Every trip to Japan for any car lover is an unforgettable journey. One gets to absorb firsthand the heritage and walk with the brilliant minds that gave birth to these magnificent automobiles. Japan's deep history in tuning and racing can be traced back long before the term "JDM" was coined or even before any of us were born for the fact of the matter. One cult status machine that the rest of the world has now caught onto is Toyota's hachiroku.
These hachirokus (AE86, also known as the Corolla stateside, '83-87), despite being more than 30 years old since their market release, have been the base platform for tuning and have launched many professional careers, whether a pro driver, tuner, or even in the anime industry. The Japanese have been tinkering with these cars well before the rest of the world, so consequently, the country holds the title of having the world's quickest hachirokus in the universe. The most famous race that still takes place is endowed by a Japanese media company called Hot Version where the king of AE86s (Keiichi Tsuchiya) has direct corporate and political power invested within. It's called the AE86 N2 race, and we were there to soak it all in last September at Okayama International Circuit. With just less than 90 hachirokus on the track, this event should definitely be on your bucket list if you consider yourself an AE86 enthusiast.