TOUGE BATTLE: Hot Version DVD at Gunsai

October 29, 2009 12:06 am Published by


I couldn’t help myself.

Yesterday was the video shoot for the latest Best Motoring Hot Version DVD, in which challengers who had managed to qualify on previous “Road to Gunsai” DVDs were brought together to see who is the current king of Gunsai touge. Just in case you were wondering, Gunsai is a portmanteau of Gunma Cycle Center. The track is a cycling circuit, believe it or not!

As I mentioned before, I’ve been working for Hot Version part-time on their shoots, so this time I kept a proper camera in my pocket to take a few pics for you guys to see.

アレクシー スミス様。文字はきれいじゃないですか?

Because the crew has to be up and working from about 5:00AM, everybody usually stays at a hotel close to the venue. Gunsai however, is in the middle of the Gunma mountains near a resort town, so we stayed in a traditional onsen instead.

I’ve never seen my name written so nicely in Japanese before.


Here’s the view out of the window. The mountains look pretty nice in Autumn.


Of course, everybody ate a traditional onsen dinner. My favourite part was the “ayu no shio yaki”, or salty grilled whole fish. The chicken broth and shiitake soup were pretty good too. Actually, the whole thing was good.

Does this look familiar to anyone? Tsuchiya’s pointy hand.

Here’s the crew setting up the temporary studio. They shot all of the tuners intros against that black background.

You know how it looks like there are only a couple of people on Hot Version videos? This is how many are behind the camera. The night before the shoot, Tsuchiya, Taniguchi, Orido and all the tuners got together to draw from a lottery to see who would race who the next day.

FEED’s Fujita-san put himself in the opposite block of the battle tree that RE Amemiya’s Ame-san had chosen, because he wanted the chance to go up against him in the finals, which I thought was very cool. MCR’s Kobayashi-san decided to race the winner of the compact class, which is not something you’d expect from a guy with a 600hp GT-R, but he really wanted to win.

The track!


There was a big group of about twenty monkeys who kept wandering on to the circuit.


The surface of the track itself is covered in shadowed damp patches、leaves and moss. A fairly accurate representation of real Japanese mountain roads then.


Here’s the barrier that Akira Iida understeered into in the MCR GT-R.


Kansai versus Kanto rotary tuners.

J’s Racing were pretty well represented, with their newly-stickered Fit in the compact class…

…and the S2000 in NA class.


The bright green paint on the RE Amemiya car made it pretty hard to miss.

The rear end of this kit leaves most people divided though.

The softly-spoken yet determined Fujita-san.

Now here’s a familiar sight. After Daisuke Ito’s big crash here a while ago, all the drivers wear helmets now.

This metal oni skull graphic on the J’s S2000 really works well, in my opinion.

The Spirit MR-S weighs about 800kg, I heard.

Kobayashi-san, probably thinking about how to go faster.

These brakes made a really loud screech when they were hot. Notice the temperature sticker on the rotor.

It still has that new-car smell too.

Oops, can’t give away too much! Scroll down to the bottom of the page if you want to see which vehicle was fastest on the day.

After a thankfully crash-free day, everyone packed up and headed home.

I dig the paint on Orido’s Aristo.

Just kidding about that “fastest car” comment above. Anyone up for some Segway touge races?

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This post was written by Alexi