With so much of the focus over the years on the Pro Classes we are now seeing increased interest right across the board and in 2016 we will see our first ever Japanese entry in the hotly contested Open Class.
Team Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 have confirmed their entry in the Link ECU Open Class and have spent the past few months ensuring their Mazda RX7FD complies with the class rules.
The car’s owner and most of his team hail from Kitami, a small city on the East coast of Hokkaido. The city is covered in snow for almost half of the year with temperatures getting as low as -30C.
Undeterred by the harsh conditions Kurokawa-san and his team of loyal mechanics spend the winter months tinkering away in a heated workshop. Getting the car to the nearest race track involves a 30 hours ferry trip which makes their achievement all the more remarkable.
The engine is a 13BREW Bridgeport built by Watanabe Shin. Watanabe is a bit of local rotary guru with decades of experience building 7-sec drag racing engines.
The engine is mated to a Quaife 6‐Speed sequential dog gearbox. Endless brakes and D2 Japan suspension complete the package.
Kurokawa’s chief mechanic, Yamaguchi Koji, also has his roots in drag racing and is no stranger to dealing with high horsepower, highly stressed engines. The engine is controlled by a Link ECU tuned by Kumaki Toru from Top Fuel Racing
The person responsible for the car’s aero is Osamu Suda, Having previously worked at Voltex Japan, Osamu is no stranger to aerodynamics and plays an important part in the car’s development. The most important task ahead of him right now is to trim the current aero package (so it complies with WTAC Open Class rules) without sacrificing too much of its downforce.
When it comes to building and racing cars, much like Under Suzuki, Kurosawa-san is very hands-on. He is involved in every aspect of the car, from building, tuning and race preparation to actually driving it. To create this time attack monster the team tried not to rely on factory parts and manufactured most of the accessories in-house.
They’ve even experimented with their own handmade mini wind tunnel using a 1/12 plastic model of the car with fans and scales below each tyre to measure the downforce created. But don’t let their DIY approach fool you. This is a very capable team and Kurokawa is certainly no novice behind the wheel.
A local racing celebrity, Kurokawa had dominated the Hokkaido racing scene in the 1990s with a JAF Hokkaido 6-hour Endurance Race trophy and JAF Hokkaido FJ1600 Series Championship under his belt. He was also the first ever Hokkaido-based Nismo pro driver.
In 1999 Kurokawa started Car Shop Dream and formed his Hokkaido based racing team in 2013. Since then the team has been breaking records at Tokachi International Speedway most notably Nobuteru Taniguchi’s Sports Car Class record (set in HKS CT230R) by over a second.
After shipping the car down to Tsukuba for a shakedown session earlier this year the team managed a time in the 56 second range. Kurokawa-san explained this was simply a test day and they are confident the car will be capable of low 55s by the time it leaves for Sydney. This should put the team well within their goal of a podium placing with a possibility of having a serious shot at the class title.
The Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 racing team sound like a great bunch of guys and the car is a credit to their ingenuity and perseverance. We are sure they’ll be well received by the Australian rotary fans as they race for the Open Class title in October!
Images: NaritaDogfight.com, Attack – Maximum Challenge and Speedhunters.com
Translation thanks to: Rhett Roylance
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