Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hot Wheels presents American Touge 2 Report

Our second American Touge shoot was a great success for us. I want to thank all of the tuners that brought out their cars, our sponsors, people that came out to watch, the media and everyone else that helped make it happen. It would not have been possible with out you!
After our first shoot last December we really received a lot of e-mails from shops around the US asking us when we would have another one. Earlier this year, we decided to go ahead but have an open casting call to give as many tuners a chance to have Keiichi Tsuchiya drive their cars. Out of about 100 cars, we narrowed it down to 40 cars. All 40 cars showed up with a total of about 200 people. Most people were extremely happy with the event. That they had Keiichi Tsuchiya and Yasuyuki Kazama drive their cars and they got to meet the two top level drivers. Just seeing the fans happy makes it all worth while for us to come all the way from Japan to do a US shoot.
On the other hand it is a video shoot and not an event so the video shooting has priority, making some people who participated unhappy. For instance, we only have so many video equipment so we have to choose which cars will get on board cameras. We equiped as many cars as possible during a short period of time. But in addition to appearing in our video, the tuners that brought their cars will for sure get exposure through the other media which were on site. Super Street, Modified, Import Racer, C16 and Jtuned were all there to shoot photos. Those are the top magazines in the industry so the tuners are killing a couple birds with one stone(coming to American Touge 2). But my biggest regret were the tire rules. All of the confusion caused on site was totally caused by the lack of preparation and lack of acknowlegement on how serious the situation would be. It is completely our fault. In Japan we don't have any written Touge Showdown rules since it is not a sanctioned race nor event. It is just a segment in our video that showcases top level street cars by the hands of our drivers. We just tell the tuners to bring street radial sports tires. We do not have slicks, semi slicks, nylon ply street legal tires. We don't have "competition" DOT approved tires. Since we didn't have time to narrow down the make and spec of which tires are Ok and not. We just left it to " street legal, steel belted radials" which caused all of the confusion. We were not intending to turn people back if they brought slicks in the first place. We were willing to give people chances if their car broke down. It is not a competition, it is a video shoot.
That all said, I appreciate that everyone cares greatly about who wins. It is awesome that each tuner takes enormous pride in how their vehicle performs at our shoot. We as producers need to take more of that into account and take this entire project as more than just a "video shoot" we plan each year. We intend to do that.
One most learn from each mistake and for our next video shoot, we will have to make the rules and judging process more clearer. We will also probably need to designate which tires are OK and which are not.
It is a learning curve for all of us. When we first started out we wanted to simply bring entertaining car content from Japan. Now our goals are to produce entertaining car content which involves both the US and Japan. Integration always has glitches in the beginning. We will work hard to get rid of the bugs to truly produce an international version of Best Motoring and Hot Version to successfully make something that makes everyone involved in it happy and proud.

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