In 2004, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., was the site of one of the biggest JDM fanboy events ever held on North American soil: GT Live. Among other attractions, the one-off motorsports festival delivered one of the earliest D1 Grand Prix drifting demos in the US, but top billing went to the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (or just JGTC, what is now known as Super GT) All-Star exhibition race, a series that featured at the time two classes of Japanese “super” cars in aerodynamically-optimized touring car racing trim – 350Z, Mk4 Supra, FD RX-7, NSX, and others. They ran the roval at Cal Speedway, and while the affair drew a pretty healthy crowd and organizers promised another similar event in the future, it never materialized into what the first event was. Somewhat in the spirit of GT Live, HKS and Motovicity Distribution put on the recent Speed Ring time attack and car show, and while nowhere on the same scale as that earlier JDM-themed track day, it had its draw.
Namely, the big appeal was driving legend Nobuteru Taniguchi from Japan, coincidentally enough the first ever D1 GP champion and an accomplished hot-shoe in Super GT, earning a separate championship in its GT300 class. HKS brought him out to pilot its GT1000+ R35 GT-R in the time attack, and to spice things up HKS and Motovicity put up a bounty of $20,000 to anyone who could put down a faster lap in a GT-R than Taniguchi. The purse pulled in the likes of Roy Narvaez, LYFE Motorsport’s Cole Powelson, Bulletproof Automotive, and others. Look for our time attack coverage to go up in a separate story shortly.
In addition to the circuit dramatics, there was also a vendor village with many of our favorite brands on display – AEM, Energy Suspension, Koyorad, Eibach, Bilstein, Wiseco, Edelbrock, and others. There was also a car show with quite a few WRX and FR-S/BRZ in the mix, but numbers of Skyline – in particular, R32 – topped all. The show and vendor row were nestled conveniently between Garages 1 and 2, where the public was free to check on their favorite racers and even try to get a selfie with NOB himself.
Word on the street is that HKS is thinking of pairing up Speed Ring with Gridlife next – how rad would that be?! It could be just the boost the event needs to take it to the next level. Check out our gallery, and watch this space for complete coverage of the Speed Ring time attack.