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2018 Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series

Discussion in 'Showroom' started by Reza Maulana, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Autobacs Super GT Cup Series.png
    For those who viewed my Pretty Cure Silverado scheme in my normal showroom, you may remember that I mentioned about making a carset based on Japanese’s Super GT. Well, here it is, welcome to the Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series! This is going to be my first ever big NR2003 carset project, so I’m excited to try and complete all the schemes I have planned for this carset. I’m trying to plan to complete every driver’s primary schemes first before (if time allows) I’ll try to make secondary/alternate schemes.

    As this mod’s based on a real-life racing series, this mod’s going to be mostly realistic with some fictional elements. Driver and team name, for example were kept being based on the real-life competitors; but the story inside Autobacs Super GT Cup Series (the series champions, for instance) are fictional while still somewhat based on the actual Super GT season results. This mod’s going to be made for the MENCS18. Credits will be mentioned in the driver's scheme preview.

    Before we start with the first completed scheme, here’s a preview of who’s going to be in this carset:
    [​IMG]
    P.S. This preview is going to be changed once I got everyone's car number ready. You can say that this is somewhat of a placeholder.

    As mentioned in the preview, I made three changes for the carset:
    1. Three new teams: Taniguchi (#0), Hirakawa (#1), and Kamui Kobayashi (#40); who were on the same team to Kataoka (#4), Cassidy (#37), and Kovalainen (#39) respectively in real life.
    2. I changed team #16 to have their sponsor changed from Motul to Lucky Strike as well as changing its team name from Mugen to Lucky Strike Racing, as the team colors are already similar to Lucky Strike’s racing colors and I kinda want to create one cigarette-sponsored team for this carset.
    3. Defending champions must wear #1. Hirakawa's normal number is #73 had he didn't became champion last season.
    4. Not mentioned in the preview, but yes triple-digit numbers were allowed here.
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    Anyways... first up, we get the Swedish Felix Rosenqvist in the #6 Wako’s Toyota Camry for Team LeMans. He’s replacing Italian veteran Andrea Caldarelli, who left Team LeMans to race for Lamborghini in the Blancpain GT Series. Team LeMans themselves has been a mainstay in Autobacs Super GT since its inaugural season and has turned themselves into a strong championship contender with Caldarelli in the driver seat, with the team finishing 3rd and 8th in the last two seasons of Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series despite Caldarelli being winless last season and only getting 1 race win two seasons ago.

    In theory, Team LeMans and Rosenqvist should be a very strong contender for the championship, given Rosenqvist’s already famous for his driving talents and the successes that Team LeMans have in the last two seasons. However, they are, quite understandably, concerned that Rosenqvist’s commitment in Formula E with Mahindra might complicate matters in the team’s hunt for their elusive first title.
    6a.jpg
    6b.jpg
    Team LeMans Wakos Render.jpg
    Wako's Toyota Preview.jpg

    Coming soon/next scheme: Ryo Hirakawa in the #1 Keeper Toyota Camry for Team TOM's.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  2. Cutch22

    Cutch22 That Pittsburgh Fan

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    Reza, excellent concept series here. excited to see how this turns out.
     
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  3. InsideLine

    InsideLine Hey Man! Careful there's a beverage here!

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    This looks amazing great job!
     
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  4. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Some meta talk: Since I'm designing these schemes using the contingencies from Cosmin's default template, that make me realize just how much time I wasted solely on contingencies on my previous works. I used to design contingencies in a way so that every driver had a different contingency set (and I put a lot of it, if you take a look at my past works in my normal showroom), but that took me up to 4-5 hours of choosing and placing the contingencies per single driver. And as a result, it often took 10 hours (or more) of my time just designing one scheme when it can be done at 5-6 hours at max...

    Also, while in real life Super GT is currently in their 26th season, here in the carset's "history" I made it so that they're celebrating their 25th season in 2018 instead. I skipped the 1993 season, Super GT's (or JGTC as it's called back then) inaugural season, as there's too few races and no GT300 class yet, as the GT300 class' presence allows me to "expand" the field size of this carset.
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    Anyways, next up, the defending champions of Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series, Ryo Hirakawa in the #1 Keeper Toyota Camry for Team TOM's.

    TOM’s is perhaps one of the most famous teams in the Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series, as well as being the only team to field three cars this season. With Hirakawa's title victory last season, they had managed to win their fourth teams title, tying another series legend NISMO for the most teams title in series history as well as giving Toyota their 10th title, the first manufacturer to reach the 10 title mark in the series' history. With a stacked driver line-up of defending champion and young Japanese hotshot Ryo Hirakawa, the fast New Zealander Nick Cassidy, and former Formula One driver Kazuki Nakajima; they were destined to hit big again this season.

    Hirakawa, who had to drive the newly expanded no. #73 team for TOM’s last season, certainly had managed to exceed expectations by getting 3 race wins and ultimately winning his first driver’s championship in only his third season in the championship, narrowly beating teammate Cassidy and surprise contender Ronnie Quintarelli for the title, thus earning him the coveted #1 number for the 2018 season. For this season, the team targets to become the first team since series inaugural champion Masahiko Kageyama to win a back-to-back championship. Which is certainly going to be tough, given that nobody after Kageyama had been able to mount a successful title defense in this series…
    1a.jpg
    1b.jpg
    TOMS 1 Keeper Render.jpg
    Keeper Toyota Preview.jpg
    Coming Soon/Next Up: Two cars actually for the next one (so it might take a while); Hirakawa's teammates at Team TOM's, Nick Cassidy in the #37 Red Bull Toyota and Kazuki Nakajima in the #36 au Toyota.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  5. iPlod

    iPlod Member

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    This is actually such a cool idea, and beautifully done so far. Great stuff!
     
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  6. Thunder98

    Thunder98 Well-Known Member

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    These cars look very nice. I especially love the scheme for the #1. I guess you can say it's a keeper. ;)

    Looking forward to seeing your progress!
     
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  7. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Meta talk: So... I said on Hirakawa's #1 Keeper scheme post that I was planning to post both Nick Cassidy's #37 and Kazuki Nakajima's #36 for the next post. Well, due to some... let's just say complicated reasons, this took a bit longer than expected and while both schemes were ready, I'm currently still waiting for Garrett/Carbine's renders for Nakajima's #36 car, so unfortunately it looks like that I'm going to post just Cassidy's scheme for this one.

    Also, since I listed Hirakawa, Cassidy, and Nakajima as teammates at Team TOM's, their schemes are going to have some elements that's going to look familiar between one and another, although I must say that Cassidy's scheme is going to look more distinct than both Hirakawa and Nakajima. The same goes for the ARTA duo (#8 and #55, different manufacturers aside), APR duo (#30 and #31), SARD duo (#39 and #40), the JLOC duo (#87 and #88), and the Gainer duo (#10 and #11), but not for the Good Smile duo (#0 and #4) and the LM Corsa duo (#60 and #96).

    For the LM Corsa duo, that's because they had a completely different scheme between one and the other. As for Good Smile... well since there's only the #4 team in the real Super GT and I've added Taniguchi's #0 as one of the "extra" teams for this series, I'm planning this: Since GSR's technical full name is "Good Smile Racing with Team Ukyo" and Ukyo Katayama also owns a bicycle racing team that's also named Team Ukyo (Good Smile Company/Miku also sponsored them by the way), I'm planning to split the Good Smile bit into the #0 and the Team Ukyo bit into the #4, hence why I listed Hatsune Miku as the #0's sponsor and Team Ukyo/Miku as the #4's sponsor for this carset.
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    Well that meta talk took quite a while. Anyways, next up, the New Zealander Nick Cassidy in the #37 Red Bull Toyota Camry for Team TOM's.

    Cassidy had already managed to make a name for himself in this series by finishing sixth and third overall in his first two seasons as well as winning the Rookie of The Year award in his rookie season. His presence has even enabled Team TOM’s to expand, given that he signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship contract with Red Bull last season which allows the team to keep Hirakawa after signing Kazuki Nakajima into the team. With three wins in his name last season, media certainly backed Cassidy as one of the early favorites for the title, as the New Zealander is looking to become the ninth different driver to win the Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series title in the last 10 seasons.

    37a.jpg
    37b.jpg
    TOMS 37 Red Bull Render.jpg
    Red Bull Toyota Preview.jpg

    Coming Soon: Obviously there's Kazuki Nakajima's #36 au Toyota still in the waiting list, but after Nakajima... I'm planning to do Jann Mardenborough in the #12 Calsonic Ford, the first non-Toyota scheme in this carset.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  8. NascarGuy42

    NascarGuy42 Well-Known Member

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    This set is superb so far. It reminds me of an idea for a series I came up with recently. Keep up the great work!
    NASCAR_Samsung_Asia_Series.png
     
  9. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Meta talk: So, I decided to learn how to render myself after I... kinda triggered Garrett when my impatience got the better of me. While I'm still using just the default render camera and lighting that Cosmin put in his 3DS Max scene (also, P.S. its likely that every scheme from these schemes would have 1 render pics instead of 2), I must say I'm proud I'm actually able to get the renders to work properly, especially after I figure out how to fix the underside-clipping issue that broke the scheme(s) pretty badly in the model when I first try to render it by myself.

    Also, remember what I've said about the story inside this carset are fictional while still somewhat based on the actual Super GT season results? Well, I made it to be like that since combining GT500 and GT300 results brings some interesting end-results and I do have several of the Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Series champions to actually came from drivers participating in the GT300 class instead of GT500; although the real reason for that initially is because I can't do simulations for the results since I don't have NR2003 installed in my laptop due to the fact that I had no idea how to made it work with Windows 10... ^^;

    Speaking of the fictional story, the same principle works with how many race wins that a driver got too. Race wins and pole positions in the real Super GT results (both on GT500 and GT300) will translate into a race win here. As for teams that I've split the team into two different teams in this carset like Hirakawa/Cassidy (#37 TOM's split into #1 and #37) and Taniguchi/Kataoka (#4 GSR split into #0 and #4)? Well for those cases, then both drivers got the same amount of wins. I'm going to give you two examples: In the real 2017 Super GT season result, Hirakawa/Cassidy's team got 2 race wins and 1 pole while Takamitsu Matsui (#25) got 1 race win and 3 poles. That translates into 3 race wins for Hirakawa, 3 race wins for Cassidy, and 4 race wins for Matsui respectively. Hopefully you got the idea of how it works.

    Also, that means I need to update the driver into data for Rosenqvist/Team Le Mans, Hirakawa, and Cassidy since I haven't put their "race wins" total just yet LOL
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    Next up, since both of their schemes were ready, I guess I post both of them at once: Kazuki Nakajima in the #36 au Toyota Camry for Team TOM's and Jann Mardenborough in the #12 Calsonic Ford for Team Impul.

    When Nakajima was first signed to the team last season following a two-year absence from the series due to him racing in World Endurance Championship, the fans were scared that this means one of Hirakawa or Cassidy is going to be left without a ride. Fortunately, Red Bull’s sponsorship deal allows both to retain the seat while keeping Nakajima signed to the team. And Nakajima himself did pretty well last season, getting 1 race win and finishing 11th in the overall standings. While Nakajima is currently seen by the media and some part of the fandom as the “weak link” of Team TOM’s dominant squad, he’s looking to prove that he can be just as strong as Hirakawa and Cassidy on track this season.
    TOMS 36 au Render.jpg
    au Toyota Preview.jpg

    As for Jann and Team Impul: Team Impul used to be the top team of Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series, especially since they’re well known for being the team that the first ever series champion Masahiko Kageyama drove. Unfortunately for them, things haven’t gone well for them since Kageyama retired, and while they’re still a respectable team, they have been mostly languishing in the mid-pack with the occasional wins here and there ever since.

    Jann Mardenborough is known for his unusual racing background, being the most well-known alumnus of Gran Turismo Academy and had never raced professionally prior to GT Academy. When he first came to Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series in 2016, he immediately made impressions by finishing tenth overall in the #3 NDDP Ford and barely losing to Nick Cassidy for the ROTY title. That would land him a seat in the Impul team after Joao Paolo de Oliveira switched team to Kondo in 2017. Unfortunately, like most of the Ford teams last season, he ended up languishing in the mid-to-bottom pack of the field for most of the season, eventually finishing just thirty-first overall with no wins on his name. With this season being Ford’s last with the Fusion, he’s hoping that he can give Ford a strong send-off for the Fusion model before the Mustang arrives in 2019.
    Impul Calsonic Render.jpg
    Calsonic Ford Preview.jpg
    Coming Soon: To be honest, I still haven't decided whose scheme that I should make for the next one. One thing for sure, I'm trying to not work with Toyota models for the several next posts, since I've already got 4 Toyota schemes done while Ford only had 1 (the Calsonic) and Chevy and Dodge had no schemes made just yet. Possibilities includes the ARTA duo (#8 and #55), the Gulf #9, Keihin #17, Epson #64, LEON #65, and the Good Smile duo (#0 and #4)...
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  10. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Meta talk: Well it's been quite a while since the Nakajima/Mardenborough double post. College stuffs had caused this project to be side-tracked for quite a while. And now I'm currently being in mid-exams for this semester at the moment, so yeah...
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    Next scheme for this carset, Takashi Kogure in the #17 Keihin Camaro ZL1 for Real Racing.

    Chevrolet, frustrated with their performance that saw their highest finishing driver only finishing 26th and 17th in the overall standings in 2016 and 2017 respectively, have decided to pull a massive overhaul in their squad for 2018. Not only they have decided to retire the SS model in favor of introducing the aggressive looking Camaro ZL1 as well as expanding by (re)introducing two new teams for the 2018 season (CarGuy's #777 and the returning Drago Corse in the #34), they also made a massive shockwave in the racing community by signing former F1 World Champion Jenson Button to their squad. Chevy had made their goals clear: They want to win the 2018 season at all costs.

    Real Racing (yes, the team's name is actually that) has been a mainstay in the Autobacs Super GT NASCAR Cup Series for quite some time. First joining the series in 2007 as part of Chevrolet's expansion of their factory-supported team effort, they have been racing the metallic dark blue and silver colors of primary sponsor Keihin since 2009. They have been mostly a mid-pack team, and the team comes to the 2018 season hoping to get their first race win since 2014.

    Takashi Kogure is a man that has been loyal to Chevrolet ever since he made his debut in this series in 2003. A former one-time champion in 2010 with the now-defunct Weider Racing, he has been mostly languishing in the mid-to-bottom pack ever since he left Weider in 2012, with Kogure also having his own winless streak that he had built for the past four seasons. Despite this, he feels confident that with the new Camaro ZL1, he can finally break not only his own winless streak, but also Real Racing's winless streak at some point during the 2018 season.

    Real Racing Keihin Render.jpg
    Keihin Chevrolet Preview.jpg
    Coming Soon: I'm tempted to do the Dijon #48 team for the next one. That, or the Gulf #9 team.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  11. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Meta talk: So I've decided to put a change on my renders... Since I'm pretty much new in NR2003 rendering, all I do so far is basically just change the material, body style depending on what car I've made, setup the scanline renderer, and then render and save the render pic. Yes it's fast, but its still very basic. What I did is to make it look... slightly less-basic is by adding the car number and primary sponsor on the top left corner, along with team name on the bottom right. It's still very basic, but at least it didn't look "plain". I'm also going to replace my previous own renders with the V2 renders, along with adding my own render variant to the posted cars that have Garrett/Carbine renders.
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    Next up, one of the more controversial drivers in the series right now, Rintaro Kubo in the #9 Gulf Oil Dodge for Pacific Racing. Also apologies for the long story post, as Kubo's story is pretty... complex, to say the least.

    Pacific Racing has been shaping up to become one of the more popular underdog teams in the series thanks to their itasha past, despite being considerably lacking in results (this'll get important in a bit). First joining the series in 2013 with the Ghost in the Shell: Arise colors on their Dodge, they gained more notoriety in the itasha/anime community thanks to their two-year deal with Love Live! to become their sponsors the following year. The motorsport community then took further notice of the team when they signed a sponsorship deal with Gulf Oil in 2016, thus decking their cars in Gulf's famous light blue-and-orange colors. They still haven't forgotten their itasha past though, as the Girls und Panzer series became their latest anime series partner since 2017 (replacing the previously-mentioned Love Live!), itself still keeping a noticeable sponsor spot in Pacific's #9 Dodge.

    Rintaro Kubo made his debut in the series in 2016 with Arnage Racing, finishing only 40th in the overall standings. A move to APR's #31 Toyota team in 2017 looks to be promising for the young Japanese considering the #31 team's famous reputation for being one of the fastest independent cars in the series. Keep in mind that its sister car, the #30 team, almost always ends up being one of the bottom 10 cars (something that the fans can't comprehend as to why, to say the least).

    Kubo, however, massively underachieved with the #31 car; finishing only 30th overall with no wins, he finished a whopping 23 places down compared to the team's 2016 results and "only" 13 places above its sister car. Further comparing his results to APR #31 team's 2016 results, when the car is driven by the current Super Formula competitor and LM Corsa test driver Yuichi Nakayama (7th place overall, 28 places above its sister car, second best independent behind the 2016 season's runner-up #25 Tsuchiya Toyota, and 2 race wins), only makes it worse. This forces APR to fire him after only one season and quickly giving him a bad reputation with the fans as they can't comprehend how he can bring the APR #31 car to a result that low.

    His reputation took a further dive when it is revealed that he's going to replace the popular New Zealander Jono Lester in the #9 Gulf Oil Dodge seat. Lester, who made his debut last season, quickly gained popularity with the fans for massively overachieving with the Pacific car. While winless, Lester finished his debut season in 17th overall, 22 places up compared to Pacific's 2016 season result (finishing 39th out of 47 teams). Keep in mind that before Lester's 2017 season, Pacific had never finished above 30th in overall standings.

    Pacific fans were suspecting that Lester overachieved so much that Pacific, whose budget is on the rather limited side despite having several famous sponsors such as Gulf and Girls und Panzer, can't afford to pay both his increased salary demand and the cost set by Dodge to increase their manufacturer-support (Dodge had no "official" factory team, although for 2018 four teams (Good Smile's #0 and #4, LEON's #65, and ARTA's #55) can be considered as the "unofficial" factory cars considering they got the biggest manufacturer-support of the Dodge cars) for the 2018 season, forcing the team to release Lester. Thus, Pacific fans were, rightfully so, fearing that Kubo might be bringing their team into the old bottom-team hell that they wish to escape following Lester's magnificent season.
    Pacific Gulf Render.jpg
    Gulf Dodge Preview.jpg
    Coming Soon: Dijon's #48 is still in the top of the list of cars I want to be doing right now, but Kubo and APR's story makes me want to do APR's #31 car as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  12. InsideLine

    InsideLine Hey Man! Careful there's a beverage here!

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    Gulf colors never get old no matter what type of car. Fantastic work on all the cars. ;)
     
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  13. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Some meta talk: Obviously we know that this year NASCAR starts to put sponsor decals in the area where the contingencies used to be, you know with the RTA/Playoff participant Twitter decal, the NBC decal, the Snapchat one from Homestead, etc... While the execution isn't really the best, I've actually liked the idea behind it to be honest (it's good for extra sponsor exposure after all), so I've decided to implement the idea they have to this series.

    Also, the way the Green Brave car look below is because, much like the other cars, I've tried to replicate the scheme in the actual #52 Green Brave scheme in Super GT to the NASCAR Toyota Camry MENCS18 model. It... didn't look that well as it turned out, but oh well...
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    Next up we've got two cars, each with their firsts: The first owner-driver in the carset, Ryo Michigami in the #34 Modulo Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for his own team Drago Corse, and the first driver that have the new sponsor area exposure implemented to their car (well from the one I've already made that is), Taku Bamba in the #52 Saitama Toyopet Green Brave Toyota Camry for... Saitama Toyopet Green Brave.

    Michigami is quite the legend in the series, and like Kogure, he is a man that have been working with Chevrolet for his entire career. First entered the series when Chevrolet made their official manufacturer debut in 1998, he immediately made impressions with his go first-or-go home driving style. Too much DNFs in the following season forced him to adapt a "calmer" driving style, which paid dividends when he won the title in 2000 with the #16 Castrol Chevrolet for Dome Castrol Project, the first manufacturer-backed Chevy driver to win the championship (David Brabham, in an independent Chevrolet, had won the title in 1996).

    After he retired in 2013, he decided to form his own team Drago Corse. The team itself then entered the series in 2015, when Michigami bought the entry of his former team Dome (aka Castrol Project/Weider Racing) after Dome left the series for other ventures. Despite having full manufacturer support and the promising Briton Oliver Turvey in the team, Drago (then running the #15 car) was forced to take a sabbatical from the series at the end of the 2016 season after a horrible season saw them finishing only 36th, the last of the Chevy teams, caused funds to ran dry due to the team's decision to ran with just a single sponsor (Modulo) throughout their initial campaign. After a year of regroup, getting several new sponsors and some management changes, Drago was ready to re-enter the series in 2018 despite now having to contend with partial-manufacturer support because they've decided to enter as an independent entry. Michigami then announced that he's going to un-retire himself to drive for his own team. Michigami's hoping that with the team's second try of competing in the sport, he's not going to make the same mistakes that he did during their initial stint in the series.
    Drago Corse Modulo Render.jpg
    Modulo Camaro Preview.jpg

    During the off-season between the 2017 and the 2018, the organizers of the series realized that the majority of the series' sponsors became less interested with the contingency program. To make sure the space on where the contingency area doesn't look "empty" for the fans who were used with the contingency system (although they would never say that directly), they announced that teams are given the optional choice to put sponsors in the area where the contingencies used to be starting from the 2018 season. Saitama Toyopet is one of the teams that took the opportunity to promote some of their sponsors in the contingency area of the car.

    Saitama Toyopet is one of the many Toyopet Toyota dealership channels in Japan, and as the name implies, they mainly sold cars for the people in the Saitama Prefecture. They started participating in racing business earlier this decade, mostly in the local and lower-tier racing scene before they took a big jump by their decision to enter the series in 2017 under the Green Brave banner. The team itself didn't enjoy a good season in their debut, finishing only 39th overall and within the Toyota camp, they only beat the ever-struggling #30 APR and fellow debutant #35 Team Thailand car. Despite this, they believed that good teams will start small before they grow big, and they were hoping that the team will made some clear improvements for the 2018 season.

    The team's driver, Taku Bamba, made his first appearance in the series in 2009 as Hatsune Miku Team Studie's test driver. The following season, he earned notability for being the first ever driver for Good Smile Racing after Good Smile Company and Hatsune Miku split themselves from Team Studie to form their own team back in 2010, bringing Bamba with them as well. After Nobuteru Taniguchi became a free agent though, he ends up getting transferred back to the returning Studie in 2011. He would stay in Studie for three seasons before Studie released him at the end of the 2013 season. Saitama Toyopet then recruits him to become a driving coach for their young talents, a role that he would stay for three years before the call came from Hiroashi Aoyagi, Green Brave's team principal, asking him to become the team's driver in ASGTNCS. He immediately accepts the offer, and while he and the team didn't perform well last season, he's looking confident that the team will improve their results in 2018 despite the #52 car's looking... pretty ugly and messy for the fans. But hey, some did say that function is better over form, right?
    Saitama Toyopet Green Brave Render.jpg
    Saitama Toyopet Toyota Preview.jpg
    Next one: Not sure really on what to do next. I did say that I might do Dijon's #48 or APR as the next one to be completed in the previous post, but I ended up doing Modulo and Green Brave next instead...
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  14. PepsiRacer4

    PepsiRacer4 The One and Only

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    I'm so excited for this carset. This is awesome.
     
  15. Reza Maulana

    Reza Maulana SRD's Resident Indonesian & Truck Series Statman

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    Some meta talk: So I've decided to took some time modifying Cosmin's render scene in order to create myself a 2-car render shot for the cars that I've worked on. Starting from this post, the bottom "reveal" pic of the cars (the one that shows the car from the front, back, top, left, and right) here will be replaced by the 2-car render shots. This also means that I will give a credits shout-out right before the "Coming Soon" bit instead of including it in the reveal pic.

    Also, for this post, I have no Coming Soon section as I still can't decide what to do next.
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    Next up, two teams that are fan-favorites despite being pretty much bottom-tier teams in the series: Masaki Tanaka in the #48 Shokumou Ford Fusion for Dijon Racing and Natsu Sakaguchi in the #5 Mach Syaken Toyota Camry for Team Mach.

    Hiroshi Takamori's Dijon Racing has been a bottom-tier independent team ever since their debut in this series in 2012, with last season being one of the worst seasons they had so far in the series, as they finished 47th out of 48 teams, 9 places down compared to their 2016 season result and only beating the struggling Cars Tokai Dream28 in the standings. Despite this, they have been gaining popularity for one reason: The team's just happy that they were able to compete here. It didn't matter for them if they finish first or last; they just want to have fun both on and off the track. Having cars with extremely noticeable colors (such as the pink Endless car that they ran in 2016 or the mint cyan colors of team's current sponsor, hair transplant company Shokumou) probably helps too.

    Masaki Tanaka has been a Dijon mainstay ever since Takamori stepped down from driving duties at the end of the 2013 season. First competed in the series in 2006 for the now-defunct A&S Racing, he would lost his ride in 2007 and were left without a ride in this series until he accepted a deal with Dijon in 2014. Tanaka, much like Dijon, is also happy to simply be here regardless of results, and is simply hoping to not finish last in 2018.
    Dijon Shokumou Render.jpg
    Dijon Shokumou Render 2Car.jpg

    Tetsuji Tamanaka's Team Mach has been one of the more popular bottom-tier teams in the series thanks to the Speed Racer and Mach 5-inspired livery from primary sponsor Mach Syaken that has been a mainstay in the car ever since their debut in 2004. While Tamanaka and the team initially debuted somewhat strong (especially given that this series historically has not been kind for owner-drivers like Tamanaka), soon after the team slowly regressed further and further, with Tamanaka finishing dead last in 2015 being the final straw that led to his retirement from driving duties. Not even series veteran Masami Kageyama, who briefly joined the team for one last season in 2016, was able to flip the team's fortunes as Kageyama finished dead last in his final season. All hope looked to be lost until Natsu Sakaguchi came in and made his series debut in 2017...

    Sakaguchi, a former Honda Formula Dream Project driver and protege of Ryo Michigami, came in to the team and the series with little expectations. After all, he joined a team that finished dead last for two years in a row. What followed is something that the fans of the series had not expect to see: Sakaguchi brought the team clear from bottom 10 in the standings for the first time since 2012 (barely though, he finished 38th out of 48) and would end up as the 5th best rookie (out of 8) in 2017. While finishing 5th out of 8 in ROTY doesn't sound well, let's just remember that the drivers who finished above Sakaguchi in the ROTY standings were: Sho Tsuboi, Toyota academy driver and the man who brought LM Corsa their first top 10 overall standing finish (and in real life, a man who won all but 2 races in the 2018 Japan F3 season); Sean Walkinshaw, son of the legendary team owner Tom Walkinshaw; Sven Muller, who had plenty of experience as a Porsche factory driver beforehand; and Jono Lester, a driver who performed way above what Pacific Racing is capable of, both performance and budget wise (as explained in the #9 Gulf Dodge post above).

    He also had a tendency for qualifying very well, often qualifying up against the best of the non-full factory supported teams such as Tsuchiya, Good Smile, ARTA #55, and LEON and even sometimes beating the factory supported teams. Its just that the team had plenty of reliability issues that often prevent Sakaguchi from finishing well. Sakaguchi is hoping that Team Mach will be able to sort out the reliability issues, and should the team successfully sort it out, a finish inside the top 30 looks possible for Team Mach in 2018.
    Team Mach Mach Syaken Render.jpg
    Team Mach Mach Syaken Render 2Car.jpg
    Credits: Cosmin for Templates and Base Render, Google for the sponsor logos.
     

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