HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG lead

Mount Fuji is in the background,bathed in a beautiful sunset. The sound of 1,000-plus horsepower GT-Rs pounding around the circuit reverberates in your ears. In front of you stands a selection of Japan’s best tuner cars - GT-Rs, WRXs, Evos, RX-7s and more. Is this heaven? Close. It’s HKS Premium Day.

Every year since 2009, HKS has put on this amazing event in its backyard (the headquarters is based in the foothills of Japan’s most famous mountain), and each year it gets better and better. The initial idea was to get Japanese HKS dealers together and show off their cars to the public, along with racing them in a time attack event held in collaboration with Option magazine. Today, it has grown to include HKS dealers and cars from around the world, and even the general public can join in the circuit-based fun via the Hyper Challenge event.

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG HKS Group A R32 Nissan Skyline GT R Profile shotHKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG HKS CT230R NGV

It’s a heady mix, and one that results in a lot of time just spent gawking at how amazing the cars are. The invited dealers are among Japan’s biggest and most renowned tuning houses, so you know their demo cars are going to be serious business. Top Secret, Powerhouse Amuse, HKS Kansai Service, Auto Select, Garage Mak, Top Fuel and many others all lined up to show their wares. And being in Japan, you can buy plenty of gear direct from their stalls, too. Even the regular punter cars for the Hyper Challenge event prove just how impressive Japan’s tuning scene is. From Kanjo-style Civics GT-Rs, plenty of the metal away to widebody Evos and big-winged GT-Rs, plenty of the metal away from the main garages looked just as good as the ones inside them.

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG Autech Tsukada R32 GT R Front section detail shot

Of course, while the displays are the big attraction for many, the important action happens out on track, with all the tuners aiming to prove their bonafides in the best way possible – by laying down a fast time. One by one the different classes embarked, with everything from near-stock engine 86s to the fearsome R35s aiming to lay down a fast lap. And plenty did. In the GT-R camp, Tsukada-san ATTKD reigned supreme in his R32 with a 1:40.295, followed by the Garage Ito R34 which clocked a 1:41.508. Both proved faster than any of the R35s,too, with HKS Technical Factory’sKamikaze R the best of the new breed, but still settling fora 1:44.051.

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG HKS Technical Factory R35 Nissan GT R Profile pan

However, that wasn’t the end of it for the Kamikaze R. Yokohama brought out its brand new AD08B R-spec tire (made specifically for the R35) for teams to test. HKS Technical Factory, among others, got one more shot. And, showing just how much of a difference rubber can make, the Kamikaze R promptly recorded a 1:41.743 – over two seconds faster than any other R35 on the day.

It wasn’t just the GT-R that improved their times, either. The Esprit NSX beat its previous record by about half-a-second (1:42.466) thanks to its upgraded WTAC-spec aero, while the Yashio Factory S15 slashed six seconds off its old mark with a time of 1:48.425.

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG Paddock Sunset Garage Mak S15 and S13 plus FD3S RX 7 and ZN6 Toyota 86

The absolute fastest time of the day on the R-specs belonged to Top Fuel’s S2000 RR, though. With Nobuteru Taniguchi at the wheel, the car smashed through the 1:40 barrier with a 1:39.131. He could have gone faster, too. On his final lap, the commentator kept the crowd in a frenzy as Taniguchi recorded sector one and two almost half-a-second up on his fresh record. Sadly, though, Nob couldn't match that performance in the final sector - but it proved there’s still time left in the car, and a 1:38 is thus eminently possible. That is scary considering those are GT3 and GT300 speeds, and those are running slicks.

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG RevYou Nissan Z34 Fairlady Z Turn one approach Lock up pan

Speaking of slicks, toward the end of the day, HKS rolled out its GT1000+ just to show what a highly-tuned R35 on race rubber can do...a 1:37.771, as it turned out. Considering the previous year’s time was a 1:39.853, that’s a marked improvement, showing just how effective the upgrades HKS made in the last 12 months have been. 

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG Top Secret R35 Nissan GT R Flatbed

Sadly, the GT1000+’s main competition at WTAC 2014, Top Secret’s Super GT-R II, wasn’t in good shape that day, posting a slower time than last year (1:46.430 on radials) and suffering an early failure on the start-finish straight toward the end of its run. Apparently its front left tire blew out, severing an oil line and leaving plenty of smoke. It’s just lucky that things happened at the start of the long straight and not the end, when it would have been pushing well over 150 mph.

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG Top Fuel Honda S2000 Type RR Pits Rear shot

Not everyone was there to shatter lap records, though. With plenty of new cars debuting at this year’s HKS Premium Day, many were there just to use it as a shakedown. That included two of the day’s coolest debutantes: the brand-new Pan Speed FD3S, and the very interesting Prime Garage HC35 Laurel.

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG F40 LM replica AMG SLS Black Front three quarter shot

The Pan Speed RX-7 is, as mentioned, a new ground-up build, as you can tell from the lack of stickers (pictured above), was pretty fresh. There’s still plenty of tuning left to go, but even then, it’s 1:45.146 proves it’s a serious threat.

Prime Garage’s Laurel, on the other hand, wasn’t as quick with a 1:48.423, but then it’s a bit of a different beast. Possibly the only Laurel time attack car ever made, the SR20-engined machine is surely going to need a very steep learning curve, but it already turns heads, so that’s a win no matter what for the Kita-Kyushu shop.

So that was HKS Premium Day 2015. Perfect weather, brilliant cars and plenty of on-track action. Perhaps it is heaven after all. It’s heaven on Earth at the very least, and we can hardly wait for next year!

HKS Premium Day 2015 PASMAG Super Autobacs Z34 Fairlady and Avest ZN6 86 Front three quarter shot

Import Face-Off 2012: Tulsa, OK

Photos by Cliff Wallace Results from June 3rd, 2012 – Tulsa Raceway Park in Tulsa, OklahomaFRONT WHEEL DRIVE presented by S.P.E.C. Clutches and FlywheelsWinner - Lopez, Aaron - San Antonio, TX - '98 Civic - 9.407 @ 161.85R/U - Phouthavon, Touny - Winfield, KS - '93 Honda - 20.029 @ 71.47FORCED INDUCTION PRO presented by Motovicity DistributionWinner- Martinez, Roger - Shawnee, KS - 9.099 @ 152.81R/U - Thomas, Darren - 9.993 @ 135.17FORCED INDUCTION SPORT presented by Deatsch WerksWinner - Threadgill, Thomas - 10.670 @ 141.98R/U - Powell, Tom - Edmond, OK - '01 Mitsubishi - 12.110 @ 132.09ALL MOTOR…

DMCC Round 2 2013: St-Eustache, QC

DMCC rolled into Autodrome St-Eustache for the second round of competition this year. For this round, the top 8 seeded pro-am drivers were invited to compete with the pros for the first ever top 32 competition. The event was a long one as everything was packed into one full day; at least the weather was nice in comparison to round one.During the morning, I spotted Pat Cyr and he was not with his new FRS. The FRS was not 100% ready to compete, but it is supposed to be good to go for round three. It was also cool to…

Import Face-Off 2010: Noble, OK

Text and Photos by Import Face-Off The seventh annual Nos Energy Drink’s IMPORT FACE-OFF at Thunder Valley Raceway in Noble, Oklahoma was usually in mid April but had to be canceled due to continuous rain. It was re-booked with Thunder Valley Raceway for June 13 after locals DEMANDED a reschedule date. All FWD competition racers were looking to take out series points leader, Aaron Lopez from San Antonio, TX in his 98' Honda Civic. Aaron had a $300 bounty put on his head for his controversial win over Tony Palo at the Dallas IFO back in April (late stage). Tony…

KMS Drift Championship Series 2012: Atlanta Motor Speedway

KMS Drift will kick off the first of four events to be held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on May 13, 2012. This event is dedicated to all the loyal car enthusiasts – drift, car show and sound off competitors.  “This is shaping up to be one of our most anticipated events for KMS Drift.  You can expect to see drivers with excellent vehicle control, crazy angles and lots of smoke. We have drivers registered from as far away as Texas,” said owner Steve Koss Daijiro Yoshihara, 2011 Formula Drift Chamption and Triple Crown winner will make a special guest…