AE86 N2 Challenge, Keeping the foundation of Japanese Motorsports
What drives Japanese motorsports... The base foundation of their spirit and mannerism, as well as rules of engagement is portrayed in places like Semi-vintage N2 AE86 racing...
N2 is honed to a point today, to where managing it takes a skill of a complete and utter specialist, and even they are less confident than many cars when dicing at such handling and speed edges. It's part of what makes the N2 so special... as it just weeds out the folks who can and can't go there... Very tenaciously arranged end links, rods, and alignment, and tuned for sheer grip and peaks, and special tires aligned to peak contact and not for forgiveness. It's a handful when it is setup as such.
Engines based on the 4A-GE are peaky, with analog controls and sharpened still, by hand of the crafters with balancing, edging, knifing, and carving the perfect hand-ground camshafts and rods. Cranks are balanced to Formula Atlantic specs and allow the archaic engines to breathe effectively and nominally at 9000 rpm, sometimes beyond. Each body is brought down to bare shell, panels shaved in micrometer thickness accuracy, and frame gusseted in strategic areas known only to N2 specialists.
Crafting each car in the same care taken to forge a katana sword taught by centuries of metallurgy and forging mastery. That's called "takumi" in a single word, in Japanese language. It is a word reserved for the most esoteric of building, from purification of the mind and soul, to the last stroke of the polishing hand to reach that limit of Earthly perfection. Mr.Sakurai of TRD Technocraft was the father of such agenda in the days of the AE86 N2, and is survived by his followers who cherish the flame of his spirit to this day.
The N2 is this level of racing. It is something fought with pride of craftspeople who all have a mutual respect for each other, and isn’t driven by politics and investors. It is a private series that teams follow a order of fundamental rules. No one cheats or brings in technologies unfair or unmannerly to N2’s historic values and ancestors of N2 immortal talents, they regard highly.
It's the reason people like Keiichi Tsuchiya regards the AE86 so highly, as he lived in the era of N2 racing, and while he aspired to race in them, he was just 1 year too late to get a seat in the famed N2 cup. It is why he wanted to start the N2 Vintage Racing series under Hot Version label sanction a full decade later, to get others to partake in this unique Japanese era of racing, where the most talented and passionate of Japanese drivers and teams would spend sweat and time honing one car to master-crafting, and race at the ragged edges of skills. Crafting simplicity to the most acute of performance edge.
American culture is somewhat different and people get bloody-thirsty for winning, and folks get litigious too with rules interpretation. So it's a different community. Someday though... N2 is unique in that it is a blend of historic racing type ritual, but taking in serious competition... It's one of those things where there is a mix of Japanese uniqueness of comrades, community, utter respect towards opponents, and isolated colloquialism, and spirit of founders...
Something like this doesn't translate well in a culture like America where people just have very different backgrounds of mixed nationalities and standards toward winning and losing. We, Americans tend to battle for personal reasons above community goals. It's not wrong really, just different. And it is certainly rather a unique mind-set for sure.