Team Top Fuel were out for an initial shakedown in the newly rebuilt S2000RR this week at Suzuka circuit. The vehicle has undergone a total revamp in the leadup to WTAC and is certainly looking a much more aggressive machine than the previous incarnation.
Now sporting some serious aero thanks to a partnership with Akihiro Nakijima from Voltex Racing this team is coming to the event as one of the favourites for outright contention.
Nakijima-san was the brains behind the aero on the Cyber Evo and it is very hard to argue with two outright victories at WTAC. He will no doubt be looking to keep his undefeated record at Eastern Creek. It will be interesting to see if a RWD car paired with an extremely experienced time attack team can defeat the AWD contenders.
Apart from the impressive front nosecone and splitter, the car is also running a large rear diffuser and there is plenty of trickery going on under the car too with Nakijima-san putting his years of practical aero knowledge to good use.
It is not uncommon to see him trimming and bending little bits of carbon fibre well into the night looking for any little thing that may create downforce as they chase the last thousandth of a second.
It certainly has a sinister look about it in raw carbon and no doubt as the event draws closer the car will cop a coat of “warpaint” before heading to Sydney.
The F20C Honda engine is reportedly making “around 700 horsepower” and is an absolute delight to the ears as it screams its way past 9000rpm. When you couple one of the worlds best Honda tuners with one of the top Japanese aero experts and throw in one of the best drivers in Japan – Nob Tanaguchi, you can be sure that this team will be one to be reckoned with at World Time Attack
The car was sporting some new billet Endless brakes and Advan TCIII wheels. These will be more than enough to pull up the lightweight Honda from the terminal velocity at the end of the Eastern Creek straight.
The interior is all business with a carbon dash and surround and a Sequential HKS six speed transmission. The ZERO-1000 decal is Top Fuels own range of products and pays tribute to their drag racing heritage in years gone by. For many years that was what Top Fuel were so famous in Japan for before making the switch to time attack racing around 2006.
The team were all smiles as they left the track and were quick to point out that this was merely a “shakedown” and there will be plenty more testing prior to leaving for Australia. One thing is certain – Honda fans around the world will be cheering these guys on when they hit the track in Sydney in August.