The little Japanese off-roader is becoming a firm favorite with time attack enthusiasts.
When you think of small Japanese track toys, your mind will likely conjure up images of the Mazda Miata MX-5. But a new trend in Japan has seen scores of gearheads transforming the venerable Suzuki Jimny off-roader into a serious time attack weapon.
At the 10th anniversary celebration of Attack Tsukuba, a brace of these adorable SUVs was spotted by Speedhunters, which decided to do some digging on the unlikely track day stars. According to the publication, there's a specialist in Japan that goes by the name of Rainbow Auto. These mechanical geniuses specialize in transforming the tiny off-roader into a serious track machine, thanks to the fitment of turbochargers, massive intercoolers, and roll cages.
Jimnys of all shapes and ages were in attendance, and Rainbow Auto even displayed a fully kitted-out demonstrator based on the latest model.
This particular model wears Rays forged rims wrapped in Yokohama Advan Neova rubber. The front wheels have an increased track to improve grip and create a sharper turn-in. The addition of coil-over suspension also aids handling. Rainbow Auto also offers an array of brake upgrades, such as a complete Brembo braking kit.
Under the stubby hood, you'll find an extensively reworked engine. If you're up for it, the left-field tuner can replace the silicone intake pipes with aluminum piping, fit a cone filter, and improve the ignition power with stronger coils. Larger radiators are also available.
Inside, the compact cabin resembles a race car. Rainbow Auto can fit a Momo steering wheel, Recaro racing seats, and harnesses, and strip the interior to save weight. Of course, these hardcore Jimnys aren't the fastest machines in the world, but they're still pretty impressive, considering their agricultural roots.
Around the iconic Japanese circuit, an older Jimny managed to post a lap time of 1:12.056. What it lacks in straight-line speed, the Jimny makes up for in tenacious grip. In the video at the top of the page, you can see the little off-roader cornering as if it's on rails, with minimal body roll despite the narrow and tall body.
To put that time into perspective, we witnessed a tuned version of the GR Yaris lapping the circuit in 58.573 seconds last year. That's considerably quicker than the modified Jimny. Still, when you consider the little Suzuki wasn't built with performance in mind, the team at Rainbow Auto has done extraordinary work to get to this point.
It's lovely to see these quirky sub-cultures of the car world get the attention they deserve. Sadly, we don't get the Jimny in the United States, but that may change with the introduction of the five-door iteration and the upcoming electric variant.
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