The Fuji Motorsports Museum, a showcase of racing historical past, just lately opened its doorways to the general public at Fuji Speedway.
After seeing footage of the place on-line, I couldn’t assist however to drop by on a current go to to Japan, and boy was the motorsports nerd inside me in for a deal with.
Positioned contained in the Fuji Speedway Resort, strolling by means of the museum’s entrance you’re instantly greeted by one in all Japan’s most notorious race automobiles – the Toyota 7 Turbo – suspended on its aspect. The Toyota 7 venture was collectively developed by Toyota and Yamaha within the mid-Nineteen Sixties to compete within the Japan Grand Prix and Can-Am sequence.
In the direction of 1970, the Toyota 7 venture in its last kind was an 800hp steroid on wheels, with bodywork that regarded Flintstones-esque in comparison with immediately’s prototypes. As highly effective as which may be, the automobile proved too harmful with its primitive aerodynamics, finally resulting in the deaths of two check drivers and Toyota’s temporary denial of the accident’s existence. Discuss a putting entrance.
The museum’s first flooring is laid out with choose landmark items of motorsports historical past, with every step transporting you from pre-war racing historical past to fashionable motorsports.
Sitting in a row of pre-war race automobiles was the 1911 Stutz Bearcat. The automobile was designed, constructed after which examined whereas racing, managing a decent eleventh out of 40 for what was the primary Indy 500. The automobile then went on to win 25 out of 30 races it entered in 1912, a victory charge solely matched by just a few automobiles since.
Spherical a nook sat a Honda RA272, Japan’s first F1 automobile to take the checkered flag. The RA272’s 1.5L V12 engine sang at 13,000rpm throughout Japan’s first victory within the 1965 Mexican GP, and paved the way in which for Honda’s early involvement in F1 up till 1968 when the automaker took a break to give attention to street automobiles.
Enjoyable reality: Honda’s Sort Rs are at all times accessible in Championship White as a tribute to the Honda RA272.
The primary flooring ends with the 1969 Japan Grand Prix show. On the peak of sports activities automobile racing in Japan, the Japan Grand Prix sequence ran from 1963 to 1969 with modified Can-Am and Group 7 automobiles taking most important stage. In the direction of the tail finish of the sequence, automobiles have been making energy north of 600hp with criminally mild our bodies. These have been amongst probably the most highly effective and quickest automobiles racing on the planet on the time.
Nissan was top-rank in these days, with their R380s, R381s and R382s taking the 1966, 1968 and 1969 Japan Grand Prix titles respectively. Locked within the title dogfight was Toyota and their Toyota 7 venture, culminating within the monster Toyota 7 Turbo set for a debut in 1970. Nissan had the newly-developed, twin-turbo R383 able to go as nicely, claiming some 900hp in a 600kg shell.
Nevertheless, these beforehand talked about tragic occasions led to Toyota’s withdrawal, and with Nissan’s shifting company focus in the direction of security and cleaner emissions, the R383 by no means had the chance to throw-down with the Toyota 7 Turbo, marking the tip of a chapter in Japanese sports activities automobile racing.
As soon as the elevator door opens for the second flooring, you’ll discover a Targa Florio-competing Porsche 904 GTS. The automobile sat so low and was so small that it barely took up any flooring area!
This flooring boasts many notable race automobiles from a number of disciplines – NASCAR, WRC, IMSA, Le Mans and extra. There may be lots for the informal nerd to soak in, with every automobile’s story written on a plaque in entrance of it.
Seeing this Pennzoil R33 GT500 introduced again some early PlayStation reminiscences. That’s the place many people exterior of Japan have been first launched to the JGTC and Tremendous GT and among the most spectacular racing machines ever created. The intense yellow livery stood out the identical manner because it did on my CRT TV display screen rising up, and it was superior seeing one in all my hero automobiles in actual life.
Talking of heroes, nevertheless…
In the direction of the far finish of the second flooring, and behind a skinny black movie which what regarded like a loading display screen, lay two very particular automobiles, each for me and for Japan: the Mazda 787B and the Toyota GT-One.
I’m not going to lie after I say that figuring out these two automobiles – the 787B particularly – have been on show within the museum was a significant draw issue for me. Two of the largest efforts in Japanese sports activities automobile racing and automobiles that I’ve heard and browse a lot about sat proper in entrance of me, one a Le Mans winner and one virtually – a feat that was solely repeated by Toyota in 2018 with the TS050.
This was bucket listing materials for me. The screaming 4-rotor R26B put the rotary engine on the worldwide stage when the 787B gained Le Mans in ’91, and is doubtless a significant contributor to the cult reputation of rotaries immediately. On the very least it was to me; it’s a giant motive why I drive a rotary.
Albeit a duplicate (the actual race-winning #55 sits in Mazda’s museum in Hiroshima), this and the Toyota GT-One are becoming middle items on the Fuji Motorsports Museum as two of Japan’s all-time race automobile greats.
The wonderful thing about the Fuji Motorsports Museum is that it walks you thru time, displaying a wide range of motorsports historical past, not confined to a single producer. Not usually would you see a Mazda 787B in the identical constructing as a Stutz Bearcat.
The museum serves as a celebration of racing and the groundbreaking engineering feats that accompany the spirit of competitors. I extremely advocate giving a go to if you happen to’re a motorsports nerd. I actually didn’t remorse it!
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