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28 Sep 2014

Japan, here we go again ! Part II. Preparing Hi-land Final Attack.

It's now time to fly to Japan again, I really wasn't expecting to come back there that soon since the last time. But here we are !


After many hours trying to accommodate the future jet-lag as soon as possible, we arrived at Narita airport. The time to get the railpasses, and after a quick night in a capsule hotel it was already time to jump into the Shinkensen for Sendai ! So we can really appreciate the beauty of the Japanese country side.


From Sendai station, we had to take an other train to go next to Taro San's garage, as you can expect it's not a typical tourists station. Ammo and I didn't knew it at the moment, but it was only the beginning of our "densha life" ! 



Then we met again our friends Taro and Eri in the SMAC garage. It was like we never left ! So happy to see them again !





Maybe this sticker on the back of this S2000 reminds you something. 


Just to be sure you really got it:




So enough "Blabla" still strongly jetlaged, I had to prepare the EK4 for the race, oil replacement, wheel change, harness mounting. The only modifications this EK4 has are: coilovers, aftermarket brake pads, a bucket seat + harness, a stainless steal muffler, Advan Neova tires and a cage. Just enough to enjoy trackdays !


Funny to read some french here ! 


Once the car loaded on the truck, we left SMAC garage to eat something. 



Cruising in a Mercedes Class A in Japan, is not something you often do. (Eri was driving the Silvia in front ).


Then we were happy to see again the great Koike joining us with his not less famous S2000 for a good dinner !



After a very needed rest night, it was be time to hit the track ! Stay tuned !

25 Sep 2014

What if you loose your windshield while racing ? #TBT

If you were at the Autoworks Day II, then I'm sure you remember this bit of action. It was during the final race of the day. I was battling against that angry CRX beautifully drove by Jessy Penelon when something hit my windshield, then you guess what happened ...


This reminds me how close Autoworks Magazine is from the japanese trackdays according to my last article in this blog... don't you think so ?

23 Sep 2014

Japan, here we go again ! Part I. Why Hi-Land ?

Hi guys ! We made it again ! This time it wasn't a trip that I've prepared for 2 years... No no, it was rather like something in your head that tells you something like this.

"I'ts now or never !" 

So here we are.



 But first of all, I just like to clarify things to my (few) readers. Some of you might ask themselves "Why the hell are you so obsessed by this track ? They are many and many racetrack everywhere in the world, you live at less than 200km from Spa Francorchamp, and your Civic hasn't even hit this track yet ! So why the hell travelling the world for a track lost in Japan ?"



If you're a true Japanese car fan, you might know Hi-Land. And even if you don't know Hi-Land, you really have to repair this and dig the Internets to make sure you can know it. Why you might know it ? Not only because it had the only permanent drag strip of Japan since 1993. Strip where you could often see many many GTR's beating the 9 seconds range in a full stock looking appearance just seating on meaty Hoosier. (all pictures below are from one of the biggest fan of this track... In the world !, J-C Pepino (Aka Baka, not that Baka John).




Not either because it features a funny drift course where most amateurs running there could easily beat your favorite french pro driver... (in a disturbing typical Japanese modesty of course).




 But also because it had an amazing Raceway lost very high in the Miyagi's mountains as you can see here. (Picture by Yokoyama )



This track was even used for many and many national races such as JGTC, Super Taikyu and JTCC.







Nissan has even uses his facilities to make several tests on the GT-R developments. 



and the GT3 version.


But is all this enough to get really mad about this track and facilities? Probably NOT.. Because thank to this man... Shunei Kawasaki, aka Lander, (Kpowers) http://www.tohoku-no1.com


this track is maybe (with Sugo), the only place where you can find this kind of starting grid... 




A starting grid with pros, amateurs, and cars, many cars... But not cars with outrageous race liveries, cars just made to race fast on track. No need to show of many sponsors (exept the name of your garage and partners), here everything is about function and fun. Fun of course, but with serious stuff, many cars have serious engines and chassis, lapping in amazing lap times, which means that the drivers has serious skills too ! Starting grid means, a qualification session before, and... You got it, a race after ! A race, not your typical track-day where you compare your penis each other with your own lap timer. (Yes I did it, I do it, and I still will). Here, you fight against an other, side by side, playing at who will brake the latest, trying to pass on the outside etc... A RACE. Check this out.



I will never blame you for calling it "IRL GranTurismo". 

But the other thing which make me love this place and events it loges, is the diversity of cars racing there. 





 On top of that at Hi-Land, you have the own circuit transponder, so everybody around the track can see how slow (or fast) you are. Why ? Because your lap times are easily visible on this screen flashing on the right of the track. (By this picture you cannot imagine how high this track is from the see level).


And to be honest, this is not the best way to enjoy his track day ? Building your car, testing it, race it, seeing your friends, race them, and repeat. With all the respect I have for all the track days around the world, the events Kawasaki San organises for many years already, couldn't better matches my ideal vision of the Trackdays.

So here is why... Why I had to come to Hi-Land before it closes. Because yes, at the moment I'm tipping this text, this paradise for each motorhead on earth is closed. Why ? Because few years ago a strong earthquake hit Tohoku with everything you know goiing with it. The track was heavily damaged and with a great effort from Nissan it could be fixed. But again, after a violent storm Hi-Land has been damaged and fixed one more time. And this place still suffered from the lake of national event due to... I don't really know what to be honest. Now all these guys will have to hit Sugo track, which is also an amazing one, but more dangerous than Hi-Land then. By the way, it will be converted in a mega solar power plant unit. Like a message, it could perhaps one time be famous in Japan to be the beginning of the Nippon energy transition ? Great hope for the future of Tohoku. 

(Chiba Solar powerplant) 


21 Sep 2014

Honda euro meet raw footage.


"Grey Civic is under investigation for cutting the chicane and gaining an advantage."

Papot's Garage

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Welcome to the Papot's world ! I'm a track addicted driver, Motorsports enthusiast and traveler. You can follow here my evolving oldschool Honda Civic and my trips with it around the world on Papots-Garage blog. You can also follow the last Motorsports news or appreciate Motorsports stuff I like mainly focused about Japanese brands and scene on Papots Motorsports blog. #Enjoycarlife