The 'kei' vehicle specification is unique to Japan, where they serve an important role in everyday life. While the engine displacement and body size are kept to a bare minimum, there are a number of models that make this part of their charm while exhibiting formidable performance.
One such car is the Daihatsu Copen, a convertible with real sporting potential. The second generation model, which debuted in 2014, features a robust 'D-Frame' body structure housing a 3-cylinder turbo engine with variable valve timing. It also features the playful 'Dress-Formation' system which allows body panels to be easily removed and replaced to change the look of the car.
Using this as a base, the COPEN RJ Vision Gran Turismo endeavoured to explore the full potential of kei cars. RJ stands for 'Racing Jacket' referring to the almost armour like exterior which embodies the anticipation of racing victory.
The car actually looks like a warrior. Equipped for battle with its oversized front under spoiler, rear wing and diffusers, and with the fender flares increasing its width, it gives off an incredibly striking image.
The engine displacement is still 660 cc as per kei regulations but the boost pressure has been increased to its very limits to achieve 146.9 BHP/20.6 kgfm. Additionally, the body weight has been reduced to just 600 kg giving the car the racing potential to stand up to sports cars with much bigger engines.
In the 1960s, Daihatsu competed in motorsports with their classic P-5. The COPEN RJ Vision Gran Turismo is an aspirational work that carries on their fighting spirit.