We're suckers for spy shots of the upcoming Nissan GT-R. Sure, this near-production version looks just like the "concept" shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, but this one is hot-lapping the world-famous Nrburgring. And that has to count as wicked, cool, nasty and totally bitchin'.
The fact that the production monster looks so much like the concept is not a bad thing, as the GT-R's body is almost antiseptically clean and a distinct break from the current non-GT-R Skyline (which we Americans know as the Infiniti G35 Coupe). Particularly attractive is the roofline, which makes a half-hearted attempt at being a fastback before diving down to the trunklid like a proper notch. It does look unique and should be enough to make just the silhouette an intimidating icon.
Naturally, all-wheel drive will play a part, as it has for the GT-Rs that built the legend. What's not known is the exact spec of the powerplant. Rumors have a twin-turbocharged version of the VQ-series V6. Displacement guesses go from 2.6 to 4.0-liters, with the most likely being in the 3.2 to 3.8-liter range. We're plumping for 3.6 liters. Only because that's the displacement of Porsche's current 911 Turbo and this prototype was seen in that car's company, leading us to believe Nissan is using the German wonder weapon as a benchmark.
Take a look at this prototype's tail end for more good news: those are four of the biggest exhaust pipes ever seen on a car headed for production. We assume engine output must be something like 480bhp (what Porsche claims for the 911 Turbo), or more. We're guessing 525bhp, so the GT-R can credibly dominate such brutes as the Ford Shelby GT-500 Mustang (500bhp), the Corvette Z06 (505bhp) and the Dodge Viper SRT-10 (510bhp). And once the aftermarket gets hold of it, don't be surprised if the dyno hits four digits.
Even more mysterious than the final engine displacement is the transmission. The most repeated rumor is a seven-speed, paddle-shift, though we've also heard that eight gears will be part of the package and/or that traditional manual gear selection will be standard/optional. Time will tell.
Goodbye XB Version4.0
The fourth limited production Scion for 2006, the xB Release Series 4.0, marks the end of the line for the xB with a blowout of customization. 2,500 models of this Scion will be produced with Maziora Torched Penny paint, rear bumper protector, Release Series wheel covers, color-keyed taillights, rear spoiler and Modellista speed grille. The Maziora paint is a psychedelic, polarized hue that changes color depending on the viewing angle or light reflection.
Interior upgrades on this hot box include Release Series floor mats, multi-color under-dash light, color-keyed Razo shift knob, and an individually numbered brushed stainless steel badge. So, if you want to grab one of the last remaining pieces of xB history, line up now and start hammering down the doors of your local Scion dealer.
Rays Joins Formula 1
RAYS is a wheel manufacturer that needs no introduction. The JDM company creates such brands as Volk, G-Games, Gram Lights and United Arrows. Their forged designs have been copied multiple times over and yet demand for their products has never ceased. But, after conquering the street, race and time attack market, RAYS has set its sights a little higher.
Formula One is the undeniable pinnacle of motorsports. An F1 car has more to do with a jet fighter than it does your own ride, and the teams have the multi-million dollar budgets to prove it. The competition is so close and fierce in fact, any technological advancement is sought out for an advantage. F1 wheels are often forged magnesium, super light (less than 9lbs) and super strong. Seeking to take the fight straight to such companies as OZ Racing, Enkei and BBS, RAYS has announced their decision to join the F1 ranks. Rumors are that RAYS will soon be manufacturing forged wheels to F1 specs with such teams as Williams-Toyota. Initial plans were to begin use of the wheels in the 2008 season, but 2006 testing of the RAYS wheels was so successful, a 2007 launch could be in the works.
Baja 1000 Toyota Trd FJ Cruiser
As a celebration of the release of the limited edition Toyota Racing Development Special Edition FJ Cruiser, Toyota will campaign a near-stock version in the 38th running of the grueling Baja 1000 race. Run through Mexico's burning Baja California, the Baja 1000 truck will be driven by the infamous rally legend Rod Millen, son Ryan Millen and Adam Dupre.
The truck features the standard TRD package upgrades, which includes a mean all-black paint job, 16-inch TRD wheels, Active Traction locking differential, Bilstein suspension, TRD exhaust, and a multi-information display. In order to survive the rigors of off-road racing, Millen's car has been given a stronger suspension, BFG off-road tires, new straight-through exhaust, revised axle gears, roll cage and loads of safety equipment. A stock FJ Cruiser is already known as a surprisingly capable off-road machine, and we can only expect success with the addition of TRD and Rod Millen.
European Drifting? - Hankook's Porsche Gt2
Are the days of the beat down, stock engine Nissan 240SX drift cars dead? Spawned from the land of the JDM, drifting has taken off in America with spectacular results. Even companies such as Ford, Mopar and Pontiac took notice and joined in the fray. Hell, there's a rear-drive Honda Element SUV built to enter the Formula Drift ranks next year. But nothing shook the drifting world up so much as Hankook's announcement of their Porsche entry for Formula D competition.
Powered by a fully built 3.8L flat-six turbocharged engine that makes more than 600hp, this Porsche 993 GT2 was built and is being campaigned by suspension and exhaust manufacturer JIC Magic/CROSS. The GT2 features Hankook Z212 drift-spec tires, custom JIC/CROSS suspension, a factory GT2 roll cage, Cobra seats, and 993 GT Evo bodywork. With a whole year's worth of experience under their belt from the JIC S15 Silvia, driven by Kenji Yamanaka, JIC/CROSS is looking forward to the 2007 season. The rear-engine rear-drive monster will be driven by former RS*R driver Tyler McQuarrie, who is no stranger to handling a Porsche. What does this spell for the grassroots backyard mechanic amateur drifter? Only time will tell.
Granturismo Awards 2006
Gran Turismo is both a video game and a phenomenon that needs no introduction. Having already spread the love of cars and racing around the world, Sony held its fourth annual Gran Turismo Awards ceremony. Hundreds of cars entered for their chance to be selected as the "Best in Show," an honor that deems the winner worthy of a digital appearance in the next Gran Turismo game. 2005 Best in Show winner Stephan Papadakis and his AEM drift Honda S2000 are gearing up for an appearance as a drivable machine in the next upcoming Playstation release.
This year's Best in Show pick was the 1960 Chevy Corvette of Craig Morrison. Personally selected by Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo, the Corvette will soon appear in a future Gran Turismo game. Also of note was the selection of Leigh Guarnieri's ridiculous turbocharged K20-powered Honda Fit as the Best Japanese Automobile. Guarnieri, the mad scientist behind the engine build, roll cage, gauge setup and body work, is the third winner from the right pictured above. Also on hand for those lucky enough to gain entrance to the Gran Turismo Awards was a sneak peek and a chance to play the unreleased Gran Turismo HD, which is coming soon only for the Playstation 3. Be sure that we'll have a full review of the world's hottest racing game once it drops in stores.