HKS recently hosted its fifth annual HKS Premium Day at Japan’s famed Fuji International Speedway. The gates opened to an overcast morning as competitors, vendors, dealers, and spectators attended one of the most anticipated events of the year. This year’s festivities once again consisted of a flood of activities, including circuit battles, drifting, and talk shows, with vendor booths showcasing their newest products, but the main attractions took place on Fuji’s main circuit and drift course.
First on the agenda highlighted the main course and the Hyper Challenge event, offering 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 100 cars took to the track in three driver run groups, split up into two sessions that ran at 9 a.m. and another later in the day. The top five fastest times all belonged to an assortment of Nissan Skylines with Yukito Kobayashi clocking in a best time of 1:48.152 in his BCNR33.
Immediately 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. Entrants included Yashio Factory, Auto Select, Top Secret, Garage G-Force, Ito Garage, Esprit, and Screen Racing, to name a few. Four out of the top five spots in the 2WD class were filled by Mazda FD3Ss, with the quickest lap belonging to the Screen Racing Rotary driven by Sasaki Masahiro, lapping the circuit in a mere 1:47.651, just in front of RE-Wings FC3S with a lap time of 1:48.217. The Auto Gallery Yokohama BNR32 Skyline took top honors in the 4WD class, with a time of 1:43.661 followed by a close Second Place finish of the Ito Garage BNR34 driven by Orido “Max” Manabu clocking in at 1:44.267.
As the day’s festivities continued, heavy rain blanketed the track at the start of the R35 GT-R Speedmax Battle—a one-make race among HKS pro dealers Top Secret, Garage Yawata Street Special, Kansai Service, HKS Technical Factory, and Esprit. The quickest lap time of the day belonged to the HKS R35 driven by none other than Taniguchi “NOB” Nobuteru, lapping the circuit in 1:45.577, just in front of Top Secret’s GT-R with a lap time of 1:46.688. HKS dealer and legendary tuner shop Esprit encountered electrical gremlins throughout the day, causing their R35 to run the slowest of the group with a disappointing time of 3:37.074.
With the release of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, HKS organized a “Tuner Collection” display area, where spectators were given a glimpse in aftermarket 86/BRZ tuner and soon-to-be-released products. On the circuit, a mash-up of Subaru and Toyota machines entertained the crowd with Original Run Deuce, Car Station Marche, Rasty, and the Supercharged HKS Racing Performer 86 pulled a few spirited runs to the enjoyment of the crowds.
The rain didn’t seem to put a damper on the event; both media spectators kept themselves entertained throughout the day. HKS set up a pavilion showcasing their full lineup of products and historical cars, including prototype R35 and S2000 products along vendor row. HKS also offered a fleet of tuned street vehicles for media personnel to drive around the circuit. They ranged from a Honda S2000 equipped with a prototype HKS GT Supercharger kit, supercharged CR-Z, two Subaru STIs (GVF and GRB) tuned with the newest HKS Flash Editor system and GT2835 turbo kit, as well as a Nissan R35 GT-R sporting a GT600 Sport package delivering over 600 whp. Not too shabby for press cars!
Throughout the day sounds of tire screeching were heard echoing from the paddocks as a drift challenge was taking place just across the main course. The drift event not only offered privateer drivers a chance to floss their drifting skills but also compete for the grand prize of a private one-day drifting at the famous Fuji drift course. Nobuteru and a procession of professional drifters, including Manabu skillfully maneuvered around the wet course in the Toyota 86 and HKS Altezza.
HKS pulled out all the stops to make this a memorable event as a way of showing appreciation to all their supporters. It’s a shame we weren’t there to enjoy the festivities but who knows... maybe next year!