Last November was a crazy month. It kicked off with the first ever Pagani Raduno in Asia, something I still can’t believe happened. Straight off the coattails of the Raduno was the Ferrari Cavalcade in Kyoto, an event where there no less than six LaFerraris as well as other legendary Ferrari models.
To wrap up what was an insane month was the Suzuka Sound of Engine, an event that celebrated motorsports past and present. I was amazed there was enough time in the month to fit in the annual Autocar Japan Festival at Fuji Speedway.
Previous ACJP Festivals had crazy turnouts, but the crazy events that happened before, after, and during (the last day of the Cavalcade fell on the same day the ACJP Festival was on) meant there were less exotics than I had expected. On the plus side there were no signs of EVs, hybrids, or diesels there.
The turnout was nothing to complain about, especially if you like Renaults. What the ACJP Festival is, in summary, is a day out for Japan’s petrolheads to come together at the renowned Fuji International Speedway. ACJP organises it and invites groups and clubs to join in on the fun.
This year we had the Ferrari Challenge series, Renault Japan, Aston Martin Japan, Jaguar Land Rover Japan, a classic Porsche club, as well as various dealers/groups. A quick walk around the car park at Fuji shows the overwhelming amount of Renaults as well as various other cars.
Inside the pit garages it was an orgy of historic racing cars, Ferrari Challenge cars, Renaults, and some of the most mouth watering supercars. I wish I knew more about old racing cars to appreciate the ones that were there but it was very cool to see them next to more modern track cars such as the Aston Martin GT3 car. I was hoping for Japan’s Vulcan to make an appearance, maybe next time.
Seeing these cars static and up close is one thing, but seeing and hearing them go around one of my favourite tracks in the world was a whole other thing all together. Forget sound limits, this was raw unadulterated noise. The mix of old racing engines, modern Ferrari V8s, and everything in between was a real treat for the senses.
Not everyone driving out on the track are experienced racers so some accidents did happen. There was the obligatory spin out from a guy in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, there was a crashed Renault Clio RS, and there was even a loose deer.
Each group had a go around the track before a free-for-all run in the afternoon. Basically everything from the car park went out to do laps around Fuji, even the odd Toyota and Renault van. That was one of the highlights; seeing a white Toyota van do laps around Fuji with the likes of a BAC Mono and Ferrari 458 Speciale.
Other highlights included seeing a DB11 out in the open shortly after its launch in Japan, the white/orange Aston GT12, the Alfa 8C, the NA1 NSX-R, the BAC Mono, and of course the doge tied to a Ferrari 348.
I didn’t stay at the event for long, just spent a couple hours to get a feel of the event and then headed back to Tokyo. But from what I saw it was great family-friendly event for enthusiasts. Most of the people came with their cars and groups, however there were also a few members of the public there too.
It’s great to see events like these are still happening today and I believe it’s an important part in keeping interest in cars running, especially for kids. As much as I love modern supercars, there are lots of events that cater towards them. Any excuse for people to appreciate cars new and old is something I can get behind and support.
Here’s hoping this year’s turnout will be even better.