Gregory Formosa: The interesting connection between cars, anime and video games

By J.A. Ackley
May 31, 2023 | gridlife, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, Circuit of the Americas, NATA, NATA Championship, Global Time Attack

Photography Credit: Chad Will/Global Time Attack

Let’s face it: Car culture is as much of a fandom as anime or video games. For Gregory Formosa, he loves all three, and you can see some of his passions with his 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR. Formosa steered that car to a runner-up finish in the Small Tire 200tw during the first round of the NATA Championship, Global Time Attack’s Super Lap Battle at the Circuit of The Americas in February.

[First round of the NATA Championship results]

There are some commonalties,” said Formosa of the three fandoms. “A lot of people get into cars because of a TV show such as Initial D. The big thing that got me into cars was Need for Speed [and] Gran Turismo [video game series].”

A car adorned with anime characters is often referred to as an itasha. Itasha translated from Japanese means “painful” or “cringeworthy.” Formosa has Hatsune Miku on his Evo. Miku is a mascot for voice software, and is also a virtual idol, performing at virtual concerts.

I get a lot of people who want pictures with it,” Formosa said of his car’s wrap.

As far as under the skin of the Evo, Formosa did mostly “bolt-on upgrades”–suspension, brakes. Of the few internal mods, he did have some work done to his dual-clutch transmission.

It’s right about 400 [horsepower] at the wheel,” said Formosa. “It’s just a heavy car. With me in it, it’s 3800 pounds. So, trying to figure out how to take weight out of it while staying within the rules is a challenge.”

Formosa admitted there’s possibly even more speed on the table, and that time to be had rests on his shoulders.

I’m still new to Time Attack,” Formosa said. “I started a few years ago–I’ve done only a couple of events. At CoTA, it’s a tricky track, it’s hard for me to figure out how much speed I can carry before [the car] starts to push.”

Nevertheless, a runner-up isn’t too shabby, and Gregory Formosa is ready for more.

You can catch him and his itasha at the next NATA event, June 2-4, during Gridlife Midwest at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan.

What exactly is NATA? The North American Time Attack Council Championship presented by Grassroots Motorsports simplifies time trials by presenting a format that lets drivers easily collect points in participating events across Global Time Attack, Gridlife and SCCA Time Trials.

[Introducing the NATA Championship presented by Grassroots Motorsports]

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View comments on the GRM forums
boxedfox (Forum Supporter)
boxedfox (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/31/23 11:34 a.m.

He's on to something. That's why there are so many anime and video game themed cars in the SuperGT series in Japan. In the late 2000's, someone at the GTA sat down, looked at the demographics data of their fans and found a strong correlation between people who attend touring car races, people who play video games, and people who buy anime merchandise. Next thing you know, teams are making phone calls and half of the GT300 class grid has some sort of major anime or gaming sponsor on their car.

My personal favorites from the era include:

The Neon Genesis Evangelion EVA-01 / Apple MP4-12C

The DIJON Wako's Endless Corvette Z06R GT3

They may be painful to look at, but it's good for the teams, good for the fans, and a good business decision all around.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
5/31/23 2:17 p.m.

Nice insight.

Here's a series of questions.

How many of us would want to go to SEMA and/or PRI?

I should see a bunch of hands go up.

How about San Diego Comic-Con?

How about E3?

I bet there's a decent chunk of hands for the latter two, too.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/5/23 5:02 p.m.

See also: How many of us saw Akira in the theater during its initial U.S. release? :) 

AClockworkGarage Dork
6/6/23 2:04 a.m.

These ran at Spa and the 'Ring.

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