Let's say you're a rich, Le Mans-obsessed car owner in Japan. What do you drive on the weekends, a Toyota Crown Comfort? Of course not. You drive your Porsche 962C. Naturally, you also have a friend whose track-day car is a Mazda 767B.
In this video from Japan's Motorhead magazine, with cinematography by Luke Huxham — the guy who did the one about the Lamborghini driving Yakuza boss — we meet three car Japanese car enthusiasts. Each owns a race car with a Le Mans pedigree. The first two are the Porsche and the Mazda, the third is a Jaguar XJ220-C.
I asked Luke to give us some background on the shoot, the cars and the owners who share the motto, "I enjoy the racecar in my daily life."
How did you find these guys?
Last year we shot a film with Moroi-san, owner of the Porsche 962C, Motorhead had already collaborated with Mr A, the Jaguar XJ220-C owner, in a photoshoot for their magazine and Hoshino-san was friends with both of these guys so Takada-san editor in chief of Motorhead decided to get them all together for a street / event shoot. After this was hastily organized because it was sort of last moment, he decided he wanted to shoot a film about this project and that is how I got involved since I look after all the projects for Motorhead.
The owners of these vehicles a quite well known in Japan for their cars or what they do with them, for one Moroi-san is known as the guy that loves to take his Porsche 962C to convenience stores and drive it around on the street. Mr A is more well known for his extremely high-speed driving on "private" stretches of roads, and Hoshino-san — well, he owns one of the only two Mazda 767B's that was entered in Le Mans. It also has the amazing four-rotor engine. How could he not be famous?
Tell me a little about the shoot? Were there any complications?
The problems started from the word go. Which cars can we drive on the street? The Jaguar XJ220LM caused us no problems because it worked fine for everyday use, no overheating or weird quirks. The Porsche 962C likes to get hot if it's not driving over a constant 100 kph (because racecar) and like we experienced in our last video with the 962C, it likes to unload all of it coolant in a matter of seconds once it starts to get hot.
The 767B was a no-go on the street. Because of how rare it is, and the fact it's about one inch off the road meant we could simply not risk driving it on the public roads.
We had to block off part of a bridge and unload the cars at 4 am in the middle of the city in Hiroshima, in front of the Ground Zero war memorial, with the hopes there would be no interference from the local police. I had to capture all this happening while working in between photographers — with only the assistance of me myself and I, something that proves to make my life difficult every time.
We had countless bystanders stopping by for photos and no sign of the police, so this was sort of running smoothly until.... Off in the distance we see the mamachari, an officer in uniform who heard there were three extremely loud race cars blocking the road and local traffic. After a brief chat about moving some cars and blocking less of the road we found he really enjoys cars and had no problems with us shooting or filming, so crisis adverted.
After this it was just the problems of shooting multiple cars in a short amount of time, navigating traffic with two Le Mans cars, organizing them to move into and out of frame, stopping for breaks to let the 962C cool down, you know all the usual stuff that comes with driving your Le Mans car on the street.
How did people on the street react to seeing/hearing those cars?
People young and old were blown away, what are these racing cars doing in our quiet city parked in front of the Ground Zero war memorial backdrop. It was very hard to shoot these cars without getting an observer in the shot as they walked around looking and taking photos of the car. No one seemed to mind that we were causing bit of problem for traffic not even the police. We had driven eight hours to film here and the transporter had to travel 14+ hours so everyone was quite happy watch us working or pose with the cars for photos.
Any other anecdotes from the shoot?
People might be able to poke holes in this film or notice things we should have filmed but they have to understand we start off with a huge list of things to shoot and slowly as problems occur and time constraints start to squeeze you there is simply no possible way for us to film and produce a 100% complete project. Even I view this project as incomplete, there is so much more we could do and explore but realistically we could never film it all unless we had a bigger crew, bigger budgets and permission to shoot at these locations. At the end of the day all we can hope to do is bring a little bit of "wow" to your screen and try and gloss over each car and let you soak in a bit of their beauty and pedigree. So please kick back, hit the 4K mode and enjoy the film. Remember you don't need a 4k monitor to benefit from the 4k function on youtube.
(A special thank you from Luke to Takada-san from Motorhead for organizing this unique content, Edward Khoma from Carbon Studios, and all the viewers who hopefully appreciate the content Motorhead X Maiham Media have made for them in 2013.)