Back To The Future: Sendai Hi-Land Pt1

While in Japan I was lucky enough to be able to get out to the beautiful Sendai Hi-Land for the final round of the 2012 JDDA East Battle series.

Anyone familiar with the old High Performance Imports DVDs will be familiar with this scene. What I found most interesting, though, is that you might find that you’re more familiar with it than you expected.

The Scorch Racing/Blitz JZA80 Supra holds a clue as to what I mean. Look closely and you’ll see that the car carries the “Drag Performance 2008” signage that was on the car when it first appeared on the show scene in – you guessed it – 2008. In looking through my photos it became clear that this meeting, and I assume the Japanese drag racing scene at large, has become almost an anachronism. There was nothing “new”. Walking around the pits was like looking into various pasts. It was fascinating.

I was stoked to see a couple of Z32s at the track. These cars have become almost orphans over the past 10 years – we saw more than a few abandoned in Japan – but the filpside of that neglect is that they’re becoming pretty rare and cool. The owner of this one drove to the track, fitted drag slicks, pulled the silencer out of the exhaust and went racing. Awesome effort.

Mid 90s Japanese muscle at its finest.

RB26 Cefiro was cool. The engine looked like a light tune setup but as we were in Japan at a drag strip I’m just going to go ahead and assume it wasn’t.

Turbo & intercooler piping dwarfing the engine? Must be a drag rotary.

This is really the essence of Japanese drag racing. Stock-looking Skyline GTRs on TE37s shod with street radials.

Not all drag Skylines are GTRs though. This very aggressive looking R32 GTS-t will attest to that…

…as will this Gigs Power R33 that looks like it drove straight out of 1997. What was I saying about this being a nostalgic event?

Sneaky little T51R hiding away. Unfortunately I can’t remember seeing this Soarer run.

Super serious L-series. While I’m sure it would be easier and cheaper to make big power out of an RB26 or 2JZ, it was awesome to see the old Zed guys sticking with the L-series engines in their cars. It almost seemed like a badge of honour for them.

This particular Zed was possibly the best presented car there. Immaculate paint and all the correct period details. Check out the tyres!

Interior was all business – note the air shifted transmission – but still neat and stylish. There is clearly a lot of love invested in this car and I love to see that. Note the Pray For Japan decal – the tsunami and earthquake tragedy is never far from your mind in Tohoku.

Another interesting sideshow was the VW Beetle guys. They just kept coming, all morning! They all seemed to be N/A, were precisely as loud as these exhausts suggest, and were capable of at least a 9 second 1/8th mile. Pretty impressive, and again, finished in true period style.

If you said “Sendai Hi-Land” to an Australian import enthusiast, this is probably what would spring into their mind. Such a classic, purposeful looking car.

As I said, it seems like nothing much changes around here…

If there’s a more scenic drag strip anywhere in the world I’d like to see it. The RB26DETT powered 180sx (officially a 240sx, in keeping with the American theme of drag racing) and R32 prepared by Sendai locals Escort Racing Service seemed to be the day’s drawcards.

Plenty more of them and others coming in part 2!

Comments
  1. watson says:

    dont tell the drifters but this was the highlight of the trip for me, to stand at the wall as 1000+ps of slick tyred 32’s launched only a meter away. the soarer did 3 or 4 passes and you better have pics of the “sonic boon” jzx100 in pt.2 (>.<)

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