It’s been a long time coming, but a few days ago the stars aligned and I finally found some time to take the GT-R out for a much needed drive. Not only was I eager to put my new wheels and tyres to the test, but it had been far too long since I had the time to really enjoy a proper touge drive with the R34 with a couple of friends. I’ve been driving many press cars lately, but nothing quite hits the spot like putting your own car through its paces on the right sort of roads.
After an early rise to finish a bit of writing, I managed to get away a little before lunch. The first stop was my local Super Autobacs for a quick oil change (the car does sit a lot of the time, so I try to change engine oil as often as I can), before I met up with a couple of other GT-R enthusiasts at everyone’s favorite rendezvous spot on the Tomei Expressway: Ebina PA. From there we slowly cruised down to Odawara, conserving our fuel for the fun roads, and jumped on the Toyo Tires Turnpike where we met a third member for this rather impromptu afternoon drive. With temperatures in the city in the mid-30s it’s always a nice break to head up into the mountains where ambient temp can be 10+ deg Celsius lower. That of course translates to potentially more power too, so it’s a bit of a win-win situation.
After our initial meet the adrenaline kicked in and we spent the next hour driving pretty much non-stop, heading down the Tsubaki-line – a tight second-third gear road – to Yugawara and then back up to the top of the mountains via the Yugawara Parkway toll road. From there it was onto the Izu Skyline, a much faster stretch of pay road that takes you half way down the Izu Peninsula – an unbelievably stunning drive. It wasn’t until we reached the largest rest stop that we decided to take a little break, grab our cameras and start shooting away at our trio of well-thrashed GT-Rs.
By this point I was already pleased with how the new rubber had performed. The wider 295-size had definitely introduced impressive lateral grip – more so than the worn S-tires I was on previously, and especially at the rear when exiting corners. I was getting on the power so early, allowing that Tarzan G-Box I fitted last year at Honjo Circuit to really show its potential. However I did instantly notice an increase in understeer both on corner entry and sometimes mid-way if I got on the power too aggressively. It’s nothing new – this is the same behavior the car has always exhibited on the limit, but it was definitely more perceivable now. I’ve definitely reached the point where my Nismo S-tune suspension and stock-ish geometry is at its limit.
The move to create a more track-oriented set up with the wider wheels and rubber needs to now be taken advantage of, so this will be the next step in Project GT-R’s evolution. That aside however, I enjoyed every second behind the wheel taking the car to safe limits and…
… grinning all the way.
Brakes sure take a beating on roads like these, especially down the Tsubaki-line where by the bottom I had absolutely no more stopping power. I had boiled the fluid so much that with the middle pedal fully depressed I had almost no braking. In fact, I had to take the last three to four corners at 20 km/h, slowing the car with the e-brake. A 15-minute or so pause to make sure everyone caught up was enough to get some pressure back and once we set off again, and with a bit of speed and airflow the brakes returned to 100 percent in a matter of minutes.
After a good hour-plus of driving I had well and truly scrubbed the Neovas and was enjoying the benefit of the sticky compound.
I was accompanied by two very well set up BCNR33s. The silver kouki is regularly tracked at Fuji and Tsukuba so has all the right bits for guaranteed fun.
First up the engine is a 550hp Mine’s Stage 1.5, running forged internals, plenty of head work, cams and HKS GT-SS turbos for optimal response.
R35 GT-R front and rear Brembos, including rotors, make sure it can stop as fast as it can pile on the speed, while Öhlins DFV suspension take care of the handling. The car runs my old wheels, albeit repainted in flat black for a good contrast with the light silver.
The Midnight Purple zenki is built up in collaboration with Three-H…
… running a stroked 2.7L bottom end, GT-SS blowers and plenty of fine-tuned mods like HKS piping and R35 air flow meters.
This is one of the very first GT-Rs in Japan to be fitted with Enkei’s new RS05RR multi-spoke concave wheels, fitted in the same size as my TE37RTs, 18×11-inch, and running 295/30 rubber all round. Back there in the background you can see the metallic orange Z34 that was also part of our group for the afternoon.
This is definitely the new GT-R size wheel to have!
It wasn’t long before everyone took off and left me to my own devices.
With about three hours of light left I had much exploring, driving and shooting to do so I set off in the opposite direction and continued my drive down the Izu Skyline…
… enjoying the deserted roads and sublime grippy surface.
There are plenty of straights to enjoy all the pull your engine has to offer, and you can really pile on the speed if you keep your foot planted.
I stopped in various places along the way for a breather. Driving without A/C (I always turn it off when I drive seriously, I hate knowing the compressor draws power from the engine, even though the pulley is disengaged at 5,000rpm or so) in the middle of Japanese summer can be quite brutal. But once you are at speed with the windows down there is plenty of air to cool you off.
Hey there Mr. big/freaky bug, liking the metallic blue?
With a busy and pretty hectic schedule throughout the year I really cherish these few hours I get with my GT-R every once in a while. It’s man and machine, working together to keep a decent pace through challenging roads.
When I’m driving there are virtually no other thoughts in my head, it’s pure concentration and enjoyment – a little time to myself to do what I love most: drive.
A little further on I noticed a country house with a thatched roof. It was nothing like the massive ones you can see down in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, but still a bit of a rarity for this particular area of Japan and a great place to grab some more shots.
The big bore Tomei Expreme Ti gives so much character to the R34. It fills the cabin with a deep growl that rises to a true supercar-esque scream at high rpm, rewarding rev-matched downshift with massive backfires. On the overrun it never stops crackling and popping. The hotter it gets the more these effects are emphasized and I also noticed it’s roasting my reverse light. I might need to try and polish that yellow gunk off next time I get a chance!
I jumped back in…
… driving all the way to the very end of the Izu Skyline.
From this point you can continue onto normal roads all the way to Shimoda and onto the Pacific coast. Not wanting to deal with slow-motion Japanese traffic however I pulled a U-tuned and headed back…
… stopping once again to let the car breathe a little.
After the brake issue earlier on I made sure to keep…
… an eye on the brake fluid and see if any more had boiled over and got soaked up by the Project µ leg warmer – err, sorry I mean cover. It was all good…
… but the brake dust kept layering onto my once shiny new wheels! That would be something I’d have to address once back home.
With one final shot I jumped back in and drove all the way back to the other end of the Izu Skyline…
… stopping where on clear days you normally get a pretty epic view of Mr. Fuji. Not today day though; with summer thunderstorms brewing in the distance visibility wasn’t that great…
… but in the other direction you could still manage to get a nice view of Sagami Bay looking back towards the Kamakura/Yokohama direction.
This is actually the narrowest point of the Izu Peninsula so if you go about a kilometer further down the road, you can easily see Suruga Bay on the other side, down towards the south of Japan. With the sun starting to set…
… and some pretty big rain drops falling I decided to pack the camera away, jump back in the car and head back to hot and humid Tokyo. I returned completely and utterly satisfied, stress-relieved and already thinking of the next mods that I should consider doing to Project GT-R…
Dino Dalle Carbonare
Tags: AD08R, Advan, Bayside Blue, BCNR33, BNR34, Brembo, Drive, Enkei Wheels, Hakone Turnpike, Izu Skyline, japan, Midnight Purple, mine's, Neova, Nismo, Nissan, Project GT-R, Project µ, Rays, RS05RR, Skyline GT-R, Suruga Bay, TE37, TE37RT, Three H, Toyo Tires Turnpike, Yokohama Tires, Yugawara
o GT-R 34 é demais, pena que não podemos trazer para o Brasil e andar com ele nas ruas, ia apavorar.
Very nice article! Just Grab the wheel and drive (and don't think of other things) is always the best way to cool off :)
I did not see the most beautiful of this car ( BNR34) reeeeeed RYAS TE37 sooooo beautifuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul (T^T)
This is awesome!!! Great BNR34, great pictures, epic views! Buy, man, you need nismo side skirts and rear bumper. I just see, that nismo front is a way too low comapring with other elements...(((
I think the wheels actually look cooler covered in the brake dust. It gives them a nice accent and stops them from popping so much appearance-wise.
This is what I want every single post on Speedhunters to be. Excellent article Dino!
Hope to make it to Japan again sometime so I can chase some GT-Rs down in the mountains in an S2000. :)
can you add this pics to the desktops pleeaaase !! :)
Brilliant! I love your R34. The new wheels are pure class.
P.S. I sent you an email on Opera Performance shop as a feature idea, do they still exist?
18x11?! I run 18x10.5 +15 on my 33 and I seem to have a bit of rubbing on my diverter valve in the front driver side fender...have you or Thomas experienced this? Or any rubbing issues for that matter?Great write-up Dino...I think you've convinced me to rent a car when I get to Tokyo in October and head south for these roads.
gaad! i miss this. just jumping in the car and find a good road and just drive! i have to get my engineswap done. The Civic Wagon isnt usable for stuff like this. i have to get the CRX running.. not quite a GT-R but it is still fun when set up in the right way :)
the owner of that silver r-33 wouldn't be the author of a certain well known http://www.r33gt-r.com/ blog? I don;t suppose you have a similar blog for your car, apart from the website?
Nothing quite like a nice wheel dirtying session. Makes me want to pop out at lunch and empty my petrol tank again. New calipers soon then Dino (and a definite brake fluid change)? I've always been surprised at how small Skyline brakes are as standard... Or brake cooling ducts?
i had a similar day on the weekend, i just bought a set of AD08-Rs for my STi Spec R Hatch, that first heat cycle once you scrub them off is just breathtaking, i have to say mate, you might want to consider a less dusty pad, and change your brake fluid to some motul RBF660, im yet to cook it after smashing the crap out of my brakes at the track.
great read tho, its days like this that make you so happy to own the car, its really what they were built for, hard driving in the mountains to put a grin on your face.
@Nikhil_P Thanks man:)
@LouisSoon Soon....Mr. Soon :)
@twistedsandwich Don't like the skirts to be honest and Nismo doesn't make a rear bumper for the BNR34 :)
I thought that too, it's sort of the same for all wheel, it implies the car has been used properly :)
@andrewhake Thanks man! :)
@ex_driver Sorry man, it's a bit soft so rather not :(
@jah1mon You did? Yes but they are down south I believe
@GregoryStr Awesome! Color? Specs?
@Kunal Arneja Tad bit of rubbing on full lock but I've checked and it's just the plastic inner fender liner. It's worth doing, the 370Z that was with us was rented
@JoneKlemoOverland CRX will be quicker than a GT-R on the tighter bits :)
@DavidRussell1 Yes it's the same detailing-obsessed guy! Used to have a blog years back but these monthly posts is what I do now :)
@Max_Ryde I think they look fantastic myself...
@Max_Ryde Some don't like them that's for sure :)
@SuzyWallace Everything will be addressed :) When developing the R34 the team in charge of the project wanted to go for a bigger brake set up but their request was rejected by the bean counters, it would have been too expansive and raise the price of the car too much so they just used the R33 Brembos, painted them gold and called it a day. :(
@koko san Not sure yet but that would have to be at the top of the list as they are pretty affordable
@Heathrussell I run PFC fluid, Nismo lines and Project µ Titan HC+ pads. It's a super set up but it just boils on tough, high-paced downhill sections as there is a ton of braking and not high enough speeds for cooling. They are fine on track:)
@speedhunters_dino I mean not the whole bumper, but the add-ons at the side of a bumper. Anyway without sideskirts they won't look cool...((
And without any doubt, your GT-R is REALLY handsome! Respect!)))
PS: Me driving lightly tuned HCR32)))) Not the smartest decision to own a such car in Russia, but cool))))
@speedhunters_dino I'll forward the message to you again.
@speedhunters_dino Yeah, it's interesting given how over-specced the rest of the car is! The Evo has bigger calipers than a standard R34... : o Look forward to seeing what you'll put on it though.
@speedhunters_dino thank you!) I I appreciate that)
@twistedsandwich In Russia! Cool! Hat off to you Sir :)
@Kunal Arneja Yep I'm expecting it to get worse once I lower it more. Will keep the heat gun handy :)
@SuzyWallace Meant *expensive not expansive lol. Yep Evos have an awesome brake set up and they weight less. You would have murdered me on those roads hehe