So I left work a bit early today and found myself at RAC - Racing Accessories Company in Koto-ku, Tokyo. RAC carries mostly European racing related items. Here is a link to their site.
I ended up buying a Sparco racing suit and Sparco racing helmet today. Not inexpensive, but figured 1) I wasn't buying the most expensive items, and 2) I think my brain and body deserve to have some money spent on them.
Why the sudden desire to buy these items? At Tsukuba this past weekend, I had casually mentioned to Sunako-san that I was interested in his driving school. After the event was over, a man named Matsumoto-san, approached me and told me he was the guy in charge of the Tokyo office for Sunako's school - and that a bunch of people from SSCT (Skyline Sports Club Tokyo) and the school were getting together for a 12 hour endurance race next Monday, and invited me to drive with them.
I will write more about this upcoming race at Motegi (full course) later. I have to do some research into the race track, having never driven there, as well as the car, a race ready Porsche 964, the production version which I drove very briefly (a friend's back in California)
My pride prevents me from going looking like the weekend racer I am, so decided to buy the suit and the helmet. Actually, for the helmet, it had been bothering me for awhile that I was still using my old motorcycle helmet (see pics in previous post) that I had bought back in Jan 1999. I keep hearing that these helmets degrade over time and so their effective service life is 3-4 years. Well, 8 years have passed, and I DID notice that the foam core inside seemed to be getting a bit harder, so this was good enough reason for me.
The suit is a Sparco Fashion 5, a two color variant of the Sprint 5. It is FIA 2000 certified (the tag on the back collar says - made in 2004 - so the price probably reflects the fact that it's not the newest model, but who cares). New FIA rules require all wear from 1-1-2007 onwards to be this standard - so I am safe for awhile.
スーツはSPARCO FASHION ５－Sprint5の2色版ですね。FIA2000認可（製造は2004だが、最新モデルじゃないから若干安かったのかな？）なので、今年2007年1月1日からの新しいルールに従がいます。しばらくは大丈夫でしょう。
Here is a picture・写真:
The helmet is a standard white helmet - I think the model number is Sparco SPY05. I actually wanted an Arai helmet, but just like 8 years ago when I was trying to buy a motorcycle helmet, it turns out my head does not fit Arai helmets too well.
So now, this completes my gear. I already have Sparco gloves (albeit these are certified only for the FIA 1986 standard so will have to be replaced if I get really serious) as well as OMP shoes, in red. I guess I can go crazy with the sponsor patches, but I am too lazy to figure out how to sew patches on the suit right now.
As a sidenote, I am not trying to coordinate on purpose. If I was trying, the white helmet would not go with this suit. It's just that the Italians seem to have the market cornered when it comes to racing wear. I actually looked at ordering one by Competition License A (http://www.license-a.com/) which I think is Japanese, through SSCT, but the price I paid for both the Sparco helmet and suit would not have covered the price of the SSCT suit, which admittedly would be near custom made (at least with respect to the logos, etc.)
If I was more serious, again, it would have been difficult. But when the most I can envision is one race weekend per month on average, what I got is more than adequate.
I have yet to list up all the work I have done, and have had done, to my car. A later post (will try to find the pics to go with them).