Now in its 21st year, the Rev Speed Super Lap Battle has become one of the most definitive Japanese tuning race events. Every year, demo cars that have been built through the course of the season come to prove themselves on the famed Tsukuba Circuit.
Unlike time attack events in other parts of the world, the Rev Speed Super Lap Battle never really attracts much attention from the public, probably due to the fact that it has always been held on a weekday. The event organizer, Rev Speed magazine, isn’t interested in organizing a profitable show it does that every April with the Hyper Meeting. Rev Speed approaches the whole Super Lap Battle from a technical point of view to create a very in-depth report a month later, highlighting every car that participates. As editor Tsukamoto-san tells us, this has always been a big hit with Japanese readers, most of them trying to make their own cars perform better on track. For that reason, this is one of the most relaxed events of the year, with the paddock totally open to anyone who feels like dropping by and chatting with tuners and drivers.
Much like in previous years, all eyes were on the full carbon-bodied Revolution RX-7, which was sporting all-new Hankook livery this year. The car has had a long time to develop, and since swapping out its old turbo for a better-performing GCG unit from Australia, it hasn’t stopped going faster. On its first outing early in the morning, the car managed a 54-second lap with driver Kikuchi Yasushi at the wheel. A few hours later during the second Open class session, the fastest time of the day came, an impressive 53.673 seconds, just shy of Nob Taniguchi’s record with the HKS CT230R. The HKS car has never run in the Rev Speed challenge, but it holds the track record, so this means Revolution not only set the fastest time for a RWD car but also the best time ever set during the Rev Speed event. Happy with its performance, Revolution didn’t take the FD out a third time, but instead concentrated on its impressive and all-new, three-rotor-powered RX-8, which recorded a 1:00.260 lap.
Hot on the tail of the Revolution FD3S was Panspeed with its RX-7, managing a 55.970-second lap, the second fastest time of the day. With the Cyber EVO, the winners of last year’s event, and other famous 4WD cars not participating this year, the competition wasn’t as fierce as it has been in the past, but there were still some special cars present that deserve mention. Avo Turboworld, for example, was the fastest Impreza at the event with a 58:298-second lap, a great time that the car achieved by not only fine-tuning the 650hp Cosworth EJ25 that powers the GDB but also fabricating a custom rear subframe to allow the car to put down power more efficiently, eliminating the bumpsteer problems it suffered from last year.
A hot favorite for another record was the Varis/G-Force/Sunbeam EVO X that last year managed to dip to 57 seconds. This year, with Nob still driving, it came a little short with a 58.028, still an impressively fast time for a new-generation 4B11-powered EVO. Tarzan Yamada was hired to drive the fastest NSX Japan has ever seen, the widebody Esprit demo car. The car is nothing short of incredible with a longitudinally mounted twin-turbo C32B, running a sequential transaxle gearbox pretty much a Super GT replica! The car had mechanical issues on its first attempt, managing only a 1:02.128 lap before being retired for the day. Tarzan then took out the other Esprit demo car, the only R35 GT-R at the event, which, with its upgraded turbos, managed to post a 59.348-second lap one of the fastest times a new-gen GT-R has recorded at Tsukuba. The savage low-end torque of the VR38 and instant shifting dual clutch transmission, however, is still not enough to have the upper hand against the older generation of Skyline GT-Rs, not that there were many at this event.
In the Open class, it was only the Garage Yawata and Pro Stock Racing BNR32s running the flag for the R-enthusiasts, with a best of 57.071 and 58.779 seconds, respectively. One car that really deserves a mention is the 5Zigen FD2 Civic Type-R that, with its 580hp turbocharged K20, managed to become the fastest FWD car in Japan, thanks to driver Ooi Takashi, who lapped in 58.222 seconds.
|Top 10 Results|
|5||57.660||Garage Shimaya with Ti-R||Street S-tire||Exige|
|6||57.826||Outerplus with Ti-R||Open||Exige|