Best Motoring has returned in the form of Best Motor TV, a monthly broadcast television show in Japan for car enthusiasts. Budget and sponsors still don’t allow the full format that Best Motoring made famous, but track battles are still the bread and butter of the show.
When the original Best Motoring ended in 2011, the final episode pitted the Lexus LFA, Corvette ZR1, Ferrari 430 RSD, Nissan GT-R, and Porsche 911 GT2 against each other in a 3-lap battle on Fuji Speedway. Now, with significant advances from Nissan, Porsche, and Ferrari, it’s time for a rematch. Missing this time is the Corvette, which didn’t do very well last time. Ferrari, which lost the last battle, is back again with a much more qualified entrant.
Go full screen, turn up the sound, and enjoy!
Our next challenge will be to determine how to obtain original DVDs of this new series of shows. We’re looking for a source in Japan… hopefully Amazon will start carrying these soon so that we can see the entire episodes.
This is the full Best Motoring Special Number 8, introducing the Honda S2000 at it’s worldwide launch in 1999. It’s one of our favorite videos from our personal collection, and has now been made available in full on the new Best Motor TV (the rebirth of Best Motoring) site. It combines very rare video of the introduction of the S2000 to the public on 4 October 1998 at the F1 race on Twin Ring Motegi, along with special documentary videos of Motoharu Kurosawa (Gan-San to the rest of us), driving a final production prototype in France, Germany and on the Nurburgring.
The S2000 was a game changer in it’s time… and Best Motoring created on of it’s most extensive videos to introduce it and to communicate Honda’s thoughts about it’s design and purpose.
And we’ll venture our opinion, based on our ownerships as well as our extensive drives: The S2000 was without a doubt the inspiration for the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ… and as a pure driver’s car it blows the Miata into a ditch. And after all this time it’s still a better car than any of them.
Set your video to full screen, sit back, enjoy this hour-long video, and remember the S2000:
We originally ordered two copies of this video from Japan for our library, and have showed them to S2000 fans and to the local S2000 club. Nobody knew what to expect when we started this video, but they were soon captivated by it. It’s part of what we call our “S2000 Shrine”, a collection of S200 memorabilia currently numbering >150 items. That’s the impact this car made on us and we were an original owner of a model year 2000 S2000. Read more about our experiences on our site http://s2000enthusiast.com/.
Every month we miss getting our Best Motoring DVD from Japan since it’s demise last year. We’d been watching Best Motoring almost since the start, and have spent uncounted thousands importing the videos directly from Japan. We thought we’d seen the last of their famous track comparisons – known as a “battle”, where Keiichi Tsuchiya and his fellow drivers pit the latest and greatest Japanese cars against each other on the track. And we especially miss Motoharu Kurosawa (nicknamed “Gan-san”) as the senior driver and editor.
But now Tsuchiya, Hattori, and Kinoshita are back (along with - to Western ears - an over-enthusiastic announcer), not as Best Motoring, and not on their usual track. The new series is known as “Best Motor TV” (BMTV) and it’s not as ambitious (or widely available) as Best Motoring, but hopefully it is a start. We are very happy to see them again, thanks to Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV).
This time the battle pits the Toyota 86 (Toyota GT 86 to the Europeans, and “Scion FR-S” thanks to the half-wits in Toyota USA marketing) against the Subaru BRZ and the latest Mazda Miata on the Twin Ring Motegi (ツインリンクもてぎ or Tsuin Rinku Motegi). And not to give it away, but as anybody would know anyway, the Miata looses big time. 2.6 seconds per lap. Last place. By far.
Unfortunately, an S2000 wasn’t entered in the battle – and that’s what we would really liked to have seen, given that we own both a late-model Miata (“NC”, with the handling suspension package) and an S2000.
And we’ll give an opinion as an owner and 30 year track rat: the current Miata with the optional handling package is too soft and too slow. In stock form its just a lousy track car. You can see it in the video when it is rolling over onto it’s bump stops in some of the turns. And the engine is nothing special… just an inherited and rather dull Ford Duratec with minimal differences. And the seats have no support.
All of these issues are critical differences between the Miata and the Toyota 86/BRZ/FR-S triplets – things that the Subaru and Toyota product planners and engineers very clearly understood would be required in a serious sportscar.
Yes, Mazda has more cars on more tracks on any given weekend, and a track-prepared Miata would have done well. But the major difference is that the 86/BRZ/FR-S has a much better base to begin with, thanks to the better vision of its product and engineering teams. And the S2000 even more so thanks to its fabulous engine. Rumors of an upcoming all-new Miata with an even smaller engine and even less interior space just support the fact that the days of the Miata as the ”definition” of a classic sportscar are long over. Subaru/Toyota will just continue to improve their own product, a forced induction engine is on the way, the Japanese aftermarket is already providing modification parts, and the same new chassis may even appear underneath a small sports sedan in the coming years.
This is momentum, which Miata has lost.
Test: Twin Ring Motegi laps
In the classic Best Motoring format, the slower car (Miata) gets a head start.
Test: 0-400 meter acceleration.
The acceleration test is much closer, although the triplets still win. You can see the differences in power-to-weight ratio (and they are provided in the first video).
Best Motoring is dead – long live Best Motoring. The worldwide economic crisis has killed one of the icons of our hobby. Legions of enthusiasts around the world will dearly miss the monthly exploits of the Best Motoring team.
This writer was first introduced to Best Motoring in 1998. We had heard about it but had never been able to obtain a copy. Our first battle was an amazing test of tuner Supras TTs and GT-Rs. In the following years, searching far and wide to buy our own copies, we discovered they were imported by the Kinokuniya Bookstore in San Francisco and we always stopped in to buy videos whenever we were in town. Later we were able to order the videos directly from Japan via Amazon.co.jp. Importation was expensive, but well worth the cost and our monthly video night over dinner was a highlight of each month.
So if the show has to end, what better way to end than to take the fastest cars available in Japan to Fuji Speedway for one final 3 lap Battle…?!!!
All of our favorite drivers are here: Kinoshita, Hattori, Tanaka, Tsuchiya and Ara are driving the Lexus LFA, Corvette ZR1, Ferrari 430 RSD, Nissan GT-R, and Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
How will the battle end? Who will win? Turn up the video and watch the video.
And will Best Motoring ever return? We can hope…
Looking thru some old Hot Version videos, I was surprised to come across a very old one that has Keiichi Tsuchiya earning his NASCAR license at Charlotte Motor Speedway, then traveling to Watkins Glen. Despite my disdain for all things NASCAR, I was very interested to see this. I noted that he does not speak English – or at least didn’t in 1996. I also didn’t realize that he is in his 50s – look at his birthdate below (Wikipedia incorrectly claims it as 1957). If you collect the Best Motorings and the related videos (Hot Version, BMI, BM Platinum, etc) you’ll see a lot of him in his early days. The same issue, #23, also has a track comparison test of an early Evo versus an STi.
Best Motorings are one of the greatest aspects of the hobby for Japanese car enthusiasts, but also one of the most frustrating. Why? Because it’s been almost impossible to get original copies of them, and even harder to get them when they come out in Japan.
In case you’re not familiar with Best Motoring, it’s a monthly Japanese “car magazine” – in video form. The emphasis is on performance cars. There is usually a “battle” comparing several cars on a roadrace track. There is also testing on winding roads, on the Touge course, with drifting, and on occasion special tests such as a notable 0-300 KPH test. All the latest Japanese performance cars are tested, and occasionally they are tested against similar performance cars from Europe and North America. There is extensive in-car multiple-camera video and analysis; it’s very clear which cars work better and why.
It comes in DVD form only, and that’s one problem: it’s region code is not compatible with 99.9%of DVD players sold in North America. DVDs worldwide are not all compatible, each geographic region has it’s own “region code” and players sold in those regions can only play DVDs of the same region. So, if you want to play a DVD from Japan, you need to buy a region-free DVD player. That’s not hard to do, nor is it expensive: you can get one from JList.com here in the United States. By coincidence, I bought a $30 dollar DVD player in my local food store that was unlocked. You can also find sites on the web showing how to unlock some models of players.
The drivers speak in Japanese, most of the text is in Japanese, but the performance numbers and most of the specs are all in English. Have patience and you’ll learn a lot about your favorite cars.l
I’ve made it easier for my readers to get the real Best Motorings, as well as other videos such as Option and Hot Version as well as a large selection of Japanese magazines and books. Look at the top of my site for an Amazon store button and follow the link:
- See my links for the items relevant to your particular area of interest
- Read my special “how to” section about how to order on the Japanese website of Amazon (with screen-by-screen examples)
- Follow the links to order.
Amazon makes it easy for you by handling the transaction – ordering is the same process as it is with any other Amazon site in the world.
Start your collection today! In my collection, I’ve got over 40 Best Motorings going back 10 years, as well as a large sampling of Option, Hot Version, and a number of special edition videos. My first Best Motoring was from 1998, which featured a 0-300 KPH battle of several tuner cars including Supras and GT-Rs. It was won by an 800-HP GT-R. Needless to say, I was hooked.
Only on YouTube: a comparison test of the Solstice versus the Miata. From Best Motoring.
NEXT ON BMI – EVO IX MEGA TEST! – Contents Revealed!
* New Fuji Speedway Special
Premier Time Attack
NSX-R One Make battle
Featured Cars : NSX-R, SPOON Accord Euro-R, 997 Carrera S,
Impreza STi spec C, Nismo Z S-Tune GT, S2000,
Nismo R34 Skyline GT-R Z-Tune
Track : New Fuji Speedway
Reviewers : KEIICHI TSUCHIYA, SATOSHI MOTOYAMA, NAOKI HATTORI,
RYO MICHIGAMI, SEIJI ARA
* Ford GT – Test & Time Attack
Featured Cars : FORD GT, Nismo Z S-Tune
Track : Willow Springs International
Reviewer : MOTOHARU KUROSAWA
* EVO IX – Mega Test & battle
EVO vs STi – Tsukuba 5 lap Battle
Featured Cars : EVO IX RS, EVO IX GSR, EVO IX GT, WRX STi spec C,
WRX STi, EVO VIII MR RS
Track : Tsukuba Circuit
Reviewers : MOTOHARU KUROSAWA, NAOKI HATTORI,
TETSUYA TANAKA, SEIJI ARA
* Impreza S203 – Exclusive Review
Featured Cars : Impreza S203, WRX STi
Reviewer : NAOKI HATTORI
* Are 19 inch wheels and tires
required on a production car?
Featured Cars : Fairlady Z 35th Anniversary
Reviewer : TAKUYA KUROSAWA
* Bonus Footage
NISMO R34 Skyline GT-R Z-Tune
Time Attack by Satoshi Motoyama
Running Time Approx. 90 mins
Scheduled Release : JULY 2005
Hyper Rev S2000 Special
Latest arrival for my collection! Just as Best Motoring has it’s own S2000 special, so does Hyper Rev.
This is an absolutely unique video – including footage of the development team working on building the original development cars and extensive footage of the Nurburgring testing (which has been done before, but this footage is unique).
There are a number of race track comparison tests, including one with a pair of S2000s – one with the 5-spoke and one with the 7-spokes. The 7-spoke model does 9/10s of a second faster lap around the track – due solely to the lighter wheels (a worthwhile option that was never offered in the U.S.).
The tape is entirely in Japanese, except for some minor scripts and all the graphics.