For Some Day Three began almost immediately as Day Two ended. A 6:45 a.m. departure for Fuji Speedway meant breakfast was about getting into the restaurant as soon as it opened.
Originally the Sunday had been planned as a relaxing day with some sightseeing, shopping and some visits around Tokyo. That all changed when the R35 GTR Club of Japan invited us to come and support them at Fuji Speedway where their members were taking part in a 7 hour endurance race. For one member of our crew it was already a step too far. Terje spend the day sleeping off the excesses of the night before not helped by the fact it made it back to the hotel after the coach had left! Geetak was also absent as he was on tour duty arranging things for later.
So that left ten tpurists from Europe who had been joined since day one by three members based in Japan (plus one). The tourists comprised of Andreas from Germany, Ville from Finland, Terje and Kennet from Norway, Mike and Yves from Luxemburg, plus Mohammed, Imran, Eddie, Roger, Geetak and John all from the UK. The Local contingent was made up of David, Anthony Matt and his wife Rose.
With 13 of us (plus driver) we set off for the two hour drive to Fuji Speedway. For most a chance to sleep but for some more chats about how it was in each of our respective countries – Norway, Finland, Germany, Luxemburg and UK.
Arriving at Fuji Speedway we told the driver garage 11, which was to be our home for the day. So he then decided to weave his way through the disorganised parking lot that is the paddock. Having found a parking space he didn’t like it so we set about another detour to find another one, and another, and…… Eventually we settled at the farthest end of the paddock where there was acres of space – ad advantage perhaps of being nowhere near anyone else – including those in Garage 11!
We walked back to the R35 GTR Club garage and soon met up with Orito-san – our host for the day. With some assistance from Matt we set about introducing ourselves and thanked Orito-san for the invite. Having presented Orito-san with some gifts and goodies we soon set about taking pictures and inspecting cars. Not only were we graced with several Track Edition GT-Rs but we even found the R35 Spec-V number 001.
Now Fuji was freezing cold, something later evidenced by the snow shower that we had. Before the race could begin it was time for the grid line up and an opportunity to stand on the longest straight in F1 surrounded by cars, all waiting for the race to begin. It is not often that you get the chance to stand on a starting grid but to do it at Fuji Speedway, miles from home, was an honour.
As the race got under way we found ourselves waiting from the pit garages and then later from the roof terrace, taking pictures. It wasn’t long before the warmth of the restaurant, the lure of green tea and coffee soon became too much. That and misou soup were enough to encourage to seek refuge away from the biting wind and to watch the cars through the panoramic windows.
The rest of the day at Fuji was spent exploring the car park for exoticar, wandering round taking pictures and mixing with the R35 GTR Club in their pit garage and on the pit wall. All too soon it was time to head back to the bus. A chance, perhaps, to warm frozen feet. A chance, perhaps, to catch up on sleep. And all too soon we were heading back to the hotel and another great day’s entertainment would soon be behind us.
Back at base the plans for the evening were to be pretty flexible with people going off doing their own things. Day one saw us rounding off the evening with Sashimi and Sushi and day two with Shabu Shabu. So for day three some tour members headed into Shinjuku and a good hearty steak. Staying local meant no taxis or metro, and no metro meant no stairs! Though we have only been here a couple of days the amount of steps, stairs and escalators that have been used is extensive such are the joys of Tokyo commuting.
Heading for the bright lights of Shinjuku we decided to let fate take it’s chance and had no set plans. As we walked around the lanes and alley ways looking for something to eat we soon found something suitable: plain, local simple food. After dining the tour party split into two: half going back for an early night and the other half off to a darts and billiards bar. Sadly the sporting excesses missed us by and we focused instead on the one sport we were good at – drinking!
All too soon another day was over. Returning to the hotel we finally turned out just after midnight. Tomorrow would be a lay in with a 7:30am start!
Back home and here is how Japanese Performance treated the tour, with a six page cover