It’s rather appropriate the 25th part of this series was something I’d consider an early Christmas present. The Bingo Sports track day at Fuji Speedway was the best day of my life. It happened a week before Christmas. I don’t think I could’ve imagined ending the year in a better way. The weather was perfect, the people were wonderful, the track was amazing, and the cars. Well the cars were something else.
It was an early start; my alarm was set at 5am. As I didn’t have access to a car I needed a lift. I asked a couple of people but eventually Dino Carbonarre from SpeedHunters let me tag along with him in his BMW 435i. After a 100 minute or so drive from Tokyo we arrived at the Fuji International Speedway, a couple hours before the actual was meant to start.
This was my first time inside the Speedway. I had been here once before but only to test the BMW M5’s launch control. Though I’ve never been there was an air of familiarity about it. I attribute that to the countless hours spent driving around this track on Gran Turismo 4.
Dino parked the BMW behind the assigned pit lanes Bingo Sports had rented out. Immediately we saw some cars painted in rather eye-catching shades of purple, silver, and blue. It wasn’t even 9am and we had already seen cars worth more than the GDP of most South American countries. It took every fibre of my being to not scream like a Justin Bieber fangirl.
It turned out that the cars were lined up for a little photoshoot. Once they were finished, they were sent back into the pits. Then it was time for the Porsches. This was my first encounter with the Schuppan 962 but I knew that I was in the presence of a unicorn. There are thought to be only 5 left in existence in the world. A strange looking car but in a very cool Nineties sort of way. A friend described it as a Porsche F50 and I can sort of see where he’s coming from.
I literally had to take a minute to compose myself before heading into the pit garages. The expression “like a child in a toy store” doesn’t even begin to describe the level of excitement and awe I was experiencing. Despite having only 4 hours of sleep the night before, I had never felt more awake.
Walking into those garage was an absolutely surreal experience. If someone had told me one day I would see 3 Paganis (Zonda F Clubsport – 1 of 25, the Golden Huayra – 1 of 1, and Revolucion – 1 of 5), three Ferrari F40s (including one LM), a F50, a 288 GTO Evolution (1 of 5 in the world), a 330 GTC, a Gerhard Berger’s F187 F1 car, two 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competiziones (though one is a re-creation), 2 Lamborghini Countachs, a Miura Jota SVR (only 1 in the world), a LFA Nurburgring, a McLaren P1, 2 Bugatti Veyrons, those three Porsches (959, 964 Carrera RS Racing – 1 of 17, and the 962 – 1 of 5) from before, and a Maserati MC12 Corsa in a dream I’d tell they were crazy. Let alone in real life. Literally everywhere you looked there was at least one supercar to look at.
The main purpose for this event was the world premier of the *new* Pagani Zonda Kiryu. It’s yet another special edition one-off of the Zonda 760 series. This was the second of these sorts of car to land in Japan this year. The Zonda Zozo was delivered to its owner last month. At the same time, it was also a chance for Shinji Takei, owner of Bingo Sports, to go out and play with his toys. They even invited some of their customers to bring their cars along for petrol-fuelled day out.
Before the cars were sent around the track, they lined up all four Paganis for a photoshoot and an opportunity for the media there to get some photos of the Kiryu under natural lighting. The Zonda is by far my favourite supercar because of how ridiculous it looks, the who-cares-about-emissions 7.3-litre AMG V12, and the obsession with carbon-fibre. Not to mention few CEOs in the motoring industry are as truly passionate about cars as Horacio Pagani. But the Kiryu, in all its blue carbon glory is one of my favourite iterations of the Zonda. It took my breath away. My only complaint would be the owner opted to have the Kiryu fitted with a paddle-shift gearbox instead of a 6-speed manual. The only reason I’d accept is that he’ll be using it as his daily driver in Tokyo where an automatic would be preferable.
After the Kiryu retreated to the safety of the pit garages, it was time to make some noise. Being Japan things had to be done in a certain way. So cars were sent out to do laps around the track in groups. The Veyrons went out together as did the three Lambos and three Porsches. All Paganis but the Kiryu went together too. But I have to say, seeing all the Ferraris fly down the main straight with the F187 leading the pack was a sight to behold. Actually, scratch that. Face to face with the F187 as it came down the pit straight, that was something special.
Then the randoms were sent out with others that had gone before. The P1 went out with the Huayra, the LFA was sent with a ‘spare’ F40 and a customer’s new 911 GT3 RS. Then there was the MC12 Corsa. That was sent out with the Zonda Revolucion for what would be the loudest duet in the world. The Revolucion was a loud enough car to make my ears ring, but sent out together with the MC12 was enough to make eardrums explode. It’s a shame my videos didn’t capture the savagery of the noise those two made. The noise was like something from the depths of hell.
Let’s not forget that Bingo Sports is still a car dealership, so most of the cars here are still for sale. That didn’t stop them from holding back around the track though. If prospective buyers of those cars are put off by the fact they’ve been driven around Fuji, then they’re not the right people for these cars. One of the staff said the total value of cars was estimated to be around US$65 million. I don’t doubt that at all. I couldn’t help but think about how much of an insurance nightmare it must’ve been for them though.
At random parts during the day, Takei-san would hop into a car and just do laps on his own around Fuji. Just for fun. So at times you could hear him doing laps in the Revolucion (which he owns) and the Carrera Cup car (which he races) throughout the day. It did feel like this track day was more of an opportunity for him to play with his toys. I never had this much fun playing with my Matchbox cars when I was kid though.
It’s difficult to pick a ‘highlight’ from a day like this but hearing and seeing the MC12 and Zonda Revolucion blast down one of my favourite tracks in the world would probably be my pick. Though the Zonda Kiryu was also very memorable. Though the sight of grown men acting like children on a sugar high, clutching their gentlemen’s areas trying to stop themselves from wetting their pants was pretty entertaining too. Until of course I realised I was doing it too.
It’s been nearly a week since this day but bits and pieces still pop back in my mind. It was a da unlike any other. It was a massive privilege to have been part of that day and a huge thanks to Bingo Sports for hosting it and thanks to Dino for getting me there. I can’t possibly imagine how I’d top this day anytime soon but as I still have a couple months left in Japan I’m never going to say never. You’ll never know what’s around the corner.