Nissan ZEOD RC – “World’s Fastest Electric Racing Car”

Nissan ZEOD RC uses the same battery technology used in the Nissan LEAF.  It’s speed exceeds 186mph or 300km/h

Nissan revealed the ZEOD RC – “the world’s fastest electric racing car”, according to Nissan, that is expected to achieve speeds of more than 186 mph.

Standing for “Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car”, the ZEOD RC employs the same lithium battery technology used in the Nissan LEAF.  It will make its testing debut in the late summer of this year and will make its first race appearance at the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour.

 

 

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source: japanesesportcar
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Nismo GT-R GT3

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Nismo’s Nissan GT-R GT3

When tuning your own car it’s a good plan to take influence from other top cars, but it’s a risky business as just because somebody else has done something doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best way to do it. One way to be almost assured of choosing the best way is to take your tuning influence from a race car, as they have had insane amounts of development and testing; if they are doing it, you know it works.

The thing is though, a lot of race cars these days are so far from the road going version they’re just not relevant enough to take influence from, and we’re sure a lot of you turned the page and thought to yourself; “Why the hell is a carbon body race car in Fast Car?”. Well wonder no more, as unlike most world class race cars, the Nismo GT-R GT3 really is just a modified version of the Nissan GT-R production cars you see on the UK’s roads. The sceptics among you are probably still thinking; “Yeah right, I doubt there is any standard parts left on this beast”, but even we were amazed how closely related this thing is to a standard road car. There’s no carbon fibre space frame chassis here, the shell is straight off the production line at Nissan, and things like the chassis rails, sills, floor pan, suspension turrets, inner arches, screen pillars and bulkhead are totally standard; which in fact is more than we can say for a lot of modified road cars we know and love.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The ‘surprisingly standard’ theme continues under the bonnet, where the engine looks pretty standard, as to be fair, it is. The Nissan GT-R road car comes with a 3.8ltr twin turbo VR38 engine pushing out 545bhp, and this car comes with the very same engine, albeit with a quoted power of “500bhp+”.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The reason for the vague power  figure is because in GT3 racing they have what they call the ‘Balance Of Performance’. This basically means, in an attempt to keep the racing close, the organisers can at any time choose to restrict power on winning cars, and allow slower cars to up their power levels. The guys at JRM who build these cars for Nissan’s motorsport arm Nismo, fully admit they could easily make the car so much wilder in every aspect, but the ‘Balance Of Power’ rules means they can’t go too crazy, but the potential is there should they be allowed to.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

GT3 rules also mean while the engine and turbochargers have to be standard size, there’s no problem with monkeying about with the turbo internals, and while exact specs are secret, it’s safe to say they are pretty special inside, and more than capable of pushing out big power if the race organisers decide to allow it! Power is only one part of tuning though, reliability is another, which is why despite almost factory power levels, the engine runs two huge intercoolers, a big alloy rad, and a huge oil cooler too.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Another big difference compared to many tuned road cars is there is no show under the bonnet of this car either, it’s all go. No fancy hose connectors, no polished parts, just good old rubber pipes and Jubilee clips; things that JRM and Nismo know can withstand even a solid 24 hours of hard racing with no problems at all.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The final thing worth mentioning about the engine is the exhaust system, which in all honestly sounds flippin’ incredible. With heat-wrapped 2.5-inch exhausts from each turbo travelling along the inside of the side skirts and exiting under each door, the GT3 is not only pretty damn loud, but the rapid-fire pops and bangs on the over-run make a WRC car sound tame; it really is the best sounding GT-R we’ve ever heard. Some things on this car are far from standard, most notably the absolutely awesome looking bodywork. Before you start to wonder, no, the carbon Nismo wide body kit is not available for sale at any cost! “We get calls and emails on adaily basis asking to buy the kit” Mark from JRM laughs, “But it simply isn’t available; thankfully there is plenty of bodywork and tuning options available via our sister company, Sumo Power”.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Every exterior body panel, including the roof and doors, are made of carbon fibre, and while they keep the original GT-R looks, they seriously pump up the styling thanks to the massive arches, aggressive bumpers, a vented bonnet, rear diffuser, huge front splitter, and one of the biggest rear wings we’ve ever seen. The amazing looks are why they get so many requests to buy it, but the real reason for the bodywork is pure performance. The lightweight bodywork helps this car weigh almost half a ton less than the standard GT-R, every vent and duct helps channel cold air to and away from all the vital components, and the front splitter, rear diffuser, and rear wing are just three of many parts that help push the car to the ground with enormous downforce, so much so that the rear wing is attached to the chassis; if it was attached to the boot lid like most cars it would simply crush the lid down at speed! And those wheel arches? Well they are to house a set of very serious wheels and tyres…

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The GT-R road car wheels are massive, 20-inches in fact, but this is for looks reasons rather than performance, and because of this the GT3 car has more conventionally sized 18-inch rims. Smaller diameter they may be, but they are ridiculously wide; 13-inches wide front and rear! Proving the bigger isn’t always better when it comes to alloys, we think the 13×18-inch Volk Racing VR G2s the GT3 car runs looks far better than standard rims, and when it comes to grip, the lightweight Volks wrapped in 310mm wide racing slicks are on a whole different planet. Even removing these wheels are a piece of cake, thanks to a giant centre wheel nut replacing the usual fi ve studs, and no need to struggle getting a trolley jack under the low body kit either; simply plug an air line in to a fi tting on the back bumper and the car instantly jumps high off the ground on its ultra-trick air-jacks.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan
Behind the super-wide alloys are brake discs that are the same size as the standard GT-R items at a pretty huge 380mm, but the front calipers are Brembo racing units with the thickest brake pads we’ve ever seen. On the rear the calipers are actually totally standard; like we said earlier, if it’s good enough for a top race car, it sure don’t need changing on a road car!

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

While this car has an amazing amount of similarities to the standard road car, one big change is it’s no longer four wheel drive; every last bit of power is channelled via a carbon propshaft and rear mounted sequential gearbox to those huge rear tyres.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Despite the lack of four wheel drive, the GT3 can launch, corner, and brake far better than a standard GT-R, even in the slippiest of weather conditions. This is thanks not only to the aforementioned upgrades, but also two things a lot of people hate on tuned road cars; ABS and traction control. The reason for this is while standard ABS and traction control setups are intended to stop doddery old ladies crashing in the wet or accidentally doing rolling burnouts, this car has super fast reacting motorsport systems. These are fully in-car adjustable via dials on the dash, enabling the driver to adjust the amount of help he gets from them depending on track and weather conditions. This means he can drive as hard as possible without worrying about either the electronics interfering with his driving, or falling off the track when on the limit.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

With similar power to the standard GT-R you might think the GT3 accelerates about as quickly too, but in fact it’s far faster. While the production GT-R weighs 1750kg, thanks to a serious diet this car weighs just 1300kg, that’s not much more than a Corsa VXR; and we’re sure you can imagine how fast a 550bhp Corsa would be! Another way of looking at it is the standard GT-R has about 314bhp per ton, but despite having no more power this beast has 423bhp per ton; more than even a Ferrari F50.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

So, despite being unable to buy the body kit, having an engine that’s nearly standard, not being road legal, and costing around £375,000 to buy, this is still, without doubt, the coolest god damn Nissan GT-R on the planet, and the perfect one to take influence from when tuning your own car. Do we all want one? Hell yeah! Now, where’s that lottery ticket…

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

 

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

TECH SPEC NISSAN GT-R GT3
ENGINE
‘Production based’ Nissan GT-R VR38DETT 3799cc V6 engine with variable cam timing, twin standard size turbos with uprated internals, standard blue injectors, standard twin electronic throttles, twin 2.5-inch titanium side exit exhaust system with two straight through silencers per side, Samco turbo inlet hoses, high capacity twin front mount alloy intercoolers, top mounted oil cooler, PWR alloy radiator, single AFM conversion, Pectel SQ6M race engine management, ATL race fuel tank, solid engine mounts, lightweight race battery, oil breather system and catch tank, adjustable fuel pressure regulator, in-car adjustable ECU with four maps.

TRANSMISSION 
Rear wheel drive conversion, Hewland six speed sequential transaxle dog engagement gearbox, semi-automatic steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, lightweight carbon fibre prop shaft, lightweight drive shafts, ultra-light flywheel, quad-plate Sachs racing clutch, rear mounted transmission oil cooler, in-car adjustable traction control with 7 position controller.

SUSPENSION
Ohlins TTX race coilovers, adjustable bladed front and rear anti-roll bars.

BRAKES 
380mm racing brake discs front and rear, Brembo 6pot front race calipers, standard Nissan GT-R rear calipers, race brake pads front and rear, AP Racing in-car adjustable brake bias controller, Bosch Motorsport M4 in-car adjustable race ABS system with 12 position controller, carbon fibre brake ducts in front bumper and rear arches.

WHEELS+TYRES 
13×18 Volk Racing VR G2 centre-lock wheels front and rear with 31/71×18 Michelin slick tyres.

EXTERIOR
Production Nissan GT-R steel chassis, complete carbon fibre bodywork, including doors, wide front and rear arches, front and rear bumpers, vented bonnet, roof, front splitter, and rear diffuser, carbon rare mirrors, Plastics4Performance polycarbonate lightweight windows, quick release bonnet and boot lid with aero catches, three way adjustable carbon fibre rear wing, rear wing supports bolted directly to chassis, race air jack system, carbon rear window strengthening bars, ATL twin race fuel fillers.

INTERIOR
Full FIA weld-in six point roll cage including door bars and roof reinforcement, Nismo GT Pro III carbon racing seat with cool air ducting system, flocked dash, Motec digital dash, height adjustable steering column, fully heat shielded floor pan, ducting from bonnet vents to standard interior air vents, carbon fibre trim panels, reverse lever and brake bias control on carbon centre console, dashboard mounted dials for ABS, Traction control, and ECU maps, AP Racing race pedal box, four point bolt-in rear bulkhead brace.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

 

 

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source: fastcar

MEET THE GANGSTER OF DRAG RACING

I was in full Speedhunting mode when I attended March Meet last month, scouring Famoso Raceway to bring you the best the nostalgia drag race world had on offer. Of course there were gobs of old school dragsters and gassers, but I was looking for that one special car that stopped me dead in my tracks. I found it – but I hadn’t a clue how far down the rabbit hole it would take me (and a whole crew of my fellow Speedhunters too).

I spotted Randy Winkle’s ’57 Chevrolet gasser in front of one of the paddocks and was sure I’d just struck feature car gold. As I crawled all over, around and under the car Randy walked up and we made our introductions. I told him about Speedhunters and that I was looking for drag cars to feature, to which he responded, “Oh this isn’t the race car, I just built it to tow that one around the drag strip…” Wait. What?

Randy invited me to step into his personal garage space (on track premises I might add) to say hello to his little friend – a 1967 front engine dragster (FED) named O’ Black Betty.

I worked my way into the garage and slowly circled the baddest FED I’d ever seen. With each question answered it became apparent that this guy was legit.

He was there when it went down the first time around, and he’s seeing to it that history is preserved. This matched pair is the proof: FED racer and Chev gasser.

Specifically designed to complement each other, the combo just couldn’t get any more gangster. Can you imagine the intimidation factor when this set-up rolls through the pits?

Most race teams get by with a daily driver Chevy pickup to tow their race cars on the weekend. I think Randy’s level of commitment to keeping the scene alive is pretty evident at this point.

He’s even started an exclusive club for like-minded racers, called the Famoso Mob. They recently returned from a trip to New Zealand where they schooled the Kiwis on vintage American quarter mile machines.

As if that weren’t enough, Randy and his Famoso Speed Shop were consulted as nostalgia racing experts for the upcoming movie Snake & Mongoose. Randy and his good friend Stormy Byrd are even behind the wheel in several scenes, and O’ Black Betty makes a cameo appearance as well. I think we’ve found the right guy to show us what this scene is about.

I know it’s a strange way to start a car feature but we’ll begin with the FED’s tow hook, specifically the finish. Famoso Speed Shop isn’t just building period-correct race cars, it’s building them on a show-worthy level. I’m sure the chrome bill for this build is ample evidence of my assertion.

So let’s get the necessary stats out of the way: 179″ wheelbase, 800hp, 750lb/ft and 1300lbs. It’ll go 7.40 in the 1/4 mile…

…if you have the stones to strap in and hit the loud pedal.

That’s a 383 of 1971 vintage, stuffed with race parts and pressurized by The Blower Shop. The blower restraints are necessary by today’s rulebook, but notice he went with silver so they disappear against the chromed engine.

Sitting behind a blown small block running at full tilt isn’t the safest place to be, but the restraints and belt guard will keep parts from going airborne if something pops. There’s a reason dragsters are built with the engines in the back now – to avoid getting sprayed by stray engine parts, fireballs and hot oil mostly.

To be honest though, it’s the aesthetics that intrigue me most; like the matching cowls at the front of the engine and driver’s compartments, and the way the three ribs on the blower scoop match the three red stripes on the bodywork.

The visor on Randy’s helmet even echoes the shape of the cowls and has gold lettering too. It’s probably coincidence, but still cool.

I’ve always liked nostalgia dragsters with a little bodywork on them, especially since each body is hand-formed to its respective chassis.

Not only does the bodywork enclose the updated roll cage, it also shrouds the ‘chute and hides the mounting points for the wheelie bar.

Check out how the character line flows down and forms a nice angle of attack. I wonder if Famoso Speed Shop knew it was using car design tricks when forming the sheet metal.

The tail fin formed into the bodywork is what really grabbed me though. Famoso Speed Shop’s Mike Alspough put considerable effort into crafting a beautiful body for this nostalgia racer – and succeeded quite nicely.

That’s a handbrake to the left and a shifter on the right, custom built with giant ball bearings welded on the ends. Remember that chrome bill I mentioned earlier?

Inside there’s not much of a seat, but you don’t sit there long anyways. The green button on the steering wheel activates the trans brake and launch control.

The term nostalgia dragster might make some of you think these guys are running outdated technology, but really it refers more to the layout and the spirit in which these machines are built. Randy said they have updated a few things for the sake of staying competitive, like the MSD distributor which allows them to use launch control by omitting spark to certain cylinders while the button is pressed.

The Wilwood brakes hiding out inside the 16×12-inch E/T rear wheels appear to be late model as well, but disc brakes have been used in drag racing since the mid ’60s so they get a pass.

No brakes on the front though, since it barely has tires anyways. I love the juxtaposition of the massive slicks out back with front tires that are barely suitable for a bicycle.

Randy lists them as 17-inch spokes. I’m guessing they’re 2-inch wide, maybe. Check out the typeface on the sponsor logos too.

All of the logos were applied by hand using period-correct fonts. That’s real gold leafing, edged with hand-painted pinstripes, then finally sealed under plenty of clear coat. Pretty good for a race car, eh?

Let’s not forget that badass ’57 gasser that got us here in the first place though.

Despite Randy’s claim that it was just built to tow O’ Black Betty we think it’s a feature car in its own right, so stay tuned.

I have a hard time choosing a favorite between these two, as each is amazing in its own right. We’ll let you be the judge once we show you the ’57 gasser in greater detail.

It does a pretty fine job of pulling the FED around though, doesn’t it?

 

Words by Keith Charvonia
Instagram: SpeedhuntersKeith
Email: keith@speedhunters.com

Photos by Sean Klingelhoefer
Instagram: seanklingelhoefer
Email: sean@speedhunters.com

Additional photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
Email: larry@speedhunters.com

 

Randy Winkle’s 1967 Front Engine Dragster – O’ Black Betty

Numbers
Max power – 800hp, max torque – 750 lb/ft, weight – 1300 lbs, ET – 7.40 sec

Engine
1971 Chevy 383 ci, 8:1 compression, AFR head machining, Scat camshaft, Manley valves, springs, push rods, retainers and lifters, ARP head bolts, copper head gasket, double roller timing chain, Crower connecting rods, ARP connecting rod bolts, Scat crankshaft, Famoso Speed Shop engine mounts, The Blower Shop intake manifold and supercharger, Enderle fuel pump and fuel rail, Lemons headers, NGK spark plugs, MSD spark plug wires, coil and distributor, Excel battery, wiring harness and cosmetic modifications by Famoso Speed Shop

Driveline
Powerglide transmission, Ford 9″ differential, SFI flexplate, gearing: “I will never tell!”

Suspension/Brakes
Solid mounted rear suspension, chrome front suspension links, Wilwood rear disc brakes, parachute

Wheels/Tires
17″ spoked wheels with Avon tires (front), Rear – 16×12 E/T wheels with M/H Racemaster slicks (rear)

Exterior
Famoso Speed Shop customized chassis and hand-formed bodywork, paint by Mikey and the Paso Boys, graphics by Jamie and the Paso Boys

Interior
DJ Safety harness, unknown vintage steering wheel, Kurtz steering hub and quick release, Famoso Speed Shop shift and brake levers

 

 

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source: speedhunters

RUN WHAT YA BRUNG: DRAG MEET 2013

As you saw in our Nostalgia Immersion: March Meet 2013 coverage, there were plenty of mega-buck Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars at the March Meet, but they were far outnumbered by the hobbyist drag racers and their production vehicle racecars. These are cars that we mere mortals might have a chance at owning and racing. Larry and I chose a few different models with the idea of showing the range and variation in which they are built for the purpose of quarter-mile racing.

Let’s kick it off with a Kaiser: the Henry J model to be more precise. Being a ’50s American compact, drag racers have always been drawn to them, making this the Kaiser model most car guys know. This one has a fairly stock body, and we know it runs in the nines because it’s in the C/Gas category. Obvious mods are bumper removal, a heavy rake and some interesting rocker panel aero that incorporates an exhaust cutout.

With a driver behind the wheel you get a sense of the car’s scale. Notice the headlights and glass are still in place, evidence that this could be a pretty quick street-driven car…

…but not as quick as this purpose-built version. Here’s a dedicated race Henry J. It reeks of Funny Car, with the wedge-shaped body and exaggerated rear quarters.

With a custom-built fiberglass body inspired by a Henry J, surely there are no Kaiser parts left. This type of build reminds me of a toy R/C car, where you can swap on your body-style of choice. Notice the headlight stickers and painted-on grille, also the wheelie bars, wide open headers and chopped roof.

Moving more towards the mainstream we have another American compact: a Chevy II Nova. Have you ever had a daily driver that slowly turned into a project car, to the point that one day you realized it was no longer street-worthy? The Currie Enterprises Nova appears to be right on the cusp. On one hand it still has lights, bumpers and door handles, and the four-inch cowl hood looks pretty street too. That Lexan windshield is getting hazy though, and peeking through the grille we can see that the front wheelwells have been gutted. It’s hard to say whether this one gets driven or strapped to the trailer.

This one’s a little easier: it’s gotta ride on a trailer. The Dzus-fastened, six-inch cowl hood is probably hiding a BBC, and the open exhaust and stickered-on headlights would make it rough to go more than 1,320 feet. The lack of door handles suggests the door shells have been swapped for lighter fiberglass versions.

Drag racers value speed over glamour, so an unpainted one-piece composite front-end is entirely acceptable. Check out the engine set-back and tire-to-fender proximity.

Even if drag racers don’t prioritize aesthetics, it’s hard to argue with the profile of a slammed and raked Chevy II. Form follows function.

Now we’ll go full mainstream with the token hot rod, a Tri-5 Chevy. D/Gas means he runs tens, which is very quick for a completely steel full-size car. It still has all the glass and trim, a dashboard and a license plate frame. I’d call this ’56 pro-street.

C/Gas is one second quicker, and nine seconds means a ’chute. The big wing and Lexan windows also mean business.

The lift-off fiberglass hood is held down with Dzus fasteners. I was a bit surprised at the mag-style front wheels on such a quick car though.

As they get faster we see more attention to aerodynamics  Since B/Gas cars can break 150mph it starts to count. The one-piece front end on this ’55 has a definite slant to it, and this time even the bumper is painted on!

This is supposed to be a nostalgia race though, so we better check out a gasser ’57 too. From the nose-bleed stance to the white fenderwell headers this machine absolutely nails it. Radiused rear fenders make room for slicks and the solid front axle suspends the nose in the air for faster weight transfer off the line. At least that was the theory when these cars were built in the ’60s.

Not only does it look the part, the craftsmanship is show quality. All the lettering and decals were hand-painted and then sealed under the clear coat. Look for a feature (with an extra twist!) as soon as Larry can get back out to Bakersfield.

I have a thing for oddball hot rods, so we’ll close out with the UK-built Ford Anglia. Anglias were true econoboxes in the late ’40s and early ’50s, so naturally drag racers dropped in big engines and took them to the track.

We found this one in the car show, although it looked ready to race with a blower, cage and tilt front-end.

A more stock version was sitting in the pits. This is the commercial model with a squared-off, windowless rear.

Surprisingly there was another Anglia in the car show. This is definitely built more as a street rod, but it still has a drag-inspired stance and wheel choice.

And finally, the full-blown race version of an Anglia. We’ve seen the same treatment on the other cars we looked at: no lights, fake grille and giant hood scoop.

The lightweight Ford Anglia can haul the mail with a big engine, but their short wheelbase also makes them a handful to get down the track.

In no particular order, and chosen just because we like ’em, these are four completely different models that racers have embraced over the years.  Cars like the Anglia are favored for their size, but guys will still race a heavy Tri-5 Chevy simply because it’s such an icon of hot rodding.

These are cars with full bodies and doors that latch. I think what I like most about them though is seeing the different approaches to building the same car for the same purpose – blasting down the quarter mile.

 

Words: Keith Charvonia

Photos: Larry Chen

 

 

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source: Speedhunters

THE PRANCING HORSE DESCENDS ON SUZUKA

You may remember that I featured a very special and unique Ferrari F40 around this time last year. I titled that feature ‘An afternoon with a legend‘ – a rather fitting choice of words I thought, considering my particular infatuation with Ferrari’s rawest ever street car. Today, at Suzuka circuit, I counted a total of 12 F40s, three 288 GT0s, three F50s, three Enzos and eight 599 GTOs…shall I keep going?

But this being Japan, and today’s event being the first day of the Ferrari Racing Days, such a mouthwatering turnout was to be expected.

Tomorrow will actually be the main day, but there was no way I was going to hit the sack without sharing some of the awesomeness I witnessed today. On top of these sort of views in the paddock…

… were views of practice and the first qualifying session of the Asia Pacific Challenge series.

This international mix of 458 Challenge drivers will be pitching their race cars against each other…

and a very special guest…

… who will starting from the very last place on the grid and attempting to work his way up towards P1. Any ideas who it might be?

Ferrari Japan has done an incredible job putting this event together.

No matter if you are a die-hard Cavallino enthusiast…

… or just there to enjoy the sights and sounds of some of Ferrari’s rarest limited edition creations.

These privately owned cars were neatly lined up in the paddock for everyone to see and enjoy…

… but Ferrari had also prepared a variety of display areas inside the pits, like this beautifully-lit selection.

Unfortunately Ferrari’s latest hypercar, LaFerrari, wasn’t present, but the official launch video was being projected onto a big screen in one of the pits.

Seeing that Ferrari’s history hadn’t been forgotten was a very welcome surprise. Cars like this 1957 250GT Tour De France…

… sat along side other greats, like the 1967 375GTB/4 Daytona.

Ferrari is attempting to create a stronger and more accessible bond with its fans, and allowing them to get up-close-and-personal with its current line up is a great way to show everyone first hand what Ferrari design and quality is all about. Its latest front engined V12 beast, the F12 Berlinetta, which represents the true essence of modern day Ferraris, was one of the cars that people could check out.

It was probably by mid-afternoon that the action on track intensified. In between the various Challenge practice sessions…

… Ferrari Japan’s own press fleet was used to give lucky fans a quick spin around Suzuka.

Customers that had signed up for the soukoukai session had a chance to drive their cars hard…

… but no matter how good of a driver you are, you should always remember to warm up your tires first. This 599 GTO ended up in the kitty litter in its out lap, understeering out from the “S” curves. Luckily no damage was done.

In a closed-off pit four FXXs were being prepped for their short outing on track tomorrow. I can’t wait to hear their unbridled V12 engines scream down the Suzuka straight at full noise!

The Challenge series continued to race right until 6pm tonight…

… the drivers attempting to string together a fast lap during the first qualifying session of the weekend. With the possibility of rain for tomorrow’s final qualifier, getting a good time today was a must.

Shooting at tracks up and down Japan almost on a weekly basis sort of tones down your enthusiasm for the cars you get to see. But today was very different. Seeing all these cars lined up…

… and then blasting around Suzuka really put a smile on my face. Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity. Which I why I am still up at 2am putting this post together…

… so I could share this first selection of images from the unique day with you. A day where I found a little slice of Italy right in the middle of Japan.

I’ll be back soon with more from Suzuka, but in the meantime make sure you download some of the desktops below.

 

Dino Dalle Carbonare

 

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source: speedhunters

Dario Franchitti drives a piece of history

Want to watch a piece of history hug the curves of a track? Watch as Dario Franchitti takes the famous–and immaculately kept–1965 Honda RA272 out for a spin.

This 1.5-liter V-12, 230 horsepower race car is the very same one that scored Honda its first Grand Prix win at the 1965 Mexico Grand Prix, a race won by Richie Ginther.

Franchitti describes his experience with the car, from the sound of the engine, to its unique handling, saying, “To get in this, to drive such a historically significant car, and a Honda, which obviously is a brand very close to my heart, it’s been a lot of fun.”

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source: youtube

MODERN HEART: ROCKY AUTO’S RB30 POWERED Z

Nothing is as it seems in Japan. As a rule of thumb you should never, in any circumstance make any sort of assumptions about any car you see on the street. This is especially true if that particular car proudly wears the Rocky Auto name, a shop we are all pretty familiar with these days. With the Nostalgic Two Days show coming up tomorrow I though we might as well start getting into the vintage swing of things and what better way than a high performance classic from Watanabe-san at Rocky.

“Modernizing” is something a lot of people are attempting to do with their cars, even those that aren’t that particularly old. Heck I’m attempting to do the same to my GT-R, trying to add upgrades and other little bits and pieces that will help bring some aspects of the whole package into the new millennium. Except what you see here sort of takes that whole notion to extremes.

This is the point purists should probably look away. While Watanabe-san does offer authentic restorations, it’s not something his customers are exactly into. The whole idea behind one of these cars is the fact that they manage to combine the looks and feel of a classic car – in this case an S30 Fairlady Z – with a modern, reliable and more powerful engine and driveline.

Built last year, this is one of a few rides that Watanabe-san classifies as his “favorite.” Looks wise he has gone with the “ZG” look…

…painting the car in the period correct dark maroon and adding the long-nose conversion, the fender flares the trunk spoiler and the fender-mounted mirrors.

The car is fitted with special modern-day dampers that Rocky Auto developed for the classic Z and sports a set of 16-inch Watanabes wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza GIII street tires, 205/50 up front and 225/45 at the rear. It’s from this point on that you begin to notice the subtle yet important changes that have been made, like the front 4-pot AP Racing brake calipers and cross-drilled rotors.

But things don’t really get serious until you lift the stock hood…

…revealing the awesomeness that powers this Fairlady. As Watanabe tells us, it’s not all about horsepower numbers; he’s built some very powerful Zs in his time, but he much prefers creating something more balanced, a conversion that builds upon the car’s original character, making it even more evident.

He has found all of this in the RB30-based engine he has created for this, as well as a few other builds. It’s a straight six just like the L24 that powered the S30 in the first place, naturally aspirated and delivering just the right about of power to the rear wheels. It all started with an Australian-sourced RB30 bottom end, onto which he dropped an RB26 twin-cam head. The engine breathes in through six aluminum velocity stacks – part of the “sports injection” system that Rocky Auto devised. If you recall the Rocky carbon bodied Fairlady we featured last year was also powered by an RB30, except it was running on 50 mm Solex carburetors and higher lift & duration cams. Watanabe really liked that car but wanted something a little bit easier to live with, something more street oriented.

As if seeing a gold RB26 head in the engine bay wasn’t enough, Watanabe-san made sure that the visual aspects of this engine swap didn’t end there…

…fabricating a beautiful and complex set of stainless steel headers, the same 46 mm 6-into-1 items that were used on the carbon car…

…helping to really emphasize the unmistakable straight-six sound that exits through the rest of the exhaust system.

The engine is good for just under 300 HP, about double what the S30 came with back in the early seventies. To transfer drive to the rear Cusco 2-way LSD a R32 Nissan Skyline 5-speed transmission was fitted, more than able to deal with the power at hand and the occasional track day abuse.

Out on the roads around the Rocky Auto HQ in Okazaki, the Zed looked phenomenal, the RB30′s scream reverberating across the hills we went to shoot around on. The three liters of capacity and the somewhat mild stock RB26 cams all help deliver a very strong low and mid range, making it a pleasure to drive around on a daily basis. Despite the longer stroke the RB30 is still and RB, so has no problem to rev to higher than normal rpm. For durability however the redline has been set at 7,000 rpm.

The restoration-slash-modernization of this S30 continues inside where, along with a dose of spot welding around the door openings, glasshouse, front and rear suspension turrets, engine bay and other strategic locations – a bolt-in roll cage was added.

This spans to the rear of the car and down behind the seats, helping increase torsional rigidity of a frame which is well over 40-years old now.

There’s no doubting that Nissan really got the interior design right all those years ago, standing up to the test of time rather well. Still, to make things nice and comfortable Watanabe spent some time adding a few nice touches like the R32 Skyline automatic climate control system, modern HD navigation with pop-out LCD screen…

…and a pair of Recaro leather/alcantara seats – with Willans harnesses for the driver.

The mix of old and new continues with a classic Datsun steering wheel…

…original main gauges….

…and the addition of a triplet of modern clocks from Blitz.

The period correct wooden shift knob and well used leather boot serve as a constant reminder of the car’s vintage-ness.

It might be a different school of thought to those that restore older cars in a more period-correct way, but for some reason the Japanese manage to pull it off so well especially when applied to cars like the Fairlady Z. Even if you may be a purist, it’s hard not to admire and appreciate the work that went into creating something so special. If that’s not the case maybe a quick ride in this RB30-powered Rocky Auto creation may change your mind…

 

Specs:

Engine: RB30/RB26 hybrid engine swap, Rocky Auto engine mounts, Rocky Auto sports injection with aluminum velocity stacks, Tomei Powered fuel rail, RB26 injectors, Rocky Auto 46 mm 6-into-1 exhaust header, Rocky Auto stainless steel exhaust system, Billiion power steering reservoir tank, Rocky Auto gold head covers, clear cam covers, Koyo radiator, HKS oil cooler, R32 Skyline fuse box & wiring loom, Power FC ECU

Transmission: R32 5-speed transmission, Exedy single plate clutch, Cusco 2-way LSD

Suspension & Brakes: Rocky Auto front coilovers, Rock Auto rear dampers, Cusco carbon front strut tower bar, AP Racing 4-pot front calipers, cross drilled rotors

Wheels & Tires: Watanabe wheels 8Jx16″ front 9Jx16″ rear, Bridgestone Potenza GIII 205/50R16 front, 225/45/R16 rear

Exterior: ZG nose, ZG front & rear overfendes, ZG rear spoiler, ZR side mirrors

Interior: Spot welded and reinforced shell, bolt-in roll cage, Recaro driver & passenger seats, Willans drivers-side harness, Datsun spot steering wheel, R32 Skyline A/C unit, Carrozzeria HD navigation system, Blitz dials (ex. temp, oil temp., water temp.

-Dino Dalle Carbonare

 

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source: speedhunters.com

THE MACHINES OF LEADFOOT

Aside from the spectacular environment it’s built around and the atmosphere abuzz within it, the beauty of the Leadfoot Festival lies with the machinery. I’ve been to a lot of car shows and motorsport events during my lifetime thus far, but when you’re talking sheer diversity, nothing has come close to the event created by Rod Millen.

I’m going to wrap up my coverage with look at just a few of the automotive gems that made this year’s Leadfoot Festival the spectacle it was.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t begin with some the cars from the Millen stable. Aside from Rod’s unfathomably quick Celica which beat out the competition for the third year running, his recently completed RX-3 is right up there in the drool stakes. Built as a modern day interpretation of the car that took him to three consecutive wins of the New Zealand Rally Championship in ’75, ’76 and ’77, the Mazda has an amazing build quality.

It’s also super-quick, with an injected 13B peripheral port engine backed up by a six-speed sequential gearbox. With lashings of carbon fibre and lots of high-end race car technology it might be a far cry from his original car, but all sign-written up in retro livery I think it still perfectly captures its spirit.

With Rod’s son Rhys at the controls, the MillenWorks Tundra made full use of the Ranch’s new off-road detour almost every time it headed out, and why not! The ex-Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) machine was fully designed in CAD and runs a custom designed and built 4WD driveline behind its TRD-built V8 engine.

Filling in for his younger brother Ryan who was unable to attend, Rhys also got behind the wheel of Rod’s SCCA Mazda RX-7 from the ’80s. As the sticker on the driver’s door window proudly announces, this car utilizes a custom 4WD system too.

Rhys had his own car there too: the ex-works Group B Mazda RX-7 that I took a closer look at in this feature last year.

For road legal racers:  in this case a Kiwi-built Fraser Clubman S…

…To rally cars…

…to purpose-built hill climb machines. Steve Murphy’s V8-powered, four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Cordia is a bit of a local legend having won New Zealand’s famed Ashley Forest Rallysprint three times.

Easily one of the most valuable cars at the event was a 1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato. Only 50 of these machines were ever built, and this particular car (chassis #5) is one only of two ever set up for racing.

The road-going Zagato was powered by a 5.3L quad cam V8 good for 440hp and a top speed of 300km/h. With the help of factory-approved RS Martin/Aston Martin 7.0L engine upgrade this one outputs 525hp. I wouldn’t like to guess what the car is worth today, but back in 1989 it changed hands for £450,000 (USD$685,000)…

A little less exotic, but impressive in its own right is the E&H Motors ’09 Subaru Impreza WRX STI back for another Leadfoot Festival with owner/builder Carl Ruiterman behind the wheel. With close to 600whp at the ready and a KAPS sequential gearbox acting as the trigger, it’s a weapon.

The prize for the car most outside of its realm probably needed to go to the #23 DuPont Chevy Monte Carlo. This particular car was raced in the 1998 Winston Cup Series by none other than Jeff Gordon.

This creation parked up in the infield was attracting a whole lot of attention all weekend long, and for good reason. It’s a Bolwell Nagari of which only 118 we factory-built between in the early ’70s ex-Lotus engineer based in Australia.

Borrowing design traits from the Lotus Europa and Elan and Lamborghini’s Miura, the cars were originally powered by 230hp 302ci Windsor V8 engines. This car’s had a bit more work and was re-engineered with a tube frame chassis in the ’80s, and more recently was fitted with stroked 347ci Windsor with  MoTeC-controlled fuel injection.  Considering 430hp finds its way to the rear wheels and the car weighs around 920kg (2030lb), I’m going to hazard a guess here and say that it’s fast…

On the subject of fast, this Ford Escort RS1800 in Group 4 specification and sporting Rothmans livery from the Ari Vatanen era, wasn’t hanging about…

…And the same goes for that rapid little Mini Cooper S I showed you in the first Leadfoot post.

Also quick – in fact quick enough to take home third place overall in the final Top 10 Shoot-Out – was Joe McAndrew driving his 2002 Jedi. ‘Smokin’ Joe is better known in New Zealand for his former exploits in an ex-Prodrive 555 Subaru Legacy rally car, but he drove the pants off the 300kg/180hp single seater for a 52.71-second run up the driveway.

Others didn’t quite make it to the top.

In my mind one of the coolest cars at the event was 1936 Chevy being run by NASCAR crew chief royalty, Ray Evernham. A throwback to the NASCAR modified series of the late ’60s the Chev runs an injected 350ci V8 backed up by four-speed gearbox and a quick-change rear end.

Not the quickest way up the hill, but plenty of points for style were earned here!

Speaking of style, Billy F. Gibbons’ SO-CAL Speed Shop creation, ‘Mexican Blackbird’, absolutely oozes the stuff don’t you think?

Anything painted this shade of orange with the words ‘McLaren Cars’ on its sides commands respect. This one’s a ’72 M22 Formula 5000 machine.

1978 450SL anyone? Chevy V8-powered I believe this Mercedes-Benz was the winner of the ’85 Australian Sports Sedan championship. It definitely looks like it means business!

This ’71 Dodge Daytona is recent build fitted with a genuine genuine 358ci Mopar NASCAR engine. That  goes a long way to explaining why it sounded so sweet!

Another car making all the right noises was this very cool replica of Dale Earnhardt Senior’s short track #8 Chevy Nova driven by former high-ranked American off-road racer Erin Crocker.

Top local driver Emma Gilmour back in the driver’s seat of a very special machine. Built by the late, great Kiwi rally icon Possum Bourne from the Prodrive-built 1998 World Rally Car he once had a works-drive in, the Impreza was de-restricted and modified for hill climb duties in the early ’00s.

Although the power’s been turned down from its ultimate specification, it still had plenty of grunt as Emma proved with one of the quickest times up the driveway during the weekend.

You can’t beat the sound of a BDA engine tuned to perfection, and this new and immaculately presented Escort Mk1 from Neil Allport Motorsport was singing a sweet song whenever it took to the course.

Strangely enough, so was this Renault Dauphine which was most definitely not powered by its original rear-mounted 32hp, 845cc engine..

Opening the side door revealed something just a  little more powerful – namely a 350ci (5.7L) Chevy V8 engine borrowed from a Corvette and mounted in a rear-mid position. That’s more like it!

I have a lot of love for this ex-Trans Am Series (USA) ’69 Camaro Z/28, especially when it’s doing this.

And don’t get me started on Mike Delmont’s ’75 BMW 2002 Turbo which has been in a constant state of development for more than a decade. The last I heard it was throwing down well over 500hp.

A collective gasp came over over the crowd gathered at the second hairpin when Peter Sundberg’s Ferrari F40 ran a little wide on the exit. It was a close one!

It’s hard to believe the F40 design is more than a quarter of a century old – but it is. Like the rest of the car, the 471hp, 2.9L twin turbocharged V8 ‘Tipo F120A’ engine is a thing of beauty.

An F40 and a 458 Challenge – nothing to see here…

This Mk1 Ford Escort RS2000 is a regular at classic race meets, and thanks to a 2.4L build it’s got plenty of power and pace.

It’s pretty cool to think that two genuine Cologne Capris live in New Zealand – this car: an RS2600 version – and a box-flared RS3100 version, which co-incidently is owned by the guy driving the Ferrari 308 GT4/LM in my first Leadfoot post. Like the 3.1L, the 2.6L gets driven the way Ford Germany’s skunkwork motorsport division of the ’70s intended!

Clark Proctor was doing double-duty at Leadfoot behind the wheels of both his Nissan 3.0L twin turbo powered Ford Escort Mk1, and his March 73A Formula 5000 car. The latter took him to second place overall with a 51.60-second best in the Shoot-Out.

But no one beat Rod who made it look effortless in his legendary Pikes Peak Toyota Celica. 50.92 is the time to beat in 2014…

…But I get the feeling that this man isn’t going to give up his title without a fight. If you’re in New Zealand in late March next year, do yourself a favor and get to this event.

Brad.

 

 

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source: speedhunters.com

Project Honda Civic Si Part 1: Engine Upgrades And Much Improved Drivability

Sportcar Motion

Loi Song and Sportcar Motion have unofficially become the standard destination for SoCal’s K-series crowd. Whether it’s a mild street setup like mine, or an all-out, hard-core race demon like their supercharged, record-setting ITR, the crew at SCM can make it happen. That doesn’t mean that they don’t do plenty of work on every other type of Honda motor, but the K series is certainly a specialty of theirs.

I contacted Loi about having SCM give me a hand on installing some of the new parts that were piling up in my office. Dealing with just about everything K swap related, not to mention plenty of eighth gens day in and day out, SCM is more than familiar with every square inch of the Si’s engine bay.

Hybrid Racing

Project Si Engine Upgrades Hybrid Racing Shift Cable Kit
Project Si Engine Upgrades Shift Cable Kit JPG

The shift cable kit from Hybrid Racing is a direct replacement, features aluminum rod ends

If you didn’t know about Hybrid Racing before, you’re no doubt familiar with its name at this point. The company has spent the last few years offering a long, long list of high-quality K-series goods to make your car faster, cleaner, and most importantly, make your life a little easier. When I first introduced the Project Si series, I touched on a few of the quirks that seem to pester the majority of eighth gens on the road. The first being that loud “click” which chimes in every time the clutch pedal is engaged/disengaged. Oh, and that lazy clutch pedal is a bit of a nuisance in its own right. I lived with it for a while, but decided I needed to find some sort of fix, and fast. Talking to Tim Schultz of Hybrid Racing, he mentioned they’d come up with a solution for the problem in a clutch master cylinder upgrade that would not only eliminate the click, but would also improve the car’s lethargic clutch pedal feel. Using an EM1 CMC and a braided stainless line, the Hybrid unit is a direct bolt-on with no need for any modification. The eighth-gen CMC, with its plastic internals, uses a transfer chamber that inherently slows fluid down as you work the clutch, causing mis-shifts and aggravation. The EM1 CMC uses stainless internals and is a direct swap. The clutch feels much more solid and swift, with a slightly lower engagement point that aids in smooth pedal work. And that brings me to the next problem: the shift cables.

Project Si Engine Upgrades Clutch Master Cylinder JPG

Here is the Hybrid (EM1) clutch master cylinder compared to the stock Si version. Stainles

To be quite frank, I hate cable shifters. They often feel soggy and unresponsive, both of which I was experiencing. Part of the problem, other than regular wear and tear on any used car, is the fact that Honda relies on quite a bit of plastic with the stock cable system. Hybrid Racing on the other hand, does not. It has put together an entire cable replacement assembly that includes stiffer cables with 6061 aluminum rod ends and metal retainers to really tighten up the shifting. Some on the forums have complained about the price of the Hybrid Racing shift cable upgrade, but I have to disagree. Pricing is a steal in my mind, especially after putting some miles on the Si stirring through the gears. If I were to do this entire project all over again, the Hybrid Racing shift cables and CMC would, without question, be the very first on my list—even before suspension or power parts. Drivability is far more important than power or handling, in my mind.

Project Si Engine Upgrades Hybrid Racing Universal Fuel Rail JPG

Hybrid Racing also supplied its universal fuel rail for the project. Produced in 6061 aluminum and T6 heat-treated, the rail even has a fitting that allows mounting of a fuel pressure gauge.

Drag Cartel, Hybrid Racing, HaSport, Skunk2, and Triad Powderworks

Project Si Engine Upgrades Drag Cartel Drop In Cams JPG

Drag Cartel’s Drop-In-Cams are mild enough to not require aftermarket valvesprings or reta
Project Si Engine Upgrades Timing Chain Tensioner JPG

Anytime you upgrade cams on a K-series motor, a stronger timing chain tensioner is imperat

As I’d talked about during the last installment, the engine bay, cowl, and engine position make for some frustrating installation sessions. To make things a little easier, Sportcar Motion dropped the entire motor, which granted more than enough access to swap in a set of Drag Cartel’s new Drop-In-Cams, a freshly powdercoated valve cover, and Skunk2’s low-profile valve cover hardware kit that really cleans up the look of the valve cover. If you’re asking where the valvesprings and retainers are, they’re not needed. Drag Cartel’s Drop-In-Cams work with the stock valvetrain, and I even hit the dyno to see what they could do. (See Part 3 for dyno results.) With the motor dropped, it also granted access to the timing chain tensioner upgrade from Hybrid Racing. Designed from scratch, Hybrid’s tensioner relies on a dual-ratchet design and heat-treated chromoly piston system that actually fits into the timing chain guide tighter than stock, which means you won’t run into alignment and wear issues. It’s a little piece of insurance that everyone should take note of when switching to aftermarket cams, whether they be aggressive or mild, like the DC Drop-Ins.

Project Si Engine Upgrades Valve Cover Hasport Mount Kit JPG

Triad Powderworks took care of the powdercoating duties on the valve cover and HaSport mou

With the cams and tensioner installed, the motor was set to be bolted back in, but not until the HaSport motor mounts arrived. HaSport had long offered a rear replacement mount for the eighth gen but eventually created an entire mount kit that utilizes the three main mounts: rear, driver side, and passenger side. For a street application, Brian Gillespie of HaSport recommended HaSport’s 62a bushing. This would aid in keeping the engine planted and in transferring torque without causing excessive rattling in the cabin. HaSport does offer a stiffer race application for track cars as well. Like all HaSport mount kits, these were designed using CAD/CAM software, produced in billet aluminum, and the fit and finish are exactly what you’d expect from the industry’s best motor mount supplier—spot-on. Upon initial startup, the mounts can be felt, but as the idle mellows, the vibration is much like that of the stock mounts at stoplights. It’s when you begin slapping through the gears that you really feel them doing their job.

Although the HaSport mounts look great in their polished form, I thought I’d send them, along with a spare RSX valve cover, to Triad Powderworks for a different color. Andrew, owner of Triad, was given the task of coming up with a one-off color. My only direction was that it be some sort of bronze. What he developed was a deep bronze color with a hint of gold that looks stunning when the sun hits it. Smooth coating is something you’ll get from Triad, but the artists there also take the time to clear out any leftover material from the valve cover before returning it to you. It’s a very important step that many aren’t aware of. Bolting a freshly powdercoated valve cover onto your expensive motor with abrasives floating around on the underside is a great way to destroy your pride and joy.

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source: hondatuningmagazine.com