Staged on Sunday 26th June at Corby’s Rockingham Motor Speedway (that’s where the ‘Rock’ bit of the name comes from), Japfest Rock was the place to be for anyone with an ounce of passion for hot Hondas, mental Mazdas, and stupidly quick Subarus. With almost 1,000 cars on display, there was plenty for the 7,000 fans to relish.
One of the main draws was the presence of the one millionth Mazda MX-5 – the best-selling two-seater sports car in the world.
The drop-top’s popularity has been pretty much unstoppable ever since it first went into production back in 1989. Since then, it has shifted 37,000 units on average every year, which for such a niche car is some achievement.
The appearance of the one-millionth MX-5 was backed up by a 40-car display from the MX-5 Owners Club, parading ten cars for each of the car’s four generations.
The display ranged from faithful factory-fresh models to bonkers cranked-out modified examples like this…
The latest MX-5 may be the current holder of the ‘World Car of the Year’ title but it’s hard not to love the 1989 original. This first-gen example in mariner blue looked particularly delicious.
Mazda weren’t the only ones celebrating though. Subaru was marking 50 years of its famous ‘Boxer’ engine with a ‘Best of Boxer’ display, which included a brand new WRX STi, Jake ‘Wrecking Ball’ Archer’s Gymkhana-spec Impreza STi and some particularly rare models such as the Subaru Brat pick-up and SVX.
Some 16 million boxer engines have been fitted to Subaru models since 1966; beat that, MX-5!
With power output ranging between 478- and 562bhp, the Nissan GT-R has no trouble getting people excited in whatever form it takes but this GT-R, cranked-up by Top Secret Performance Engineering Service, can produce 1,100bhp and has hit 234mph on speed tests in Italy.
Elsewhere at the show, drift passenger rides offered visitors the rare chance to get hurled round a track alongside a professional drifter. Much sideways daftness ensured.
There were also helicopter flights and a live Honda-only demo of VTEC Challenge series racers including souped-ups Civics, Integras, Accords, Preludes, and S2000s.
Katherine Chappell, event manager of Japfest Rock, said that this year’s healthy attendance proved how important the Japfest events are in the scene calendar.
“Having seen the original Japfest grow this year, a strong turnout at Rockingham proves just how much of a thriving Japanese car scene there is in the UK,” he added.
The third Japfest event of the year will take place at the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood, Kent, on September 11th, but expect to see a reprisal of the Rockingham event around the same time next year. But for now, enjoy some more snaps!