If you know anything about time attack racing, you’ll know that Kunihiko Bando of B-Active Racing and his carbon-clad JZZ30 Toyota Soarer are the hottest property in the sport right now. Everything about this project defies all odds, and now he is looking to make an upset at the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge 2019 by aiming at the top step of the Pro Am podium.
Hailing from Moriya-shi in the Ibaraki prefecture of Japan, Bando-san is no overnight time attack challenger. He has owned and campaigned this very Soarer for over fifteen years, with humble beginnings as a ‘Clubsprint’-spec entry and has slowly chiseled away at it since. According to Andrew Brilliant from AMB Aero, the base shape of the Soarer is much more aerodynamic than a Supra, making it a formidable foundation for time attack.
This car came out of the factory as a luxury coupe, so to transform it into a highly competitive track car, the Soarer was in dire need of a weight reduction package to bring it to around the 1200kg target weight. The now Pro-spec carbon masterpiece is the product of both Bando-san and the car evolving and growing with each other. As the weight has decreased, the power has increased and driver has been there every step of the way, making sure Bando-san is one with the car, no matter what track he decides to tackle.
Bando-san says the long wheelbase gives the car superior stability, and fans should be keen to see how hard this Toyota can take SMSP’s notorious Turn 1. Drivers can be rewarded with great lap times if they commit and carry through the first turn to retain the speed to begin their attack, but the risk of it all coming undone in the second corner are amplified greatly.
It will run Sydney Motorsport Park with a 1200HP 3.1L 2JZ set-up, and much more track to spread its legs compared to Tsukuba Circuit. Around Tsukuba, it currently laps the legendary track in the 53-second bracket, putting it in the same territory as FF record-holder William Au-Yeung’s PZTuning/Vibrant Honda Civic. Bando-san’s calculations say his set-up for Sydney will make him a second even faster than this.
The Canadian Civic has bested a silver trophy in Pro Am which gives hope to the Soarer who runs a higher power figure and a more hardcore aero package. Will he make up with sheer horses and downforce to take first place in Pro Am? We’ll have to wait until October to find out…
It won’t be Bando-san’s first time to SMSP, however, as he has been down to Sydney for the last three years as a mechanic for WTAC fan-favourite, Under Suzuki. In fact, the Soarer’s front aero package is almost identical to the one found on Under’s Pro Class Silvia, both bespoke items each owner-driver has gotten their hands dirty to make. Much like Suzuki-san as well, Bando-san is on the tools as much as he can, building his own engines as well as earning how to TIG weld many of the custom components that glue together the monster six-cylinder power plant together.
Find out more about Bando-san’s car and journey to WTAC in the video below…