53 Second Club
This story comes from Tsukuba Circuit in Japan, one of my favorite tracks to race in GT5. The video is about a modest pharmacist with a little extra time (and money) named “Under” Suzuki. He was given the nickname “Under” — meaning underdog — since, unlike most of his fellow racers, he isn’t factory backed or sponsored. He has set out to achieve one goal: set the record for the fastest lap time at Tsukuba for a tuning car. A fairly daunting task given the fact that he is a privateer and isn’t getting money or parts (aside from tires, perhaps) to help him along the way.
The standing time trial record at Tsukuba was 53.589 seconds, and Under would be trying to break that record with his Nissan Silvia S15 which has come a long way from when he bought it in stock form and slowly transformed it piece by piece over the past 10 years into the beast it is now. He makes a strong point in the video, suggesting that there is no oneway to drive fast. There is no formula for posting the best lap times, it is different for everyone.
“My advice to people is rather than reading books, and watching videos which tell you what to do and what not to do, get out there and do it. You need to think with your own head about what works for you and what feels best.”
At the filming of this video, he was preparing to complete in the 2012 World Time Attack Challenge against some of the fastest factory-backed and sponsored cars — luxuries he does not have.
And for those of you curious about how he did — Yatta! He not only achieved the fastest time at the event, obliterating the previous record of 53.589, posting a time of 52.649 seconds! That’s almost a full second quicker, which is an amazing feat considering Tsukuba is a relatively small track and racers are out there fighting for tenths of a second. This is definitely a feel-good story about an underdog who punched above his weight and gave a knockout blow.
Congratulations, Suzuki-san. I don’t believe the nickname “Under” suits you anymore.