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Rev Speed Tsukuba - 20th Annual Event

2009 Super Lap Battle

Site: Tsukuba Circuit / Tsukuba, Japan For any true gearhead out there, December in Japan means only one thing: Super Lap Battle. This is the last event of the year, and as they say, the best things are kept for last. Rev Speed has been organizing this event for 20 years now, inviting the fastest cars in Japan to Tsukuba to see who laps the tiny Japanese circuit in the fastest possible time. It's been amazing to see the times come down over the years; back in the day, getting a sub-1-minute time was a milestone at the time, but these days everyone is trying to dip below the 55-second barrier-a perfect example of not only how cars are getting better but just how good the tuning industry has become at extracting the last bit of performance from demo cars.

Super Lap is not only about power-anyone can build an extreme engine-it has more to do with fine-tuning, getting that perfect balance between grip, power and weight to push a car to its limits. Super Lap is innovation at its best, and we're happy to see that the tuners have started to shift their interest to the new wave of JDM sports cars. There's no doubt the EVO X takes the top spot, with the all-new 4B11 proving to respond rather well to modifications-most shops are running well above the 500hp mark.

HKS made a rather interesting decision and instead of showing up with its dedicated EVO X time attack machine, the CZ200S, brought its new EVO X MR demo car based on the SST dual-clutch-equipped model. It was disappointing because everyone wanted to see if the CZ200S could get into the 57-second bracket, but it was also equally exciting because it means HKS is taking an interest in further developing the SST EVO X.

The biggest surprise of the event was the new Koyama Racing Labo EVO X (featured on page 44) built in collaboration with the guys at Team Orange. Koyama-san, the ex-chief engineer at JUN has set up his new tuning shop and this first creation really proved itself by setting the second fastest lap time for an EVO X behind the Varis demo car (cover story, page 32). The new-gen Impreza isn't achieving the same kind of results as the EVO X, but there were a few shops that still brought them, something that couldn't be said for the new Nissan GT-R. Strangely enough, nobody showed up with a R35, which got people very confused at the event. Maybe tuners aren't quite ready to show what their R35s can really do, and we know shops like Mine's are putting the finishing touches to new upgrades like its complete engine kit.

One car that has been receiving a lot of attention from the media recently is the Revolution RX-7. This, next to the HKS CT230R that still holds the record at Tsukuba, is one of the most extreme time attack projects to ever come out of Japan; it's built more like a Super GT race car than a modified street car. The Revolution team has been frantically trying to get the best out of this car since its debut at last year's event, and this year managed to bring the best lap time down to 55.915 seconds, a slight improvement over last year's 56.094-second time.

The RX-7 sports a tubular front and rear frame and an all-carbon widened body, not to mention a Hewland sequential transmission sourced from Super GT cars, so there's still a lot of potential there, something that only more testing will unleash. Like last year, Revolution finished second overall, right behind the car that over the last few years has been unbeatable, the infamous Cyber EVO. With Tarzan Yamada at the wheel, the new-and-improved EVO IX beat last year's 55.261-second time with a 54.925-second run-inching closer to Taniguchi's incredible 53.589-second lap he posted with the HKS CT230-R in 2007.

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