A Track Day with Nitto and the Tokyo Auto FR-S
By: Tatsu Tsuchida
Photos: Steve Enomoto & Author
I wouldn't exactly call it an epiphany. I mean this wouldn't be the first time I've felt the euphoria associated with a job well done and the natural high associated when a group of friends come together to rally towards a common goal. To put it bluntly, today's exercise is to get Nitto Tires, Cusco, WinmaX, KW, and Speed Ventures some publicity and to have some fun in the process. But somewhere along the way our exercise became much more than a publicity stunt. Our FR-S owner, Allen Curry, and myself were later joined by Steve Enomoto of Cusco and were subjected to some of the shittiest working conditions ever. Despite the sweltering heat, and the misery associated with working on a car in such conditions, we all came out of the experience with a grin from ear-to-ear. Certainly our track day at Willow Springs was one of those life affirming events that reminded me why I love cars and the car industry. Before I dive into the main point of this article, I would like to offer a quick thank you to the individuals named above and also our sponsors. The synergy I felt on track Saturday made for a true bonding experience.
The impetus for this track day we set up with Speed Ventures was to sample a set of Nitto tires. Allow me to explain. The FR-S being the first cool car of this generation, I figured I would see a bunch of young people, shortly after initial sales, upgrading their cars. I was right as it only took a few months before I started seeing kids with body kits, aesthetic upgrades, interior upgrades, and mild horsepower upgrades. That's all fine and well, but the one thing that kinda irks me is lowered cars with stock wheels.
My theory is this: The lowered stance of a vehicle might help you corner better, but that's mild compared to what a set of grippy tires can do for you.
An engineer could probably rattle off certain specs of shock or the tread design of a certain tire, but an engineer I am not. So while that engineer could discuss and win you over in a conversation while you sip Jack Daniels with him in his living room, I devised a much more difficult and elaborate way of proving my point. A track day was in order. Not just a track day where you arrive and drive… no, I had to make things hard on myself and volunteer to swap parts in the pits at the Streets of Willow.