You can't really question the Skyline GT-R's heritage in Japan. Its success in racing throughout the decades has elevated it to an almost mythical status. To get a true idea of what the GT-R represents these days there is no better way than to drop by one of the numerous meets organized by the equally abundant clubs out here. We went to one of the biggest gatherings ever, organized by the guys at GT-R Magazine. The venue was none other than Fuji Speedway, a circuit that has seen GT-Rs rule triumphantly since the '70s.
As we made our way into the paddock, nothing could have prepared us for what we saw next: hundreds of GT-Rs, neatly lined up as far as the eye could see. Such a sight would have been enough to make your average car-nut go weak at the knees, but on top of all the owner cars the folks at GT-R Magazine invited some of the better known tuners in the scene. With names like HKS, Mine's, Midori, Tomei, Trust and many others, we knew right then that this would be one hell of a day out! Where to start is usually the first question you have to ask yourself as your vision is continuously bombarded with mouthwatering machinery. We began by checking out all the parked-up Skylines just to see what the owners brought to this meeting. This is where the rarities pop up, like the Autech Version four-door R32. This particular car was powered by a PLASMA-RB26DE, a naturally aspirated version of the RB26DETT. Putting out only 220 PS at 6800 rpm and 25 kgm at 5200 rpm, it was nothing special performance wise, especially as it came with an auto-only option. But it is a rare car, and that's what "Skyline otaku" (translation: "Skyline maniacs") like to see at these meets. A couple of Autech R33 four-door GT-Rs were also part of the lineup, a version built in a limited edition run to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Skyline name. Going further back in history it was hard not to drool over the pristine red PGC10 four-door Skyline GT-R powered by its original, and now extremely rare, S20 engine putting out 160 PS. This car, known as the Hakosuka ("hako" for box, due to it's boxy design, and "suka" for skyline) hit the showrooms in February 1969. In October of the following year the two-door KPGC10 version was released. There were quite a few of these on show, but none that we managed to see with the original S20 NA 2.0L straight-six.
As we made our way through the rows of parked Skylines, one particular R32 GT-R stuck out like a sore thumb. This was because it seemed to take up close to double the space of the other cars there, as it was fitted with one of the most extreme widebody kits we've ever seen. The old-school five-spoke wheels made it look like it just came off the track from a 1994 GT race! There were so many R32, R33 and R34 GT-Rs on display that it would take us the whole issue to describe them all. So we'll just let you enjoy the pictures of these race-worthy beasts!
Speaking of racing, Nismo was nice enough to bring the last GT-R to participate in JGTC: the 2003 season winner. It was powered by the same engine that currently propels the 350Zs in Super GT, the VQ30DETT. It was great to see this car once again. Right next to it was Nismo's road-going Z-tune masterpiece, a car that has taken a lot inspiration from the race-spec GT-R. Just look at the front fenders and you'll see what we're talking about. Only 20 are being made. Production of the final cars will be completed in the next few months.
Nismo's own 400R demo car was also present, powered by a 400 PS RB-X built by Raimax. And the line up of hot machinery just kept getting better - like the white Mine's N1-based demo car, probably one of the most well known R's out there. Putting out 600 PS and 60 kgm, it has for years remained the fastest street-spec GT-R out there. Its secret is a highly responsive engine with light-weight components and a shorter final drive that make it explosive in any gear, and at any rpm. As Niikura-san of Mine's told us, this car will be participating in a time-attack event in the U.S. and will be subsequently sold there. It'll be interesting to see who will get their hands on such a special car.
Kobayashi-san of MCR showed his latest creation: a brand-new R34 demo car powered by an HKS 2.8L engine, GT-RS turbines and HKS's Valcon variable valve timing. His inspiration on this project was the Nismo Z-tune, which is why he started the build from a bare shell that was carefully spot- and seam-welded and reinforced. This will be one to watch in the upcoming Tsukuba Lap Battle. HKS Tokyo Service brought the recently rebuilt 2005 and 2006 spec Zero-Rs. We featured both these cars so we're sure you know all about them! Sunline Racing came all the way from Osaka to show off their 2006 Tokyo Auto Salon carbon-bodied GT-R. This is one of the most attention-grabbing cars to wear the "R" badge, that's why we'll bring you a full feature on this ride in the next few months. Also from the Kansai area was the Nagisa Auto R34, one of the fastest open-class GT-Rs at the 2006 Tsukuba Lap Battle. Uchinaga-san from Midori was there with Super GT driver Michael Krumm, who has a close tie with the company and does most of their suspension and chassis set-up.
GT-R specialist reseller Zele International organized a talk show with Super GT driver Satoshi Motoyama as well as Watanabe-san, the father of the R33 and R34 Skyline GT-R. The day drew to a close with a few laps of the soon-to-be F1 circuit by the lucky GT-R Magazine readers who signed up in time for the privilege. Lead by the Nismo Z-tune, it was an awesome sight to see so many Skyline generations on track at the same time. But words can only go so far on how impressive the GT-R was. We'll let the photos do the talking. Let's just hope that the new Nissan GT-R will be on show at next year's meeting!