After all the preparation of the past couple of months the day finally arrived to see how our car measured up against Japan’s fastest SST Evo X’s, everyone was expecting the normal early April cool temperatures at Tsukuba and so it came as a bit of a shock to all entrants that the mercury had climbed to 24 degrees celsius before the midday start time rolled around.
There were a total of 16 cars entered in the time attack portion of the days program… more relevant for me was the fact that there were 5 Evo X’s, 2 manual cars and 3 SST cars including ours. Because the cars were split into two groups some of the pro drivers were driving different cars in each group… to my dismay both the other SST’s were to be driven by none other than Nob Taniguchi and one of the manual cars was to be driven by Eiji Yamada of Cyber Evo fame… damn, talk about stiff competition ! I have to admit I was a bit nervous prior to the start at the thought of mixing with big names like these on the track but once I got belted in and hit the track I began to relax and enjoy the moment.
The car felt great… thanks to the fine tuning of the ECU the midrange response was incredible… who would have guessed a standard 4B11 could feel this good ! … unfortunately after a few laps it became clear that there were some issues with the prototype brakes that still needed some work and were affecting my braking points… it was going to be very difficult to beat my previous best time even though the car was clearly faster than when that time was set.
So how did our car end up when compared to the other Evo X’s ? … it was no surprise that the fastest Evo X was the HKS SST driven by Taniguchi with a best lap off 1 min flat, second fastest was the G-Force SST again driven by Taniguchi with a best lap of 1’02.8, third was our car with a best lap of 1’03.1, fourth was Unlimited Works 5sp driven by Yamada and 5th was the Test & Service 5sp driven by Seki.
Obviously I was disappointed that I could not better my previous best lap time of 1’02.8 however on reflection to finish the day as third fastest Evo X amongst such talented drivers as these does give me some satisfaction… now back to more parts testing before the next event.