Cruising The Fukuoka City Coast In A Carbon GT-R

Kazushige Sakamoto has built a few wide-body, full dry carbon fibre Skyline GT-Rs in his time, each unique to the next. From body kit configuration, engine choice and tuning, all the way to drivetrain layout and running gear, everything has been carefully selected and assembled.

The BNR32 GT-R I’m about to share with you is absolutely incredible. And the crazy thing is, this isn’t even the best car in the Garage Active fleet.


Back in 2020, Mark showed us Sakamoto-san’s red dry carbon GT-R with its naturally aspirated RB30 and rear-wheel drive configuration. And during my recent visit to Garage Active, I gave you a quick peek at his blue dry carbon GT-R with its 2.7L RB26 engine and HKS GTIII-5R turbocharger. That car has run a 9.99-second quarter mile at Fuji Speedway in full street trim, air suspension and all.


Those are just a couple of many carbon BNR32s that Garage Active have built. There are three more generations of GT-R for us to explore yet too, but let’s save those for another time…


I’m pretty terrible when it comes to details. My cousin on the other hand can bang on for hours about a fine wine or whiskey and how each bottle or barrel differs from the next. He’s able to explain the vintage, the notes and which cheese is best paired with each bottle. I’m happy just drinking a few of his head-sized glasses and enjoying the buzz. So it’s no surprise that I thought this particular GT-R was the one we saw at SEMA last year.

Yes, I naively thought there was only one full carbon Garage Active BNR32, and that it had safely made its voyage back to Japan. However, the 2021 SEMA Show car is still in the States.


To be fair though, from the outside the two GT-Rs do look pretty similar, except for the rear spoiler choice. The devil, however, is in the detail.


Like so many builds, it’s the engine and drivetrain that pushes the two cars into completely different directions. Garage Active seems to have a configuration for every imaginable driving scenario. Do you want something refined and super-responsive as a daily driver? Do you want the same daily usability with occasional track duties? Or maybe you just want an all out pop-your-eyeballs-out-of-their-sockets mega-zilla to tear up the drag strip?


Just like pairing a fine wine with Friday night’s beef bourguignon, Sakamoto-san will select each component to complement your driving desires.


Of course, none of this comes easily and you can expect massive hemorrhaging from the seams of your pockets. How much? Well, if you fancy cruising around in a full dry carbon GT-R, you can expect to pay upwards of US$75,000 for the base car and transformation. That’s not including any mechanical work mind you, and only if you buy the car in Japan. The dry carbon kit alone starts at US$30,500.


Throw in a fully rebuilt engine with an OS Giken OS-88 sequential transmission (not fitted to this particular car) and you’re fast approaching secondhand Porsche 997.1 GT3 values here in Japan.


While an R32 GT-R and 997 GT3 are apples and oranges in basically every possible way, it gives you an idea of the build quality you get from a Garage Active car. It also reminds us of the outrageous market prices GT-Rs are fetching.


In the same way that a Singer 911 is like a brand new, modernised 964, these Garage Active GT-Rs are completely reimagined from the inside out. And if you thought the carbon fibre was cool, it’s just as good under the hood.


This is a fully overhauled RB26 with full HKS internals and an HKS GTIII-SS twin-turbo setup for fast street response. The stock configuration, dated as it is, has optimal tuning management care of an HKS F-CON V Pro3.4 ECU. I love the black crinkle paint and the aluminIum tower bar.


Cruising around the coastal roads east of Fukuoka City, the car has a definite sleeper vibe. But once we hit the open roads and the sunset started to reflect in the black carbon weave, it came alive. Its presence is pretty menacing, even without a rear wing.


Of course, the duck tail probably has just as much, if not more aerodynamic effect as a stock GT-R spoiler, but who’s really taking downforce measurements on the street? Maybe this particular build is meant for someone a bit more grown up than me.


As the sun went down, the sky lit up and the danced off the carbon weave, and I promptly forgot to take any shots of the interior. I can tell you this though, it is lavish. A full re-trimmed leather interior, Garage Active emblems embroidered into the stock seats, brand new carpets and various Garage Active original parts throughout.


Now, it’s not quite Singer and it’s not quite GT3 either, but then, interior fuss is not really why people buy a GT-R. People want a GT-R for that engine, paired with that all-wheel drive system, those boxed arches and because, it will always and forever be ‘Godzilla’.


I get the feeling that other Japanese GT-R specialists have their sights set on big-power street and track machines, and while the same can be said for Garage Active, there is definitely a more grown up, sophisticated tuning option available here. Sakamoto-san presents an icon, distilled into a menacing essence of its image. It may not be the full full dry carbon car I was expecting, but this car still blew my expectations away.

On our return to Garage Active HQ, Sakamoto-san agreed to fire up some of his slightly more intense builds. But that’s a story for another time…

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_



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What at beauty!


"The dry carbon kit alone starts at US$30,500" Isn't that the price for normal wet carbon kit, not the dry(pre-preg) carbon?


Blimey, that actually sounds cheap to me...... might as well be $300k though as I can't afford either, but for what you get it sounds like a bargain.


You and I both


The shots half shaded half under sunlight are epic.


Beautiful car & nicely balanced between understated looks, increased power & handling improvements.

How much weight does the carbon fiber package shave off a stock GT-R?


Each build is different and I'm not sure if even Sakimato-san has the numbers. Basically your replacing rear quarters, doors, boot and roof. The bonnet and front fenders are already aluminum so not sure if there's much weight there. Even if the Carbon Fiber saves you 50-80-100 kg, some of that is soon lost with a roll cage and air suspension. If the car is purely for track, stripped out ect then the savings are positive, for a road car the benefits are probably slightly less!


Whole door? That would be impressive. Or is it just the outer door skin?


SAME, I'd like to know the weight difference.

With the hype and all the "full carbon" headlines surrounding these cars lately, I foolishly hoped they had engineered a full carbon monocoque. I was disappointed to learn they were just re-skinned.


Beautiful photography as always. And the subject matter is definitely helpful! I agree, the 'two faced' shot under the awning is by far my favorite.


Such a clean build!
A nice R32!


The gunmetal r32 is the cleanest thing I've ever seen


"Definite sleeper vibe"

in a legendary 2 door awd sports car that looks better than when it came out of the factory
with a titanium exhaust
a fresh set of wheels
glossy black street tires
....and a full carbon body.

What's *not* sleeper vibes? Can we draw the line at pro mods? How about top fuel? F1?


Damn. Now I am going to be scrolling classifieds, searching auctions, and dreaming about a carbon skinned daily utility vehicle that doubles as a time machine for analog driving.


Hey Toby, thank you for the feature, I own a GTS-t and enjoy the coverage of the skylines, but i would like to ask are there any tuner's like this that focus on Subaru's or Subaru only specialist' in Japan that you can perhaps find and cover some cool 2015+ wrx's or sti's. Thanks.


Hey Mahesh, there are plenty of Subaru specialists, I'm not too sure about modern Subaru's though! let me do some digging and see what I can find.

Toyota Lancia boy

Ok so this or 2nd hand nsx or LFA?


Love this car. Love it.


I got to thinking how much this all costs in the name of weight reduction and I have to look at this as a bit of a gimmick...especially when you factor in the air suspension. To go so crazy with carbon fiber and then skimp on the suspension side is a bit of a backwards way to build, but that has become very common in the age of the internet where people build for publicity instead of performance.

I like it, but I think it is a bit corny when you look at the value for money. Not my personal cup of tea but I do like it.


This is very true, but you have to remember these are demo cars, which means they’ve basically thrown all their products at it as a way to showcase what they have to offer.
I’m the same as you, I wouldn’t put air suspension in a lightweight full carbon car. But other customers may be that way inclined!


Oh my bad...I didn't realize this was a demo car. Yeah that's expected in a car of this type then. You want to show off products and what your company can do so now this makes a lot of sense. Ok. Nevermind.

Now that I know that--what a badass car. Love 32s and one with carbon fiber everywhere is appealing!


As much as I want power, with my R32 i'm really starting to lean towards the OEM+ look couple bolt on's here and there and just a bump of power from stock.


Perfection! Garage Active are setting a benchmark for Skyline GTR’s which is great to see. Openly I am a big fan of their focus on aesthetics and not just performance - The package.


Magnificent report, this car is a jewel !! Thank you very much for these beautiful pictures. Long live Speedheuter.


Magnificent report, this car is a jewel !!
Thank you very much for these beautiful pictures.
Long live Speedheuter.


The HKS GTIII-SS turbos as far as I can tell are the smallest bolt-on turbos you can get without a ceramic turbine. The turbine is somewhere between a stock turbo and the original GT-SS for A/R. For a build that's targeting maybe 450 crank hp tops it just doesn't make sense to do a single turbo, especially if the goal is a shaken-friendly build for the street.