As the sun began to rise over the Tsukuba Circuit, cars were already in queue in the parking lot for the AE86 Festival kickoff event.
It was a cold, cloudless morning, and the pit area started to fill up. Car owners caught up with their friends and club members, while others mingled about looking at some of the cars on the track. The event is billed for AE86 owners, but it’s open to anyone. People come from all over Japan to attend. One hard-core AE86 owner even drove all the way down from Hokkaido (the most northern region of Japan)! The cars at this festival are also not strictly limited to just AE86s; Nissan Skylines and a beefy black NSX were also spotted. It doesn’t seem like anyone complains about it either. At the track, drivers of all skill levels were divided into groups based on the type of car they brought. Then, they were allowed to punch it full throttle down Tsukuba’s legendary time-attack course.
The crowd is what one would expect—very friendly and fun. Ages ranged from the early 20s to the late 50s. The event appeals to a diverse group of people of all ages and interests, with classic cars rivaled by the newer Skylines present. It was a good mix, and everyone enjoyed the camaraderie among all of the enthusiasts.