I mean, this is a key reason why we love Japan so much. The desire to keep the motor spirit alive here is so strong that I would have to say that nowhere else on Earth can really match it. I know, I know, it’s a bold statement but hear me out on this one! People are always pushing the envelope here and always venturing out into the uncharted territory. Transforming cars into time attack monsters in the pursuit of having the fastest lap time around Tsukuba Circuit. Having cars so low to the ground that it actually eats away from the floors and you can see the asphalt below you as if your driving some car from the Flintstones. Having street races down the Wangan at night. I mean, the first person to decide to drift down a touge had to be mad. These are just a small sample of this rich car culture here in Japan and you can feel the strong passion in car culture here. It’s this strong passion and desire to keep the motor spirit alive the reason why this new racing series exists today.
In 2013, a man named Masanori Sekiya decided that he wanted to create a new race series here in Japan. Now, if you don’t know who Masanori-San is, he is the guy who won the Le Mans 24 Hour racing event in the McLaren F1 GTR. Yeah, that was him!
Anyways, one day he thought to himself that racing series now and days was too focused on the cars. With advancements in technology, it felt more like all the work was being done by the cars and not the drivers.
The excitement of watching drivers battle it out seemed to be lost. This wont do at all.
Thus, Masanori-San wanted to create a series that was more of a ‘Gentleman League’. Something that would have fierce battles between drivers and not the advance technology of the cars.
Ladies and Gentleman, I bring you the Inter Proto Series.
The series being relatively brand new is held only at Fuji Speedway in a 8 race competition. Each event consist of two days: Saturday and Sunday. Each team has two drivers: One consisting of a professional driver and a novice driver.
The race cars are called Kuruma (yes, like how you would say car in Japanese 車) are completely made from scratch and by hand. The main core of the car is a monocoque made of a mix of carbon fiber and tube framing.
Keeping with the spirit of wanting the series to be more about the drivers and not the cars, very little aero can be found on these cars. That being said, the cars weights around 1,000 kg. So, stick a massive V8 engine in there and you’ll have yourself one hell of a monster.
However, you wont find a massive V8 under the hood of the Kuruma. In fact, what you will find is a 4.0L V6 engine complements from a Toyota FJ Cruiser. Yes.. A FJ Cruiser. The engine has been tuned by TOM Tuning and has around 350 BHP and around 325 foot pounds of torque around 4,000 RPM. More than enough to send this car flying down the long straight away at Fuji. Ricardo 6 speed sequential transaxle gearbox and Cosworth semi-automatic system/shift paddles are used for maximum performance.
Even though the car is lightweight, we all know braking performance is still very important. Thus 6 pot front and 4 pot rear Endless brake calipers can be found behind the 18″ custom BBS wheels with center locking system.
Bride bucket seats and a 6 point safety harness complements from Takata keep the drivers firmly in place. It takes a team just to help the driver get situated but when it comes to the safety of the driver, it’s completely necessary.
Since we happen to meet the Toemi Sports team while venturing the pits during the open track day / R34 day event, we didn’t have much time to spend with them.. That day ;). We have to thank Tomei Sports for allowing us in their pits while they were setting up and getting to look at their race cars up close and personal.
It might not have been one of the race events, but I can see and feel the excitement that Masanori-San was wanting in his series just by watching the Kurumas scream around Fuji Speedway.
The race series will start in the beginning of April so stay tuned and make sure you check out this race series!
OH! if you happen to have a ton of money on you, they are still looking for sponsors and investors! So.. hint hint