As dawn broke over the Tsukuba Circuit, the light dusting of snow that greeted teams as they began to set up for the 2011 Rev Speed magazine’s Tsukuba Super Battle didn’t fill them with a lot of confidence in seeing too many records fall. Despite the miserable start to the morning, entries were still quite strong with all 71 listed entrants showing up and setting up their pits. The largest group of cars (43 entries) was entered in the Street Class, which requires submission to an emissions check, current inspection papers, and the installation of street-legal radial tires. As the first sessions began, it was clear that the track was going to remain wet for the first half of the day, so drivers were encouraged to head out in an attempt to dry up the racing line as soon as possible. All but three entrants in the Open Class passed on the first session, but former D1 Street Legal champion drifter Naoki Nakamura was out sliding around and enjoying the open track in his competition S15 Silvia, albeit with some minor changes to the suspension alignment and tire pressure settings.
With track conditions still cold and temperatures hovering 42 degrees, many of the teams made frequent pit stops during the sessions and spend precious time adjusting tire pressures. Ingenious teams like Reverse kept their tires in a small plastic tent warmed by a kerosene jet heater. It seemed to work. Even though they had only just swapped from 265 series to the much larger and untested 285-series Yokohama A050 tires, they managed to drop their time from just barely over the 1-minute bragging-rights barrier to 59.382.
Even though no major records were broken this time around, and Pan Speed and Revolution weren’t able to better their already blistering times, Autech Tsukada’s R35 managed to reset the Street Class radial tires course record to 58.655. The most unusual performers of the day had to be the tuning shop Outer Plus TiR, which not only had the fastest time in the first wet session—amusingly renamed the “Wet Battle”—with their “Street Slick Tyre” class Lotus Exige S, they also had two cars in the small “EV” class. It was so small, in fact, that they consisted both of the entries, a Tesla Roadster that lapped at a respectable 1’06.934 and a Nissan Leaf that pulled an understandable 1’14.652.
A few Super Battle regulars were unfortunately absent from this year’s competition, such as the Esprit NSX, R-Magic RX-7, and the crowd-favorite “Under”—Suzuki’s Scorch Racing S15 Silvia that is preparing for another trip to the World Time Attack Challenge in Australia this year. Despite this, and even though Revolution will have to try once again to beat the HKS CT230R’s unbeaten 53.589 time, the 2011 Tsukuba Super Battle was a well-fought event filled with the smell of burning brake pads and the sound of scraping carbon fiber.
|Revolution||Mazda FD3S RX-7||54.731 at 220.3km/h|
|Pan Speed||Mazda FD3S RX-7||56.197 at 210.2km/h|
|Garage Yawata||Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R||57.629 at 225.5km/h|
|RE Wing||Mazda FD3S RX-7||57.651 at 207.8km/h|
|Advance Auto||Chevrolet Z06 Corvette||57.887 at 214.5km/h|
|Fujita Engineering||Mazda FD3S RX-7||58.051 at 197.4km/h|
|Outer Plus TiR||Lotus Exige S||58.168 at 200.4km/h|
|5Zigen||Honda FD2 Civic Type-R||58.249 at 206.9km/h|
|Autech Tsukada||Nissan R35 GT-R||58.655 at 215.3km/h|
|Shadow Sports Design||Porsche 993 GT2 RS||59.185 at 216.6km/h|
|Pan Speed||Mazda FD3S RX-7||59.219 at 194.5km/h|
|Reverse||Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R||59.382 at 216.3km/h|
|Ajjio Create||Subaru GRB Impreza WRX||59.532 at 192.6km/h|
|Pan Speed||Mazda SE3P RX-8||59.741 at 198.2km/h|
|Arvou||Honda AP1 S2000||59.931 at 178.3km/h|