Journal: Racing In The Land Of The Rising Sun

Racing In The Land Of The Rising Sun

By Petrolicious Productions
July 16, 2015

Vehicles are treated a bit differently in Japan.

After joining the world stage in earnest more than 50 years after some other manufacturers, Japanese manufacturers sought to quickly make a name for themselves using a number of different tactics. A reputation for build quality and reliability is likely the most successful of these, but most interesting are the nation’s approach to racing.

GT, formula, drifting, rally, off-roading, and street racing events have dotted the island—both officially and not—for decades. Here are our favorite racing clips unique to Japan. 

What is SuperGT? One part Trans-Am, one part DTM, and one part Le Mans. (Yes, there are even driver changes!) Here, purpose-built race cars enjoy factory support as they battle across Japanese race tracks. Some cars are familiar, others less so—and the series is used to seeing oddball cars compete against each other. A Toyota Prius race car? If it looks as good as the one in SuperGT, we can’t see a problem…

Drivers racing on highways around Osaka are called “The Kanjozoku”—so why aren’t the police cracking down? How fast to these drivers go? And, wait, people still street race? Just watch…

Mighty Car Mods recently traveled to Japan to buy a cheap car and modify it—but what’s most interesting in this amazing feature-length film is how you’re able to get a more up-and-close look at some of the interesting dealerships, garages, and race tracks that dot the country’s automotive scene.

Rally racing in Japan is not as wild, say, as you’d find in Africa, but the slick mountain passes and open gravel stages still push both drivers and cars to the limit. On the right, however, you can see that they’re not quite as fast as a purpose-built race car is on tarmac…

What happens when Japanese manufacturers compete in the U.S.? Well, they call someone like Peter Brock, whose BRE-prepared Datsun 510s were the first real look at how dominant a Japanese car and team could be in international competition.

This playlist is one of the few we’ve been able to find that show some of the very first years of sports car racing in Japan, starting with Fuji Speedway and its fearsome first corner, Daiichi. Just look at those Skylines go!

We’ve featured a number of stunning Japanese machines; here they all are, in one easy-to-watch playlist!

Join the Conversation
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 years ago

Moving beyond domestic Japanese racing–good build quality and reliability served them well especially in endurance racing such as the Safari rallies. Two-wheel drive Datsuns and Toyotas were the underdogs among all-wheel drive competitors, but they had some great successes.