I'm going to jump right into it here with the Nismo Festival coverage and get into a little detail with some of the main cars that were on display in the pits and paddock, before I move onto some tuner cars and more action in the next Part. I decided to start off with the JRZ FIA GT1 R35, the car that Michael Krumm took to a championship win this year. The GT-R has really been making a name for itself this year in international motorsport, adding to the tradition of the legendary badge. Nismo couldn't be happier!
This is the impressively compact VK56DE, the 5,552 cc V8 that powers the rear wheels in the GT1 GT-R. The engine is able to pump out 600 HP and a monster 480 lb/ft of torque. The sound emanating from those titanium headers is as un-GT-R as you can get. But seriously, who cares when it can win races!
Compared to a Super GT GT500 R35s the cockpit is surprisingly big, in fact almost as factory except that the dashboard and center console have been extended to allow the driver to sit in line with the B-pillar.
But as interesting as full-blown race cars are, this is the GT-R I haven't been able to stop thinking about since seeing it. I'm over the moon that Nismo have realized the R32/R33/R34 is still very much the car enthusiasts want to modify, despite the age of the range.
Their new Clubman Race Spec BNR34 runs some pretty awesome new gear, like these dry-carbon turbine inlet pipes and intercooler piping kit, as well as a dry-carbon version of the stock airbox. I've literally dreamt about these bits over the last couple of nights! I'd really hate to guess how much Nismo Omori Factory would want for bits like these. This R34 runs Nismo's R2 complete engine, good for over 450 HP.
R35 brakes conversion costs a cool ¥1 million.
The dry-carbon Nismo Z-tune front GT fenders and bumper are back in production (at a considerable premium over the FRP items) and fitted to this car.
I waited a good ten minutes to get a somewhat clear shot of the san-yon. It was probably the one attracting the most attention in the paddock behind the main grandstands. With Nissan/Nismo still refusing to allow tuners to bring modified versions of the R35 to the Nismo Festival, I guess it's not surprising interest in these older models has sparked back.
Nismo's RC race car packages, which are available for purchase for those thinking of entering Gr.N or similar race series, were on display. The first is the 370Z, yours for a cool ¥12.5 million ($160,785 thanks to the unrellenting strength of the ¥).
The car is fully stripped, sports a welded-in roll cage, race seats, race suspension and brakes, a 95L fuel cell and a lightly tuned engine good for 355 HP.
For those with a little more budget the R35 RC is the perfect choice. ¥20.8 million ($267,535) will buy you a car similar to the GT-R that Nismo raced in the Tokachi 24h race a few years back. The engine delivers more than 485 HP…
…and on top of the stripped and prepped chassis and interior, Nismo tried to shave weight off the RC by fitting a carbon fiber front bumper, hood, trunk lid and wing. The VR38 does sip fuel at a faster rate than the VQ37 so a 120L fuel cell helps give more adequate race range.
I love checking out the older Skylines of course like this 1989 Gr.A R31 Reebok Skyline…
…and the legendary BNR32s. Every year the cars are rotated so while the Taisan R32 was resting up on the third floor of the pit building in the Skyline Historical display, the Impul Calsonic…
…and Zexel cars were driven out on track.
What a sight!
A nice line up of Super Taikyu Z racers.
And on the subject of Zs, while I was shooting in the pits I noticed that the Z-Car Challenge tuned car race was about to start. This is a very popular series in Japan and it kind of brought back memories of the old tuner GT-R races they used to run at the Nismo Festival 10 or so years ago. Wonder why they stopped that?
Maybe because we should be thinking of the future? The Leaf Nismo RC electric race car also made an appearance. It is quite an impressive package and props to Nismo for proving that electric cars can be fun. However, with a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque chassis, lightweight body…
…extremely wide track and sticky Bridgestone RE11S semi-slicks I think it's a little bit too grippy for the 110 HP the standard Leaf motor provides. The running gear has all been moved to the back of the car transforming it into a RWD. Under full throttle it's good for 20 min of racing. A good start I guess and as battery technology develops, definitely something to watch out for in the future. Needs 500 HP though!
The Mola S Road GT-R is the car that Italian driver Ronnie Quintarelli and Masataka Yanagida won the GT500 Super GT Championship with this year. What a beast of a car.
I found the turbine-like baffling the side exit exhausts run rather curious. Wonder if this creates a vortex to help suck exhaust gasses out of the system for better response?
The Motul R35 of Satoshi Motoyama and Benoit Treluyer.
As a comparison to the JRZ FIA GT1 GT-R at the beginning of the post this is what the all-carbon Super GT R35s look like inside. It's a bit tighter and the width of that sill hints at just how much wider these cars are than the street car their are "based" on. Stunning machines.
Before the R35 it was the Z33 that ran victorious in GT500.
This NP35 was raced in the 1992 All Japan Sports Prototype Championship. It runs a VRT35 3.5L V12 and screams like an F1 car! Would be so cool if the JSPC still existed.
It's on to a few more classic race cars, tuner cars and action in Part 2. Don't miss it!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare