My interest in time attack has increased over the past years, so it was a no-brainer to head back to Japan to spend time at Tsukuba and at Attack — Japan’s largest time attack event. While I don't want to take my own car down the crazy time attack route, seeing these cars, drivers and Tsukuba Raceway in the flesh was something that I felt was important, as well as a great excuse to spend a few weeks in Japan.
Walking through the pits in the morning cold was quite overwhelming. Seeing the Garage Work Civics lined up at the top of the pits was the big moment for me, as Civics are my main interest. It is something to see photos of these cars on the internet, but to get down to look under the flat floors, extremely minimal interiors, and modified trailing arms was a treat.
While the safety requirements are more relaxed than we see here in Australia and New Zealand, overall the cars in the pits were built to a high standard. Compared to some other time attack events, there were less than five mechanical failures that required them to be towed off the circuit for the day — they looked and ran extremely well.
Attack run a super lap session at the beginning of the day, longer practice sessions during the day and then finally another super lap session to wrap it all up.
Most cars were up on jacks until the very last second before they made their way out and it seemed strange to run a super lap session first up. That was until we saw the ASM S2000 come flying onto the front straight — first lap, first flyer!
This wasn't an isolated incident as every single car was straight up to speed after their out lap. The Aslan EG reset the FF NA lap record on their second lap of the day; this shows the benefit of tyre warmers and why every single car was using them before their session.
It was a great use of time also, as the first session at most winter track events in Australia are used to sight the track and get your bearings due to the lack of track and tyre heat available.
A highlight was seeing the Aslan EG come in after their record lap and the team so enthusiastic, then the other teams in the pits coming up to congratulate them on their efforts. Garage Work, who previously held this record, even showed the same enthusiasm and were very gracious. This was a common theme in the pits; while they are competitors, all drivers and teams were more than supportive of each others triumphs.
The whole day I was continually shaking my head and smiling, amazed that this event had easily exceeded my expectations.
Attack release their dates late in the year, so if you've thought of heading over to Japan and wanted to incorporate some motorsport into your trip, I'd wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Tsukuba for Attack. I'm not sure I could talk my girlfriend into letting me go to Japan without her again, so I hope she will enjoy attending Attack at Tsukuba sometime in the future!