TEAM GOES THE EXTRA SMILES
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.
Hisao Emi and Professor Kohei Kusaka with the Japanese Team Musashi classic entries.