Now that winter is upon us and there is too much snow on the track to race, it's time to plop in front of the TV and get caught up on some DVD watching.
For our featured DVD this month, Best Motoring International teamed up with Japanese performance magazine Hot Version to bring us "Tuner Battle Royale". This 90-minute DVD is filled with high-quality footage and exclusive interviews with famous Japanese racers.
First stop is Japan's famous Tsukuba track for the Hot Version Festival 2005. Aside from Festival footage, the real action takes place on the track with the Tsukuba Circuit Battle featuring N/A versus turbo vehicles. Representing for the all-motor team is a bad-ass CWest S2000 that handles like a kart, J's Racing S2000-one of the top tuners for S2Ks, Route KS Zero Force NSX with an all carbon fiber body that weighs less than Lindsay Lohan, and finally, Re Amemiya 3-rotor FD piloted by Drift King Tsuchiya. Rolling up to the line for the turbo team is a Yashio Factory S15 whose pastime is chasing GT-Rs off the track, Hosaka Tuning Factory R33 GT-R, an HKS R34 Driving Performance with a variable valve timing system, touge monster MCR34 GT-R, and Mine's 600-hp R34 GT-R. It almost seemed like an S2000 versus Skyline battle. All the vehicles were aiming to beat the one-minute mark during qualifying. So not to spoil the outcome of the battle, what we will say is how obvious it is that N/A cars just can't keep up on the straightaway. Plus we all know how lovely a turbo spooling sounds.
Next up at Tsukuba is a drifting exhibition. What is cool about this DVD is that they identify the names of each type of drift. Who knew there was a cross-line drift, slalom drift, and jump rope drifting?
We remain at the Tsukuba circuit for the AE86 N2 Championship 2005. A fleet of Toyota Corollas hit the track including the vehicles of: Drift King Tsuchiya's by TRD, Sugibayashi Powers, Spirits DL Project Mu, Kito Kito Sprinter, Tec-Art Trueno, BRIG Cool Max CP Levin, kms woodvillage, kms Isono, Ishii Powers, CBY Trueno, Car Factory AI, Koshimizu Motors, Annex Mu Advan, and Kaneko Powers. Highlights of the race include seeing how Drift King responds when things don't go as planned, watching Tec-Art's sequential gearbox in action on the track, the stylistic debate of whether or not to sport a GT wing, and the good ol' underdog private owners taking their hachi roku's up against shop-sponsored cars.
Our favorite feature of this DVD was the Touge Showdown 300, Round 3 on Japan's Gunma 1.5 km downhill. Three pro drivers, Keiichi Tsuchiya (GT500 driver), Manabu Orido (GT500 driver), and Taniguchi-san (GT300 driver), evaluate and compete with a series of vehicles limited to 300 hp on the touge. Did we mention model Kozumi Kondo is in this feature? The car to beat was the Amuse S2000 F20C. With 260 hp; front engine, rear drive layout; double wishbone front and rear; and upgraded rear suspension from an '04 model, it is a touge monster. The competing cars were a Circuit Club Integra Type-R DC5, BROS Accord Euro-R (our Acura TSX), Route KS S2000, Fujita Engineering RX-8, Yashio Factory 180SX FR turbo, and San AI Works FC. After the drivers took the vehicles out for a run and gave their impressions the battle began Initial D style-tail-to-bumper start, the front car wins if the lead is spread, rear car wins if the gap is decreased. Out of that competitive group you'll have to watch the DVD to see who took home the trophy.