In Japanese Time Attack circles the HKS Track Attack Altezza is both respected and rejected. Way back in the dawn of the new millennium (all seven years ago), HKS created the car to challenge the Tsukuba circuit tuner car lap record. Legend has it that the car only ran once with Super GT superhero Akira Iida doing what he does best. The Altezza's 55.8 eclipsed the old mark by two seconds, not just crushing it, but stomping all over it the way one extinguishes a cigarette.
However, industry insiders and fans alike dismissed the car as too far removed from a typical tuner car. HKS sent the car to the states on a promotional tour and I had the chance to see it up close. The massive carbon over fenders and considerable cantilever suspension mounts looked like something straight outta the JGTC. Don't get me wrong, I love this car in a way that is probably illegal in some states, but I do understand how it can be perceived as beyond our tunerverse.
HKS responded to the criticism with a more gentle touch on its next project. Even though the build was more mild, HKS, with sights set on an even faster lap time, went with the Lancer Evolution. And HKS didn't disappoint, as NOB Taniguchi proved by recently flinging the Evo VIII to a 53.99 at Tsukuba (see p36). While the Evo is more conservative than the Altezza, something about it still seems out of place, like Paris Hilton buying a five-gallon tub of mayo at Wal-Mart. At least HKS painted the dry carbon fiber panels red. Hey, it's a start.
The same reservations apply to the Porsche Cup car that ran at our latest Time Attack. All controversy aside, the car is a magnificent beast, but I would much rather see the European gigolo g-rides from such tuners as Cargraphic, Gemballa, Ruf and Tech Art do battle with the best US and J-spec tuners than watch a racecar sandbagging it in a field full of street cars.
Another point of controversy surrounds the design of our rag as we've been re-styled more often than Madonna. Some might argue that we can't decide on a look and stick with it, but I like to think that we're just keeping it fresh.
If our design doesn't excite you as much, a more appropriate fantasy might be Yashio Factory's Super 840 S15-one of Tsukuba's fastest Time Attack Silvias. When we shot it in Japan a few years ago Okamura-san drove it on the street to our location. The Sun Auto Cyber Evo is another good example of our kind of tuner car. This JDM Evo VII owns our Time Attack record and Tarzan Yamada just drove it to within a second of the HKS record at Tsukuba. I could roll either of these cars to Costco, er, I mean to the club with six bottles of Crist'.
The only redesign I would make to either of these cars is to lose the graphics and paint them a nice subtle color, like white. Then I would have the perfect car-a super sleeper capable of dropping silent but deadly time attack bombs. Or I could just start with the Mine's GT-R and save myself the static. Then I would be the coolest daddy-o at Costco, I mean at the club.
What We've Done This Month
Here are random pictures of Time Attack cars that make my manboobs jiggle. You can say these rides are jiggle-rific (i.e., they hurt my back).