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All #FSBletters translated as of August 14th, 2022 - Chronological Order - Look Inside

Before reading these #FSBletters from the #WindofChange, please watch/listen to the following audio for the origin & context of these le...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pre-Season Super Taikyu Test - Motegi

This past Sunday, the Okabe Jidosha team went to Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi-prefecture nearby Mito-ctiy for the official pre-season test.

This was my first opportunity to get in this Z, and for the most part it feels very similar to the #333 car I raced last year. The chief mechanic, Yano-san, is the most meticulous and passionate mechanic I have worked with so far - the car has been completely overhauled over the winter and it is gorgeous. He spent an unbelievable amount of time going over every detail of the car and has fabricated many custom parts. It was awesome to feel his pride in building this car as he went through explaining the various details to which he attended.
Okabe Jidosha H.I.S Nissan Z

I've really hit it off with Nagashima-san, 長島 正明, the team-owner and my co-driver for this season. He has been racing since 1980, and is a very respected veteran both on and off the track. He has told me stories of how he's had 70+ lap driving stints in mid-summer at Fuji without water or a coolsuit before.
Nagashima Masaaki and Igor Sushko

I met Komatsu-san, 小松 一臣, a potential third driver for our team, for the first time during the test.

The test went off without a glitch. I had never driven at Motegi in a production car before, although I had in the Formula Renault on several occasions last year. But I had the luxury to analyze the Motec data from this team's last year's race at Motegi. All in all I did 17 laps and was able to hit the top time for the team.

I have been able to start this race season with great mental and physical preparation, which has so far made driving consistently and fast very easy once I get to the track.

The season-opener for Super Taikyu this year is quite late - at the end of April, but I have a race at Fuji coming up in the FCJ series in a few weeks.

View the event photo gallery.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Official FCJ Test at Fuji and acitivity for 2008

The #24 H.I.S. Travel FCJ will be driven by Igor Sushko
Finally, the racing season is back in gear.
I was at Fuji Speedway on Wednesday and Thursday for the official FCJ testing. We have 26 drivers this year and it seems the level is as high if not higher than last year. Everyone is again very close in lap times. There are 6 drivers competing this season from last year, including one who is in his 3rd year in FCJ.

I have been meticulously training and focusing on the start of the season during the entire winter break, and it has definitely paid off - I was 2nd in the morning session on Thursday with a time of 1:42.2. Many had opted not to use their new tires for this session though, so my overall lap time position for the day was 12th. The test format was three 1-hour sessions per day for two days.

For those curious, here is a driver's view from the cockpit. The peripheral vision adds to the range of vision to either side, but I have made sure to take the photo from the correct height and angle as my eyes see it.
Driver's view from the cockpit of a formula car

It was great to be back in the car, and I am feeling mentally and physically prepared for this season. The first race will be in the first week of April at Fuji Speedway.

In addition to Formula Challenge Japan, I will be again competing in Super Taikyu Class-3 in Nissan 350Z with Okabe Jidousha team. Okabe Jidousya are long-time veterans of the Super Taikyu series. Yesterday, I had a chance to sit in the car for the first time while visiting their location - the car is in excellent shape and the seat, steering wheel, and pedals all fit perfectly to my body without any adjustments. Nagashima-san, the team owner and driver, has a few decades of racing experience and has even left some good results in the JGTC GT300.

Official test will be at Motegi on March 23rd. In addition to the Z, the team will also be fielding two Mazda RX7s in the same class. The team is especially known for great atmosphere, which I believe to be critical in order to produce good, consistent results.