Unicorse is the name of a Japanese company and a racing team. The name has been derived from the Unicorn, a mystical creature with a single horn that fights both harshly and beautifully on the front line when war breaks out.
In 1993 negotiations started with Alfa Corse on building a new type of vehicle for the Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC) for the following year.
In 1994 and 1995 Unicorse participated in the JTCC with an Alfa Romeo 155 TS Gr. D2 1994 "Silvers tone", which was upgraded to 1995 "Evoluzione" specifications for the 1995 season. Drivers: Giambattista Busi and and Yasutaka Enoi. One highlight was Giorgio Francia testdriving the car in November 1995 at the Fuji Speedway.
About this era the following article has been published on the official website of Unicorse.
Unicorse's Participation with JTCC
In July 1994, we received Alfa Romeo 155 D2, which had a strong yet sophisticated chassis, stable suspension, excellent break control and a powerful engine. Kenji Okawa, now a managing director, was a team manager at only 20 years of age. He joined the Saloon Car class with Team KenZi at the JTCC (Japan Touring Car Championship).
However, our team could not handle the technology of 155 D2. Therefore, we had no choice but to dismiss the Japanese mechanics and hire Italian mechanics to handle the vehicle.
Kenji had visited the Alfa Corse in Italy and sought advice from Mr Giorgio Pianta. The Italian mechanics had showed their capability in handling the vehicle. But Kenji was not satisfied that the team had achieved its full potential. He always feels, In order to win the race, there should be a balance of the car, the driver, the engineers, the mechanic, the facilities and the management. On top of that, it requires a strong combined concentration.
JTCC 8th Event
We would like to give details on the races on 24th and 25th September 1994. In the first heat of the 8th event, Busi, the driver, met strong competition. At the first corner just after the start, the car of Anthony Reid, an Opel, spun round and made the race unpredictable. Busi was pulled down to 8th position by this incident. But Alfa Romeo is famous for the speed and came back to 5th position by the middle of the race. However, we faced an electrical problem and lost one of the cylinders in the engine. We finished 14th in the first heat.
This electrical problem was fixed in the interval and we looked forward to the second heat. Busi went into 7th position on the stretch and increased his position subsequently. He was in 3rd position at the 10th round.
Unfortunately, the tyres were at their limit at the end of the first half with little to choose between the cars. Having 5 rounds left the Colona by Mr Sekiya overtook and Busi came in 4th.
At present Unicorse arrange the upgrade of street cars (primarily Alfa Romeo 156, but also 155 and 145) based on their racing experience to let their customers experience the racing spirit (e.g. engines, computers, body reinforcement et cetera).
The family that founded Unicorse, still owns the car. They also owned an Alfa Romeo 155 GTA but it was sold to an Italian car collector in 2008.
A 1/43 scale model of the 1994 car is currently being sold by HPI-Racing.
1994: Giambattista Busi driving Unicorse's 155 TS Gr. D2 1994 "Silverstone" in the JTCC.
Two original Alfa Romeo 155 touring cars from Unicorse: 155 TS Gr. D2 1994 "Silverstone" upgraded to 1995 "Evoluzione" spec., followed by 155 GTA. Peculiar: Michelin livery on the 155 GTA instead of Pirelli. Photo courtesy of Toshiki Kobayashi (Argos).
1. Unicorse: History of Unicorse; 2008.
2. Registro storico Alfa 155 Superturismo: Statistiche Totali v100331; 31 March, 2010.