While I was strolling the grid for the Nürburgring 24 Hour Classic — which is actually a still-impressive three-hour endurance race — I came across something I wasn’t expecting at all.
Imported from Japan to the UK, I present you Jason and Louise Kennedy’s tribute to the ’92 Tooheys 1000 Bathurst winner, a stunning R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R that’s clearly not being babied in the slightest.
This particular car was originally built by Ron Kidell of RK Tuning in Essex, UK – whose earlier R32 GT-R race car featured on Speedhunters way back in 2012 – who took great care to match as much as he could to the original Gibson Motorsport car.
While it certainly would have been fantastic to take a look under the hood at the one-off air intake (which was made to mimic the Winfield car) and what Jason later described to me as an engine which was built to “mild race specification”, I didn’t think that the owners’ final moments on the grid before race start would be the best time for this level of prodding. However, you can see some photos here of the build on the RK Tuning website.
Jason shared via email that when he and Louise got their hands on the Skyline it still had a full leather interior and other road car features that bit the dust in short order. Jason says that under his ownership he “converted the car into a full Group A race car, fitting all the safety equipment, oil coolers, improving the suspension, and exhaust system.” Jason also continued Ron Kidell’s homage to the Skaife/Richards Bathurst winner by modelling the dash, roll cage, and foot plate off what the original car ran.
Jason and Louise bought the car in part to race it in the N24 Classic, after years of admiring the R32’s Group A racing success in Japan and Australia. As with most period racers, AWD has been retained but the four-wheel steering has been ditched. I’m sure there are countless other details that are quite interesting, but with the race start imminent I counted my blessings and moved on.
Jason and Louise say they were blown away by the enthusiasm that their car had at the N24 Classic, which is absolutely dominated by German makes and other European cars. Personally, the R32 Skyline has always been a favorite of mine, and even in standard factory trim I think they look fantastic. But add in some race-bred parts and the passion and dedication of a pair of classic racing enthusiasts and you have something quite special.
The Winfield throwback is just the icing on the cake.
Trevor Yale Ryan
For those who wanted to know where it came in the race, it exited the race after 4 laps at the 1hour mark with a fastest lap 2+ mins slower than the leaders in 911s and E30s. Love to see that in action!
Nice car, but does a livery and airbox really constitute a replica? Perhaps it’s more a homage than replica?
It’s also worth noting that the Gibson cars shared very little with the Japanese Group A cars, with a huge amount of local development.