Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY - Robert Buys

ONE of the un­ex­pected high­lights of this year’s just­com­pleted Targa Tas­ma­nia was the three-car en­try of Team Musashi.

Founder and project leader Pro­fes­sor Ko­hei Kusaka is a vet­eran rally co-driver and team boss. He has had mul­ti­ple past Rally Aus­tralia en­deav­ours, mainly with Subaru and Mit­subishi.

His depart­ment of me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing at the Univer­sity of Tokyo is linked to the Honda Tech­ni­cal Col­lege.

It of­fers stu­dents a unique in­sight to their au­to­mo­tive de­gree by restor­ing old cars and run­ning them un­der the Musashi Team in world class events, right in among the big bud­get teams in world class his­toric events.

The stu­dents cover all facets of motorsport, from car prepa­ra­tion to tun­ing and even the lo­gis­tics of get­ting them to wher­ever they are com­pet­ing and back to Ja­pan.

They take these unique skills to em­ploy­ment of­ten in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

Rally Mon­teCarlo His­torique was at the top of the team’s list un­til ter­ror at­tacks in France changed the course of its 2016 fo­cus.

This led to Targa Bam­bina (NZ) and Targa Tas­ma­nia be­com­ing its main events for the 2016 sea­son.

Two early Honda Civics tack­led the two-day Targa Bam­bina rally with huge suc­cess, com­ing first and sec­ond in class.

For Targa Tas­ma­nia the team en­tered two TE27 Toy­ota Corolla Levins and a A73 Lancer 1600GSR.

All cars were pre­pared in pe­riod fac­tory liv­ery. The prepa­ra­tion was sec­ond to none and they were looked af­ter to en­sure com­ple­tion, one of the team’s main fo­cus points.

In Targa Tas­ma­nia the team com­peted in the TSD tro­phy class, which mea­sured av­er­age speed over the spe­cial stages. All three cars com­pleted the gru­elling six-day marathon lap of the is­land as good as they started.

The ex­pe­ri­ence seemed to be one of pride and ex­cite­ment through­out the event, with the team sup­port crew, wait­ing at the road­side, al­ways full of smiles and cheers for other com­peti­tors driv­ing by.

The Musashi team achieved its goal by see­ing to fruition two years spent in prepa­ra­tion for the 2016 project.

Or­gan­is­ers of the 25th an­niver­sary of Targa Tas­ma­nia were ec­static to see the three­car Ja­panese team en­tered, as were other com­peti­tors and the thou­sands of peo­ple who turned out to watch, as the rally tra­versed 2000km around the Ap­ple Isle.

The Ja­panese team’s en­thu­si­asm and friend­li­ness was quite a talk­ing point among the nearly 400 com­peti­tors.

Pic­ture: Robert Buys

Hisao Emi and Pro­fes­sor Ko­hei Kusaka with the Ja­panese Team Musashi clas­sic en­tries.

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