Picking Variety At The Nismo Festival
An Open Top & A Race Car

After getting an overall view of this year’s Nismo Festival, I thought I’d take a closer look at the most diversified selection of cars that I could, given that all I had to choose from were Nissans! To kick things off it was Tomei’s all-new demo car that I came across first thing in the morning. Following on from their KA24-powered USDM 200SX that we saw earlier this year, they chose to prepare yet another S-chassis – this time an S13 convertible of all cars.


Quite an interesting choice, but one that certainly got everyone taking notice.


This engine is what a well-sorted, yet basic SR20 setup is all about, nothing fancy but running all the right bits. The internals remain unchanged so it’s still on its stock 2.0L bottom end, but there’s a Tomei Arms M7960 turbo kit mounted on a Tomei Expreme manifold to boost output.


Making the most out of the higher boost are some 256-degree cams with 11.5mm lift on both the intake and exhaust, rocker arm stoppers and a metal head gasket. The necessary fuel upgrades have also been taken care of, as well as a straight-through titanium Extreme exhaust.


Tomei aren’t saying how much power the car is making, but 380-400hp would be a pretty accurate guess. Add the Tomei LSD this open-top S13 is fitted with and I’m sure it makes for a pretty fun little drifter.


I’m going for variety with this Spotlight-O-Rama, so with all the race cars sitting around in the pits I thought I’d choose one and do a quick walk-around. So how about this year’s GT500 Championship winner – Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda’s R35 Motul/Autech GT-R.


Japanese GT racing used to be so cool, because up until around the year 2000 all the cars were roughly related to their road-going counterparts. Of course, that’s no longer the case, but despite that you can’t really ignore their capabilities. This year’s GT500 cars have been made to conform to 2017 DTM regulations, so a lot has changed – primarily the engine with all three manufacturers running 2.0L turbo four-cylinder motors.


The NR20A powering the Motul car outputs close to 600hp, and thanks to a curb weight of 1,020kg and the intricate DTM-dictated aero, it can post times well under 1 minute 40 seconds at Fuji Speedway. DTM regulations also mean the cars can now run carbon discs, something they weren’t previously allowed to do in Super GT.


The aero treatment is pretty complex, but it’s already been changed from the 2014 base car that we saw unveiled at last year’s Nismo Festival. Like the engines, aerodynamics are something that teams are allowed to develop and modify themselves, which is where the competitive edge comes from in this class.


One of the most evident additions are the swan neck stays for the rear spoiler, which not only look great but are much better at eliminating drag than conventional mounts.

Street, Followed With Vintage Metal

I couldn’t possibly turn down a closer look at this Championship Blue BCNR33, as it looked almost unsuspecting siting there in front of one of the many display booths. I say unsuspecting, because aside from a rather large intercooler, the removed mesh that usually protects it and bronze RAYS Volk Racings TE37s, it looked quite stock.


Yeah, wrong! I walked past it later on in the afternoon and thankfully its bonnet was lifted up allowing us all to gawk at the serious power-making hardware that had been thrown at it.


With a 2.8L stroker kit, HKS V Cam and a large Trust T88 turbocharger, this thing will be good for 800 solid horses with plenty of mid-range aggression to play with. The single turbo route is becoming ever so appealing…


A nice twin-flap rear wing to get a little more functionality out of the stock spoiler and that is all that was needed.


Oh yes, and I can’t possibly forget the massive exhaust outlet – a must for helping keep stray cats around the neighbourhood nice and warm.


We’ve seen a drift car, a race car and an obviously very capable street car, so it was some vintage metal that I was after next. And right at the end of the paddock is where I found a bit of a rarity. Okay, so it isn’t a GT-R, but it’s not too often that you see a four-door Kenmeri.


What made this GT-R-inspired example even more special is that the signature squared-off rear fender outline was hidden by the addition of the Works fenders. It really helps transform the entire profile of the car, and mated to the vented front additions makes for a damn good looking machine, don’t you think?


Seeing the car was on display at the Panasport booth, it was sitting on a fresh set of 3-piece Racing/G7-C8Rs wrapped in super-sticky 205/50R15 Yokohama Advan A050s.


The GT-R touches continued right the way to the back with the fender badging and the ducktail spoiler.


Under the bonnet it was L-series perfection with a nicely built unit running triple Weber carbs.


My last pick isn’t a car per se, but an engine – HKS’s 4.1L version of the VR38DETT to be precise. Sitting right in front of the Kamikaze-R that HKS Technical Factory built in collaboration with Varis, it represents a big change for this year: the fact that Nismo/Nissan finally allowed tuners to show off their modified R35s and the relevant tuning parts.


I can’t even begin to fathom what the restriction (which came into play in 2007 when the R35 GT-R was released) was all about, but I’m just glad that it’s now a thing of the past, as I suspect all the tuners that make a living out of these new GT-Rs are too.


In Japan, HKS is the parts manufacturer of choice when you need to up the power on your VR, and this unit was sporting all their main gear. On top of a bottom end upgrade, the engine also included HKS’s larger volume intake plenum (or surge tank in JDM speak).


To keep tuners from swapping out the stock turbos for upgraded items, Nissan had IHI cast the stock turbine side of the blowers in one-piece with the exhaust manifold. A lot of good that did, as aftermarket upgrades were on the market within six months of the R35 going on sale. The GTII turbo kit is good anywhere up to 1,200hp when mated to the right sort of supporting parts, and what really makes it special is the fact that it’s been created with full symmetry in mind.


That’s important, as aside from looking damn good, it allows all the other parts like the down pipes and wastegates to package nicely, as there isn’t that much free space to play around with down there. The only real drawback in my opinion is that unlike the RB26, you can’t see all these nice tasty little bits and pieces. I suppose it’s good if you prefer the stealthy look!

That’s all from the Nismo Festival but not quite it from Japan. This month is jam-packed full of cool events like the Tsukuba Super Battle and the Mooneyes Hot Rod and Custom Show – not to mention the most important hill climb event Japan has ever seen. Off-season? In Japan? Yeah, right!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I absolutely love that shot of the VR38 in front of the R35! I feel like I could stare at the Kenmeri all day soaking in the details.


eh, that last bit made me dislike the GTR a bit. It seems like Nissan didn't want anyone to touch their little beauty, and they did some conniving to make sure of it. Reminds me of that Ferrari FXX, yeah.... let me drive my car when you tell me i can or can't....


That r33......wow. Nice double take on the engine bay!


My favorite Skyline will always be the R34, but the R33 is growing on me. Especially in blue.


d_rav Yeah, there's something elemental about a single-turbo straight-six. One cylinder bank, one head, one intake, one exhaust, one turbo. 

Such a clean, elegant configuration.


That Kenmeri though...
Love all the car porn but that beauty steals the show.


That S13 convertible is awesome! Very cool.

Wing ≠ spoiler though. *Face palm*


It's post like these, that make me come back to this page again and again since it's debut. I want to thank not just you Dino but the whole Speedhunters team for the experiences and memories you gave me over the years. I just recently bought the book bundle with #MaximumAttack and #featureCars01, I'm sorry that's the only way I can support you guys right now. I would have loved to buy the other two volumes, too. But I didn't have the money for it. I also want to thank you for these books they are more than I could have asked for. With best greetings here from Germany, I'm just hoping this site will still be existent in many years. I wish you the best luck


do people really try and call the intake manifold a surge tank?


looks awesome to go to plus looking at all the parts you can get or see is mind blowing.


loslogo I'm curious about this as well. If they do that's pretty dumb, since a surge tank is actually a part on a car designed to prevent a fuel pump from being starved of fuel. Maybe we're both wrong though and they are using it to route air to their blown diffusor spoiler wings. JDM FTW! *face and palm have become one*


loslogo Yeah that is just wrong. Hard to believe a top company like HKS would let this anomoly slip through? Unless it's got something to do with intake pressure "surge" from the throttle body closing and evening out the intake delivery to the cylinders?


I'm gonna take that HKS VR enigine and rip the I4 out of that GT500 car, Kano-style.


Any coverage of the jtcc primera p10 and sunny b14?


Oompa loslogo  I've come across this before, have a look at the Toda surge tank that accompanies their K-series throttle bodies, its basically a Carbon intake manifold.


loslogo Could just be bad English. Not uncommon in Japan. But better than your average Americans Japanese.


maxvr6 Oompa loslogo So the bottom line is it's not a surge tank, it's an intake manifold.


I'd love to see a feature of a GT500 car with all those sophisticated aero details.


Smiggins loslogo yeah good point, that's probably whats going on


Love that Blue R33!


Physalisfresser Thanks for your ongoing support Richard! It's much appreciated - best wishes from the whole Speedhunters team!

Gianluca FairladyZ

That championship blue R33! That's how dreams look like... Please feature that car..!!!! Mamma che bestia!


Is it me or everyone trying to run a "spec" series race nowadays...? and someone please tell diamond star and subie to get back rallying...its just terrible with them gone..


LavarBowers Diamond Star = Chrysler & Mitsubishi collaboration.  If you're going to refer to Mitsu, refer to them correctly.


love the convertible.  Not super keen on welds on the intercooler pipe though :-(


only two posts about the nismo fest? and this post only composed of two chapters? wtf?