July 18, 2024

350lachine

Automotive pure lust

Two Ways To Go Drag Racing In Japan

Two Ways To Go Drag Racing In Japan

We’re all guilty of it. Well, I know I certainly am, anyway.

I remember the first time my car came back from a dyno tune after being modified with a bigger turbo, intercooler and 3-inch exhaust. I couldn’t believe how powerful the car had become, and how I had in turn somehow magically absorbed a few extra horsepower too. I needed to tell the world. I called my grandma to give her the news; I called old school friends I hadn’t spoken to in over 10 years. “Hey, I hit 340PS, I’m basically unstoppable now.” I was drunk on power.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-1

I’m sure I’m not alone. Hitting bigger power in a tuner car is a truly rewarding achievement, and it’s easy to get carried away with the numbers, however big or small. But before you hold a celebratory dinner for your next 40PS gain, take a look at what these drag machines are doing with their power…

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-9
Toby_Thyer_Photographer-12

After witnessing the mind-numbing speeds that many of the cars competing in Central Circuit’s Drag Festival last month were achieving on the quarter mile, I see power figures very differently. Of course, I’ve always known that one of the best ways to improve a car’s performance is to better its power-to-weight ratio, and in the world of circuit racing this goes hand-in-hand with dialling in the perfect suspension and handling geometry, too.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-4

But when you only need to go fast in one direction, big horsepower and lightweight takes on a whole new meaning.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-8

Now, obviously it’s a bit cruel of me to compare these machines to the usual street cars we see here on Speedhunters, but I feel the comparison is inevitable and extremely sobering. Especially in the case of the KJM Racing Nissan RPS13 180SX, which uses an SR20DET powertrain for 8.26-second zeroyon sprints.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-5

That makes it the fastest car in the ‘RWD Under 2.5L & Rotary Engine’ category of the 2022 Drag Festival Japan series. 180SX owners, is this the new benchmark?

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-43

In my books, a tuner-car-turned-drag-car like the KJM Racing 180SX is the ultimate in cool, but if you really want to look out of place in Japan you need a traditional dragster. Luckily, there were two running at Central Circuit, both of which were built up in Japan using kits from the USA, the motherland of drag racing.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-44
Toby_Thyer_Photographer-48

The bare aluminium dragster from Sakuzou Racing is piloted by Mr. Hiroyuki Akimoto. It uses a supercharger from The Blower Shop to force air into a 540ci Chevy big block V8, resulting in a staggering 1,300hp.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-54
Toby_Thyer_Photographer-50

As you can see from the team photo above, the lads are pretty pleased with their achievements.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-59
Toby_Thyer_Photographer-68

The Feel Kind dragster is using a 400ci small block Chevy, but there’s no supercharger here, just a whopping great dose of nitrous oxide.

Toby_Thyer_Photographer-67

I’ll be honest with you, when they took off from the start line I found it difficult to concentrate on taking photos. As a first-timer at a drag racing event, I had no ear protection and was not prepared to have my insides pulped from the vibrations. As I now know, it’s all part of the experience.

Over the coming days, I’ve got a few more spotlights from this event headed your way. Stayed tuned for a 4-rotor FC3S Mazda RX-7, Japan’s fastest Corvette, and a very famous Toyota Supra from the early ’00s.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_
tobythyer.co.uk