July 18, 2024


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.


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…


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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.


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


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.


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
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