Best Motoring is a Japanese organization that puts out DVD’s where they review both factory and aftermarket tuned cars. Their roster of drivers and presenters consists almost exclusively of world class professional drivers that compete in the Japanese Grand Touring Championship (JGTC). One of the reasons I enjoy their DVD’s so much is that they test everything through wheel to wheel racing. The car lineups are always varied and interesting with themes like Turbo vs. NA, Lightweight vs. Power, AWD vs. 2WD and VTEC club battles to name a few. One of their favorite races to set up is Japan vs. the World. It works just like it sounds. They’ll take the fastest car that the Japanese automakers have to offer and put their oldest and craziest drivers behind the wheel. The rest of the guys will fall in with the latest and greatest from Europe and America. For many years, the Japanese cars were handicapped by the gentlemen’s agreement between all of their automakers that limited power output to 280hp. During this period, the Japanese had to try and hold their own against powerful European super cars with chassis balance since power wasn’t an option. Being represented by the driver most willing to take risks on track didn’t hurt, either. This Super Battle at the Twin Ring Motegi is the best example of one of these Japan vs. The World races that I can find:
The NSX-R almost keeps up with the two Lamborghinis that had twice the power output until it overheated at the end of the race. The NSX’s cornering speed and braking power gave it enough of an advantage in the technical sections to neutralize the outright speed of the Lamborghinis on the straightaway. That’s where Fuji Speedway comes in. Along with Suzuka, Fuji Speedway is a world class track in Japan that hosts the F1 Japanese Grand Prix. The track is well known for it’s massive start/finish straightaway:
Best Motoring held a few of their Japan vs. The World races at Fuji, but they would never end well. The handicapped Japanese cars simply couldn’t make up the ground lost to the high powered competition on Fuji’s straightaway. The races at Fuji would always end in discussion about how the Japanese automakers would have to abolish the 280 hp gentlemen’s agreement to compete on an international level. Luckily for Japanese car lovers everywhere, the gentlemen’s agreement ceased to exist in 2005. Japanese automakers were now free to apply their chassis balance philosophies to cars that met the minimum power requirements for being world class.
All of these factors culminate in this video of Best Motoring’s “Last Battle” at Fuji Speedway. In 2011, Best Motoring announced that it would no longer be producing their automotive review DVD’s due to what seems to be a slump in the country’s interest in cars. To send out the highly successful franchise, the Best Motoring crew decided to do one last Japan vs. The World battle at Fuji Speedway. This time around they had what some people are calling Japan’s first truly exotic car, the Lexus LFA and the widely acknowledged super car slayer, the Nissan GT-R in its much improved 2012 model year form. They also rounded up the best from the rest of the world. They got the Porsche 911 GT2 RS from Germany, a tuned Ferrari 430 F1 from Italy and the Corvette ZR-1 from America. Would the Japanese race drivers be able to finally redeem their domestic made cars at Fuji? Watch and find out.
They did it! At the end of the race, Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya says, “This is Japan.” They finally showed that a Japanese driver in a Japanese car could be the fastest on a world class track with world class competition. What a way to end the Best Motoring series…
…for a little while. You may have noticed the quotation marks around “Final Battle.” After a brief hiatus, Best Motoring has decided to produce DVD’s again this year. That means we are all fortunate enough to have a fresh supply of automotive culture being exported from Japan.