Event>> Sumo Power Open Day

It's not often that a team opens up their doors to the general public, and certainly not with the open arms that greeted people at the Sumo Power open day down in a surprisingly sunny Rye on the south coast of England. The entire factory was completely accessible and the whole range of JR Motorsport and Sumo Power's activities on display, with helpful staff able to talk through everything from CNC machining to the chassis dyno and, of course, the new Nissan GT-R GT1 World Championship weapons. 

In keeping with Sumo Power's core trade, parking came in two flavours: 'Have Japanese' or 'Anything Else'. Japanese got you into the corrals in front of the factory, whereas the latter meant a trip across the road to a parking area next to a rather scary-looking chemical factory. Although I very much came under the latter, I sneaked in before the official opening and parked up next to the catering van. Well, my shabby workhorse Rover was based on a Honda originally, so maybe it sort of counted… 

The car clubs gathered on the hard stand out the front of the JRM factory, as the morning sun burned off the last remnants of the previous night's rain. Around 9am preparations were being finished and the first visitors were arriving: the Mitsubishi crews either being local or not afraid of an early start.

Inside, the demo cars were given a final wipe-down and wheeled into position; each car with a handy sign showing tech details and history.

A healthy line-up of Skylines showed off the full gamut of models, and more added to the collection as the day went on.

Most of the Skylines were relatively stock on the outside except for this bodykit-enhanced R33.

This R32 had a decent amount of carbon going on, with a carbon bonnet and splitter.

Amongst the old favourites were a couple of R35s: the sales of the latest GT-R in the UK are said to be have already dwarfed the total R34 sales over its entire lifetime and certainly I'm seeing a lot more of them on the roads of the UK than previous models. 

JRM's DR30 was also out on display: freshly cleaned and polished, and with a For Sale sign on. After reading the comments on our Speedhunters story on this car last month, surely nothing can be hidden about its providence! I'll have to check and see if it lasted the day without a buyer. Maybe they'd accept a trade-in? It's got all the typical Skyline traits of practicality and power. I can hear Rod sobbing from the other side of the pond…

Out back the Imprezas were lined up, surrounded by the HKS tent, Cosworth showing off some carbon-enhanced engine tech (no photos allowed, strangely), a Sumo Power merch stand and of course a refreshments tent packed with burger opportunities. 

At the end of the Scooby line was the Santa Pod promo truck, showing off their rocket-ship funnycar and a few other dragsters; Sumo Power have a long history at the venue with their involvement in the HKS series. 

Out front the car park changed hands a few times during the day as the different car clubs came and went. The Evo boys won the morning slot. 

Come lunchtime, there was a bit more of a mix of models and colour, especially as a pride of throaty Supras turned up.

One morning interloper was this rickety old Vauxhall, sporting the latest in Sumo Power make-overs. Cane seats and brass dials are the latest thing, apparently. Slightly worrying was the handily-placed fire extinguisher. A hammer I could understand, but an extinguisher made me less keen on taking a ride.

The Vauxhall sported rather aspirational step boards. 

Inside the factory on the mezzanine floor were Sumo Power's crown jewels. The team's pair GT1 Nissan GT-Rs were on display next to a selection of Group N Evo shells and completed chassis, ready to drive away if you were carrying the requisite amount of cash about your person. 

The GT-Rs are big cars, as has been picked up in the comments on previous stories, but I don't think they lack an aggressive stance. Would you say no if given the choice?

I did like the black six-spoke Rays rims used on the 2009 Gigawave GT-R, but these 12-spoke alloy Rays still look good; both the Sumo Power and SRT Nissans are running on the same wheels.

Sumo Power will be flying the flag for Britain in GT1, but the GT-R badge means it a true Anglo-Japanese effort. Nismo will be working hard to make sure the car is at the front come the first race. 

Racing chief Nigel Stepney was present to show off the cars and answer questions: his involvement with motorsport goes back to Formula 1 in the 1970s (which I'm sure he'd prefer I didn't mention). .  

Both the drivers of the lead car were also chatting to the crowds: Scotsman Peter Dumbreck has a long history of racing in Japan, most recently in the Japanese Super GT series. He was joined by German driver Michael Krumm, who raced the Gigawave car last year alongside Darren Turner; Turner has returned to the Aston Martin fold and this year will be driving a DBR9 of rival team Young Driver AMR. 

As the GT1 rules are based on production models, the lines of the car match the road-going version. From the Ricard tests, it looks like low-line cars such as the Ford GT don't even come up to the GT-Rs window line! Visibility in race conditions with these big cars is definitely going to be an issue. 

But from the size of the logo it's pretty clear which bit of the car the team are aiming to show the other teams. Rivals are going to be certain of which team is ahead…

Competing in the global GT1 championship is a pretty big first step into circuit racing, but there's a huge amount of ambition and enthusiasm. Nothing except winning in GT1 is going to be good enough for the team.

It's not all GT1 for Sumo Power and JRM: Group N rallying is still high on the agenda for JRM. Their first overall victory has just been delivered by Jari Ketomaa and Marko Sallinen in the second round of the Finnish Rally Championship.

JRM are still developing the cars, and the outing with reigning Finnish champion Ketomaa continues the work the team put into car for the British Rally Championship last year. If you want a rally car to go fast, put it in the hands of a Scandinavian… Or a Welshman of course: the team will also be out on select rounds of the British season with veteran Gwyndaf Evans at the wheel. 

Up on the lift was this body-shell: the last time I saw it, it was covered up in tin foil and just being unwrapped by a team of Nismo engineers. It's the team's spare GT1 GT-R shell. Let's hope they never have to use it.

Of course all the Sumo Power and JRM cars were immaculately presented, and undergoing constant polishing regimes throughout the day.

Down on the shop floor were the various Sumo Power and JRM drag cars, plus yet more JRM track-day Evos. Looks like some are being wheeled out of the warehouse and prepped up for customers.

There's a rumour that the GT1s could have been in the signature Sumo Power pink of the drag cars: I think they would have looked pretty good! Well, they would have 'stood out' at least…

Lechler were on hand to show off the different custom paint finishes that can be applied in the body shop.

In the spray booth was an example of their glow-in-the-dark paint finish. Spooky.

Sumo's 550bhp Nissan S15 drift car was lined up next to the legendary Fuujin 4WD R33 drag car. Fuujin is undergoing yet more development in 2010, the plan being for it to run 7 second quarter miles with an increase in power to an insane 1200bhp. Stand well back.

In the rear bays were three examples of Sumo Power's street tuning and mod work, with a Supra, S2000 and R34 Skyline on show. Round the corner sat a row of ready-to-buy Do-Luck front lips; add in a Cosworth from their stand, a couple of HKS parts and some Sumo installation know-how and you could be driving home something a lot faster than you arrived in…

The Do-Luck Supra featured in the first months of Speedhunters. It's likely one of the cleanest examples on the planet.

Not a car that'll disappear in the crowd, this waspish J's Racing-enhanced Honda S2000.

Luckily it has removable carbon panels: a practical necessity as the car has to cope with a muddy track to get home.

As if the sound from the engine wasn't enough, this R34's boot was packed out with multimedia gear. If some gangster kidnapping is required, at least the victim isn't going to be short of entertainment with the triple LCD screens, though the output from the quad Kicker S700.4 amps might make things a bit more uncomfortable. 

I'm sure everyone who went down to the open day appreciated the opportunity to have a good look round the Sumo Power/JR Motorsports unit, so well done to all the team who made it happen: it's impossible not to be impressed with the place. It's going to be a big year for the company, and we'll be keeping a close eye on developments here on Speedhunters.

Jonathan Moore

Sumo Power

Sumo Power Nissan GT1 team

FIA GT1 World Championship



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Nice!!!!!!!That JS RACING S2000 is sick!!!The Best!!!


what are the two dics things above the sumo power logo on the gtr in the first picture?


What a freaky way to display their different paint finishes...cool and very unique though. haha

Wish I was there.


I know that Sumo Power are trying to be conservative with the livery, but pink would have been so bad ass. How do you explain that you were passed by a PINK car?



That would be a quick-fill fuel filler cap.


Damm'it, I'm really, really Horny!!!!!!!!



HA at glow in the dark paint, great for street racing at night, give the cops something to look for HAHA


Speedhunters still touting that R30 coupe as a DR30 when it's quite obviously an HR30. Are you sure you read the comments on the last SP story?


Great photos and coverage.


cant wait for this series to start


An amazing amount of JDM imports.

That is an interesting way to show the sample of body colours.


I hope no one buys that old Skyline coupe on the assumption that it's a "DR30" as stated in the article... otherwise they will be very, very disappointed. Some interesting cars otherwise, they sure like to do things different in the UK.


R35 is a WIN!


Kyleler we checked the serial number on the car before the first article was written. Unless NIssan made a mistake when the built the car it's a DR30.


That's a hr30. You clearly didn't check the tags, or they have been swapped over. Do some research.


Without a doubt its a HR30 GT-EX, strange if the chassis number did read DR30.


Rod Chong; I appreciate the time taken to reply, so first up, thanks for that. Secondly. I'd be taking a close look at those tags because you either read them wrong or they've been doctored. Nothing about that car has DR30 to it, from the L20ET in the engine bay to the material in the interior to the rest of the external decals and appearance. What's the chances of getting a photograph of the data plate?

The important thing to note is that the 'D' in DR30 is the letter for the FJ-series engine. I've seen in that bay and that's most certainly not a DOHC 4cylinder. It's the ol' faithful SOHC 6 cylinder.


Bros, it's now a KDR30 cos speedhunters said so


They just had an LMS test and the new gt1 cars are less than half a second faster than the gt2 cars. Not too exciting. Look good at least.


Nice interieur in the JS Racing S2000!! I like it!


beautiful cars, awesome team/shop. my dream is to own a team like that...


kyteler: we got the information from Andy Barnes who restored the car. He is the one that made sure to check the number. But if you like I'll take a picture of the tag next time.


I wasn't able to come this time. Please tell me it's an annual occurrence so I can come next year - is it?


Rod Chong; Ah! This makes me wonder whether it's a long line of ignorance or possibly and more dramatically (cue the DUN DUN DUN) ... DECEPTION! A photo of the tag as well as the chassis stamp that's located about 8 inches to the left on the raised section of firewall should both state HR30. I look forward to seeing those photos. If you like you can contact me on my site and whoever takes said photographs can send them to me directly. I do apologise if it appears I've been a nag or in any way rude in this matter but details are important, I think. Also, if it's a 1983, I might well want it as a stable partner for my 1963 and 1973 Skylines. Though I think finding one locally is bound to be cheaper than getting one ex-UK.


looks like it was a great day out.. love the Honda S2000 and the Do-Luck Supra, Scoobies & Evo's at one venue.. must have noisy as hell when they all fired up and left... good post..


That shop is down right amazing along with the cars. The aerial views and the pictures of the evo's with welded in roll cages are STUNNING! Great write up, thank you for awesome pictures. We hope to have a shop like this some day.


The Do-Luck Supra is bad ass. Enough said!


That GTR just looks mean.