HKS celebrated their 40th anniversary with the Sixth Annual HKS Premium Day at Japan's famed Fuji International Speedway. The day began with beautiful weather; the idyllic background of Mount Fuji overlooking the track set the stage for tuners, privateers, and spectators as they prepared for a day filled with racing, new HKS products, and vendor rows with tons of demo cars and used parts.
Over the years, the Hyper Challenge event has become a fan favorite; it offers HKS fans and customers an opportunity to time attack the famous Fuji Speedway in their personal vehicles. Both amateur and professional shops/drivers were among the mix attempting to log the fastest time of the day. Over 150 cars took to the track in three driver run groups, split up into two sessions that consisted of 2WD and AWD classes. The fastest top 11 AWD times belonged to an assortment of Nissan Skylines with Yukito Kobayashi clocking in a best time of 1:47.91 in his BCNR33. Kobayashi was also the winner last year with the quickest lap time of 1:48.152. In the 2WD class, it was Tadao Wakamatsu in the Auto Service Mori S14 that captured the top spot with a time of 1:54.12.
Option Fuji Super Lap
Following the Hyper Challenge was the Option Fuji Super Lap Time Attack event. Japan's top tuners brought their street/race-prepped cars to try and clock their best times in front of the Option magazine camera crew. This year's entrants included many familiar companies including Garage Ito, C&Y Sports, Auto Select, G-Force Garage, Screen Racing, and Esprit, to name a few. The battle for the top spot was a tight fought race as the Auto Gallery Yokohama BNR32 in the AWD class edged the Esprit NSX (2WD class) driven by Eiji "Tarzan" Yamada by less than four tenths of a second. The R32 driven by Ogawa Yoshiyasu lapped the circuit in a mere 1:42.67, just in front of Manabu Orido in the Garage Ito R34 with a lap time of 1:43.84. The Esprit NSX took top honors in the 2WD class with a time of 1:43.04 followed by a close Second Place finish of the Screen Racing FD3S driven by Masahiro Sasaki, clocking in at 1:44.86. A shout-out goes to C&Y Sports, the crazy tuner shop that loves to perform engine swaps on everything they touch. Their red Z32 was no exception--a 2JZ swap now sits inside the engine bay.
Fuji Speedway Record Breaker
The HKS R35 was the midday highlight. The event came to a standstill to witness Nobuteru "NOB" Taniguchi manhandle the 1,000hp machine around the Fuji Raceway Circuit in hopes of setting a new course record. With recorded speeds of over 207 mph on the straights, the R35 stopped the clocks with a new tuner car record of 1:39.89. Albeit the quickest lap time was accomplished on a set of Yokohama Advan A005 R compound tires, which aren't typically used in Japanese time attack events, but the lap time was still impressive.
Premium Salon/Power Bazaar
Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to check out the HKS Premium Salon. HKS set up a pavilion showcasing their full lineup of products, which included the R35 turbo kit and S2000 supercharger products. Also on display was the biofuel CT230R, which came as a complete shocker to many who previously knew this Mitsubishi Evo as the Tsukuba record-holding CT230R. Just outside the pavilion doors sat Bazaar Row, a bevy of cars and parts consisting of one-off or rare discontinued products either for sale or on display. Literally steps away from the activities stood an open gallery of tuner cars from mild to wild. HKS gathered a fleet of their tuned street vehicles for media personnel to drive around the circuit. They ranged from their newest supercharged Honda S2000 and CR-Z, to Subaru STIs (GVF and GRB), and a modified Nissan R35 GT-R.
GT Supercharger Max Power!
In Japan, dyno testing is referred to as "power checking". Tuners and privateers were given the opportunity to "power check" in front of crowds of spectators throughout the day. The supercharged HKS S2000, dubbed AP350SC II, spun the rollers to the tune of 324.8 ps (320.3 whp), while the highest recorded horsepower car was the Revyou Nissan Z34 making 593 whp.
Toyota FT-86/Subaru BRZ Five-LAP Battle
On the circuit, a mash-up of Subaru and Toyota machines entertained the crowd with a five-lap wheel-to-wheel battle. Yashio Factory, Original Run Deuce, Esprit, and the Supercharged HKS Racing Performer 86, to name a few, battled it out. The fastest NA belonged to Naoya Yamano in the Kansai Service FT-86 with a lap time of 2:03.57 with the Video Option 86 coming in Second (2:05.71) and Boz Speed BRZ (2:06.19) driven by Hirokazu Suzuki rounding out the top three. In the Forced Induction class, the 450hp Trust turbocharged FT-86 of Top Secret clicked off the quickest time with a 1:57.04 with the Run Deuce 86 (1:59.55) coming in Second and Two System 86 (2:01.82) placing Third. HKS driver Taniguchi brought out one of the four HKS FT-86s with the same livery onto to the track for demo runs.
Typically, HKS Premium Day would include the sound of screeching tires echoing through the paddocks with a drift challenge taking place just across the main course. Unfortunately, HKS cancelled the usual drift exhibition this year, but that didn't stop Taniguchi from putting together a demo using his D1-spec Altezza to put on a tire-roasting exhibition for the crowds.
Once again HKS pulled out all the stops, while adding some new features, to make this a memorable event. With Premium Day growing every year, it's hard to imagine what next year's event has in store for us. We can't wait!