is straight out of Under Suzuki’s new “Full Throttle Carbon” catalog.
The carbon trunk lid also comes from UnderSuzuki.com, as do the massive rear wing and doors. I don’t know what happened to the rear bumper, but there is something cool about this look.
A pair of custom carbon front fenders could be the next addition, as the generic fenders fitted to accommodate the massive 295-section tires are a bit out of the question.
Inside, not much remains of the original car, perhaps only the main dashboard, steering column and firewall. I spotted an old MoTeC M800 ECU, PDM15 power distribution module and a C125 instrument cluster, along with a carbon panel that houses all the switchgear and fuses.
While I’m excited to see what happens with the AutoBahn Soarer, I have to say I’m just as interested to see how they polish this Skyline into a low 50 second zone car in the coming seasons. As the Evos, S-chassis and FD RX-7s have always been the fastest attacking cars in Tsukuba, it would be fantastic to see a GT-R in the top tier group.
ADMIX GT-R is another long-standing Japanese attacker that has improved a lot since I first encountered it at the Super Battle and Battle Evome events. At the time, it was simply known as that that mysterious RWB Skyline on the sides are the words “Real of the World” in gold letters.
In those days, Seyama-san, the owner/driver, ran laps of 58 seconds, a very respectable time for such a car. Fast forward a good eight years and Seyama-san’s best lap at Attack Tsukuba 2023 was 54″993.
I can’t stress how much of a difference 4 seconds makes on this course, especially when you’re already running in the sub-1 minute zone.
Great to see Seyama-san and the guys at ADMIX still developing this BNR32 Skyline GT-R. It’s also great to see that the base body still wears the deep red/purple infused satin black paint that Nojima-san put on the Nissan body at RAUH-Welt years ago.
Next up is the Wacky Mate FD3S Mazda RX-7 owned, driven and developed by Kengo “Lock” Suzuki, Suzuki’s younger brother.
This FD fits in pretty well with the other cars I’ve featured in this post as it’s been around the traps for a long time too. About a decade ago, Kengo built the RX-7 into a smaller Tsukuba track car, but I guess having Under Suzuki as his big brother meant he couldn’t stop. For years the Mazda continued to go faster, but eventually the 13B let go and Kengo hung up his racing gloves for a while.
When it came time to bring the car back, Kengo teamed up with Wacky Mate – no strangers to fast Tsukuba specials, including their own BNR32 GT-R – to take the build to a whole new level.
Today, the RX-7 not only has a hard-tuned triple-rotor 20B engine that provides the power to take on the serious times, but also an all-new exterior. Essentially, the once-white FD3S is now a raw carbon-clad beast, very similar in styling to Under Suzuki’s S15.
The car proudly bears the Under Suzuki branding on both the front lip spoiler and the rear wing which is a serious piece of downforce generating aero.
Check out the extensions. There is even a canard on the outer parts to make the best use of the air flow through it.
Kengo scored 55.548″ that day, which is fast. But this is a car that we can definitely expect to see even faster lap times once it’s fully engaged.
Last but definitely not least is the GNR Racing/Garage Rise Up EK9 Honda Civic Type R, which repeated its performance in 2022 by leaving Attack Tsukuba with a new FF record. This time it was a manic 55″144 and it was actually set on Friday’s test day.
What’s even more impressive about this lap time is that the Honda is aspirated.
I should also mention that being based in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in northern Japan, means that Tsukuba’s track time is always very limited for the GNR/Rise Up team. So to achieve what they have achieved with this car is amazing.
The Civic is a joy to look at, starting with the dry carbon fiber front diffuser, the impressive diet (it tips the scales at just 850kg!) and the aggressive staggered setup of the 18-inch 295-section tires. front and 17 inch 225s in the rear.
At the heart of it all is a smoothed 2.7-liter K-series engine that currently produces somewhere around 350 hp. You can see how much of the base frame has been cut from the front.
The EK9’s most striking angle has to be the rear, which houses the dry carbonation hatch and a huge wing that drapes over the car and sits on a pair of struts that double as air fins.
This build and all the others I showed during my coverage of Attack Tsukuba 2023 are proof enough that Japan’s time attack is currently the strongest it’s ever been. And that can only be a good thing.
Dino Dalle Carbonare