So here we were, it's 6am and the alarm has gone off on our hotel room in Yokohama. Yesterday was a busy day and today is 86 Style at Fuji Speedway. The original and ultimate '86' Day to celebrate our cars. I've long dreamed of coming to this event, but this morning I can't help wondering how even 86 day at Fuji can live up to what we experienced yesterday with Akira and friends.
So, feeling a little subdued, as after all the last twelve days have been pretty full on and well, we just haven't stopped! So, shower, coffee, hope the car starts after it being left for a day, fingers crossed we'll be on our way by 7am.
So we hit the expressway and as we had been warned by Terry, there was traffic even at this time. Thankfully it was at least moving for the most part. We opted to stop at the first services for breakfast. I think everyone else did too. Japanese services always seem to give that impression of stopping at a British services just as ten coaches pull up. It was before 8am and it was packed!
No Starbucks today, so I did my usual tactic of just making a quick-ish decision and took a usual gamble based on the picture of the food. Miso soup was an easy choice, just love this anytime really. Then we had what I think was fairly equivalent to a 'beef bowl' a Gyu-Don. Yoshi may well correct me on this! This is beef, rice and some spring onion which the Japanese call 'welsh onion' at times!
I also did my favourite trick of having a raw egg with it. I strained the white off the egg and poured the yolk into the bowl and gave it a bit of a stir. It just really adds to the flavour. So there we were, tucking into our breakfast. You don't get coffee with it, you get cold water for free, it seems to be what everyone does. Still job done and infinitely preferable than Starbucks or McDonald's we were full up and hit the expressway again.
So the rest of the journey was okay, the traffic cleared after the services and we did see some 86's of both types on our way there. Of course the closer we got the more we saw and I did feel a bit outdone in my poverty spec hire car. Maybe we should have put stickers on it stating the efforts we'd gone to get there!
We parked up having driven past the main arena display area, in a small car park with various cars in it. Had I known I would have driven round to the specific parking areas laid out for the cars on the other side of the circuit on the infield.
Upon getting out the car we could hear a lot of tyre screeching, meaning there must be some drifting going on, so we crossed the road to have a look. There was 'Area 86' where people were driving a slalom course through cones and then round a small skid pan area.
I think this was open to those who had booked a go on this course as they all had numbers on their cars. Judging by the driving this looked like people having a taster rather than demonstration runs.
There were a number of cars on display it seemed.
Here is the Sard GT86 of which it turned out there were three in various places. Note the aggressive bodykit.
This one looks like a TRD kit, but the wheels lool a little oversized. Note tow hook on front (complete with arrow) and red wing mirrors.
Rays wheels I think on the Sard.
We decided that really there wasn't much going on in this area, so we headed over to the main traders display area opposite the grandstand. Here's a nice clean Levin on Watanabes.
This was something I was less prepared for, the amount of interior styling going on. A bit of tan leather with seats a bit like a Citroen SM? To be fair it looks better than it sounds!
Interesting effect on the roof of this car too.
This is the kind of thing you'll never see in the UK, though that could be said of most of what we saw. Matt brown wrap with a semi-gloss black bonnet and roof with pattern. It's different alright.
We were right by the stage and guess who popped out, none other than Keichi Tsuchiya! Well this event wouldn't be complete without him. He certainly drew an audience and we stood there and watched for a while.
Whilst it was clear the audience was captivated and it did look entertaining, we couldn't really understand any of it. Really for us that was the biggest downside, our basic Japanese was nowhere near enough to follow any kind of conversation and also meant that I couldn't have the banter I normally do at these kind of events back in the UK.
Gazoo Racing are indeed absolutely everywhere it seems! Here with a turbo 4UGSE.
Red TRD running Advan wheels.
More Sard and this time the GT3 complete with a big turbo.
The bodykit also looks even more aggressive in white.
One of many Rocket Bunny kitted cars, this one finished in grey, which I admit, I just don't get.
The aggressive rear end of the Sard GT3. I wonder if it is a little over fussy.
Modellista kit, much more subtle.
It was nice to see that as much attention had been paid to the interior in a lot of the cars. Modellista interior.
Subaru GT300 engine, which by the looks of it is not an FA20/4UGSE as it's belt driven.
Some nice details on this car, it's full on race car of course.
Nice cutaway showing STI con rods
Here you can see it's belt driven. I don't know the full detail but suspect there is something earlier, likely Impreza derived about this engine.
A model we haven't seen on UK shores, the BRZ TS. This is kind of like the GT86 TRD equivalent but like the JDM version of that car, more modifications for the domestic market by the looks of it.
Lovely Recaros swathed in alcantara. The seats looks like those as fitted in the RS Clio.
Note STI start button and gear knob. Also the carbon look(?) dash panel and a nice touch, alcantara on the door armrests.
Toyota TS030, which is last years Le Mans car.
Here was another heavily styled interior on a GT86.
'Hachiroku' wing fin in carbon. I'm sure someone would like a set of these!
The instrument binnacle had also received some treatment.
86 supercharger. The supercharger itself looks like a twin screw, surely it can't be a Roots type setup?
The Tom's car we've seen before with the retro wheel treatment.
Those wheels do look better in the flesh.
Here was one heavily styled 86 by Tommy Kaira.
If someone can explain the benefit of these things stuck on the rear wings, I'd love to hear about it!
Dash with some interesting lights around the rev counter. Looks like it's aping the 458 with the yellow in the rev counter.
A rarity on the traders' stand, an 86 without a turbo or supercharger!
Showa Tuning car.
Some funky seat colours here.
Some nicely set gauges here, though you lose the possiblity of a double din head unit.
A bir more subtle and better for it. Note the wing extensions.
Frederic Aasbo's Nascar V8 drift car. Not much of the original car left here. I did have a chat with the guy at the stand who spoke good English about why all drift cars have to have V8's to be competitive these days.
800bhp Nascar engine.
Ah, this is better, The Varis kit is a nice kit and isn't overdone as so many seem to be.
Tein on display showcasing the EDFC Active Pro kit which I have on my car. I showed the guy on the stand some pics of my car and got a load of stickers, though I did buy a dampachi doll.
There were lots of big brake kits on offer, this one from Arma. Price is £867.
More serious interiors!
These wheels made me laugh!
Evolve oil cooler kit.
A very big spoiler indeed!
Here's the more serious version with wide arches.
400PS from this turbo setup according to the sheet in the windscreen.
Unusual front end. Not sure what I think, looks a bit long to me.
Beatrush. Interesting air intake.
Also some kind of resonator on the air intake in the background, that cylindrical thing.
Beatrush strut bracing and oil catch can.
This guy wants it! Some showcasing of exhaust manifolds here.
Power House Amuse, with carbon door.
More Rays wheels. Easily one of the most popular wheel choices.
Now here is a beautiful titanium exhaust complete with price tag to match!
Project Mu famous for their brakes.
Matching interioer but these are seat covers as you can see.
Now here is a wheel colour combination you might not expect to work, but it does I think. TE37SL's of course.
There was a bit of track action, but nowhere near enough in my opinion.
Here is the GT86/BRZ parking area! Just a few then! BRZ's of course in the foreground.
There was definitely an extreme theme going on. Not my taste I admit, but it was certainly in your face!
Low and rolled with this one.
This one had an almost snake skin type texture to the wrap, by Kuhl.
Unusually an FRS.
Work Equip 03's would love these for the AE86.
They even had room for some words of wisdom!
Not quite finished this one, look at the front wing and wheel offset!
Black with white TE37SL's. Classic combination.
Yet another type of aerial.
HKS supercharger! This may well be the 'version 2' that Maz was talking about. Looks much neater.
More Tom's this time in silver. This almost makes it look more retro with silver not being so popular these days.
Ah yes, here is a very nice AE86 dashboard with green stitching as a nod to Tsuychiya. Wow!
Now I'm blown away about this because I've been looking for a new dashboard for my car as it's cracked and you cannot find them anywhere, not in black. This one is made by Tec Arts and whilst I poured over this and then initially walked away, Mark persuaded me to come back. So I did! Then of course we spotted Kamata-San who came over with Noraiyo who obviously can speak English. Now you're talking!
I explained to Noraiyo that we'd been to Tec Arts the previous day and he explained, yes that Kamata-San remembered us. I said that I had a club t-shirt as a present for Kamata-San. This went down very well and I was soon sized up and Kamata-San said that I should have Tec Arts t-shirt in return and that we must do a swop.
Kamata-San isn't shy and soon we were doing the pic posing, which was cool. He's ever so nice and I showed them some pictures of my cars and when the woman on the stand pointed out 'TE37's' and I replied, yes they are real and went on to say how a lot of people in the UK use Rota's there were gasps of disapproval!
With Tsuchiya-San's N2 AE86 there we grabbed some pics.
Kamata-San's present from the GT86 BRZ Drivers Club!
Obligatory pose. Cool! :)
The engine bay of one of the cars that we saw at Tec Arts the previous day. Note the white cam covers, just like mine! :)
I admit, it's hard to get enough of this car.
BRZ 'STI'. Not sure on this one, think it's really aping the WRX though of course.
I'm sorry but these wheels are terrible!
Performance exhausts are big business.
The endearingly arresting Blitz car.
The mixture of AE86's in the area around the stage were just as eclectic as we shall see.
Very stock, not seen those wheels before, steel as well.
Nice tasteful and clean.
Work Equip 01's.
Always nice to see individual throttle bodies. Looks like a nice engine there.
CBY (Crystal Body Yokohama) are a well known tuning garage.
A decent sized wing there.
Stock rear spoiler on this GT Apex.
Quite a cool colour combination here.
Bucket seat with the traditional Takata harnesses. Also carbon surrounds the gearstick and a non stock steering wheel. Gauge pods as well.
Erm, yes, not cool with the doors!
Yes an AE86 which is now mostly carbon.
Hyashi Streets another absolute classic wheel for the 86.
From the sublime..... This supercharged 86 had wheels that didn't suit.
The little hachi that could. Tsuchiya-San's beautiful and clean 86.
GT86 TRD in TRD colours!
I'll come to the unusual rear bumper treatment on this one in a minute.
GT86 TRD with all the extras.
Another showcase option TRD with all the boxes ticked.
GT86 Rally car. Looking forward to seeing how this gets on.
Factory Tune 86. A very unusual rear bumper design.
The current fashio of backward facing wing mounts.
Initial D! Part of an Initial D display.
Project Mu again.
Initial D AE86.
Initial D Takahashi's FD3.
Lunch was had, Gyudon, well it is very nice and then outside to have a look at the two areas of 86 displays starting with the old.
There was the usual plethora of the wild and wonderful along with the classic look of course. This was the former!
So many cars, this is an odd sight for someone from the UK where I think I've never seen more than 18 AE86's in one place. Here there were hundreds!
The classic TE37 look.
One of my favourite colour combinations and the colour my car was originally (sob!) before it was sprayed in what has become traditional 'Panda' colours. The obligatory (seemingly) white-black colour combination was easily the most popular.
Black bonnets were hugely popular too, no surprise there.
Trueno on Work Equip 03's. A sublime combination.
Watanabes are also a popular choice of course.
Even a bike rack on one here!
Too low with that splitter for teddy!
A mixture of Work Equip 03's and TE37V's.
The 'Initial D' look is always popular.
Nice on TE37V's.
Some GT86's nearer the paddock.
I did try and have a little conversation with some of the guys milling around their cars, but really beyond, 'hachi roku, suki des'. Which is akin saying, 'eight six, I like it', I didn't really get very far. They were cool with that of course, but it would have been so much nicer if I could have a bit more conversation. The only answer really is learn more Japanese.
This car looks just like mine! Was almost uncanny but there were a few on stock wheels around.
And another stock looking Trueno.
Carrying on the Panda theme to the GT86, looks pretty mean to be fair.
KW car was also seen on track.
BRZ with Intec rear lights and big spoiler.
TWS T66-F on a BRZ by the looks of it.
Nice clean TRD here with nice wheels too.
TE37SL's are just as popular on the BRZ/GT86.
Canards, TRD aero fins and a whopping big spoiler to finish it off.
Titanium exhausts were popular.
Fairly unusual tailpipe layout here.
Project Mu brakes.
More quad tail pipes one over the other.
More an illustration of the low cloud cover, we didn't see the top of Mount Fuji all day.
Perhaps a little over styled for some.
Carbon TRD aero fins though.
Quite a different front end here. Not sure on the name of the kit though.
Some pretty aggressive front wings too.
Mark liked the rear window louvre, but I'm not convinced!
Crazy over sized wheels.
I've not seen a wing fin like this before.
Interesting wheels, they look heavy though.
The light 'extenders' give the rear end a different look.
Crystal Eye lights.
On Watanabes, quite unusual.
Rocket Bunny complete with mad rear spoiler.
Interesting spoiler and quad exhausts. Also note the Nurburgring sticker, I wonder if they have ever been, or perhaps I should push the 'rule' that a car can only have a Nurburging sticker if it's done at least a lap of the Nordschleife!
Extreme lowness here on GT Limited 16" rims too.
Tom's rear lights are very popular.
HKS with carbon tips.
Quite a sweet colour- wheel combination.
Interestingly minimalist spoiler.
Modellista. Needs different wheels though and some coil overs.
I've not seen many with spotlights.
I bumped into the owner here and remarked on the size of his spoiler!
Lots of cars with the aero detail on the C-Pillars. It's hard to understand what they contribute though.
When a spoiler is an option and so doesn't have the drilled holes of the stock UK fitted spoiler means that many people fit their own.
Some colour combination going on here.
HKS mushroom filter and oil cooler lines seen here.
Not easy to see, but this is a car with the new Sachs dampers, wish I could read the note attached. It has been said that a new revision of the car is due shortly and one of the improvements is Sachs Dampers.
Close up of the roll cage.
Top marks for tyre stretch.
Lastly a picture of our rental car, the only 86 present with a poverty spec exhaust with no tips!
Overall it was a lot of walking around for sure, but at least it was only a balmy 28C being cooler up in the mountains. It was a nice day and we enjoyed seeing Kamata-San again, but I would say that without the required language skills you are little more limited to walking around and observing rather than feeling a bit more involved in a way you only do when you can have a good chat with people.
What struck me of course was just how big the scene was. If anything the new car is simply huge now with so many parts available and so much variety. In a way it's treading well in the steps of it's spiritual ancestor the legendary AE86 and that is no bad thing at all.
I'm not sure how much crossover there is yet with the owners older cars view towards the new, but in spirit they are one and the same and that's nice really. Obviously I'm always keen to tie the cars as I have both versions, but I did get the impression that people seemed to be into one or the other, but perhaps that is the Japanese way of having quite a defined focus and there is nothing wrong in that either.
Seeing all this does make me realise how tiny the UK scene is. Having said that though a bit like when I was taken around by Akira and Yoshi to see KMS and Tec Arts, the scene in the UK is just as intimate with everybody knowing everybody else. I like that.
Lastly I think that with the new car now firmly established on the scene it does cement the security of this event and doubtless other 86 events for many years to come, which is good news because it means I can go again. :)