If you have followed the JDM tuner-verse for the last few decades, then HKS’s Driving Performer is a car you’ll likely be familiar with.
Back in 2006, this was the test-bed and demo vehicle for the V-Cam system, which for HKS was at the core of creating a comfortable yet explosive RB26 setup for the street. I actually ran a story on the R34 Skyline GT-R in 2009.
With RB-series GT-Rs exploding in popularity around a decade after, HKS pulled the R34 out from the depths of their storage garage and used it again for R&D, this time to develop the new lineup of GTIII turbos. Then, a few years later, it helped develop and longevity-test HKS’s current RB28 High-Response complete engine offering.
With close to 25 years of use, this might just be HKS’s longest-serving demo car. However, this is how I found it when I spied the Skyline tucked away in the corner of one of the company’s new warehouses. Could it be the end of the line for this well-known BNR34?
It’s sitting with protective sheets of plastic around the bumper and fenders, and currently missing its engine and transmission.
Of course, the originally-fitted bronze Advan AVS Model 5s were replaced a long time ago, this set of Advan Racing RSIIIs doing the rounds for many years now.
The Robson Leather-clad interior remains, but there are a few items missing around the cabin.
But as I held the key to this legendary car again, I was relieved to hear from the HKS guys that this GT-R is going to be used for another round of R&D.
They couldn’t really tell me what that will involve, but as the RB28 High-Response engine is out, perhaps some other RB-based power-plant is on the cards.
If you recall, last year HKS built a very curious RB26 prototype called ‘Advanced Heritage’. The aim was to inject as much modern tech into the engine, to help owners of neo-classic GT-Rs enjoy them well into the future. An interesting list of technical solutions were adopted, things like vertically-mounted turbochargers for better flow and catalizer efficiency, a dual-chamber intake manifold for increased flow and knock resistance, dual injection and pre-chamber combustion design for more efficient fuel atomization, and an ignition upgrade to boost response and lower emissions.
The goal was 600hp, yet have the engine be able to return 20km/L fuel consumption, which is pretty much a dream for GT-R owners.
Seeing the BNR34’s Getrag 6-speed transmission on the floor, I did wonder if the next RB26 in the car might be mated to a twin-clutch transmission for optimal control.
Whatever HKS are planning on doing with its new RB study and the R34 Driving Performer is bound to help GT-R owners keep running their beloved cars into the future.
I’ll be taking a closer look at the car later in the year when testing is scheduled to begin, but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to more RB-related updates at HKS’s 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon booth later this week.
For now, check out the quick video I shot in the HKS Garage by hitting play above.
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