Super Taikyu R34 GT-R in SCCA World Challenge

In 2005, I started working as the crew chief on an R34 GT-R, ex-Super Taikyu that was imported to the US.  This is the first test day with the car at Streets of Willow Springs. In addition to the R34, a friend brought out his Motorex R32 GT-R.   Check out the video, and check back later for some more of the story of running an R34 GT-R in SCCA World Challenge.  The R34 was the Fujitsubo, and Leyjun sponsored car during its Super Taikyu run. 

Part II
This World Challenge story/series is going to be a little random, a little back and forth. As I find pictures and things spark some memories, I will post. The first car that was purchased was the ex-Fujitsubo car. We were planning on doing it properly for World Challenge, so to have a spare car, the Altia R34 was purchased.

Here it is, the Altia car, before the stickers were peeled, and it was painted white to match the other car.


Same car, new wheels, new paint, World Challenge spec
Steves R32 GT-R , and the World Challenge R34 GT-R
At St. Petersburg in 2006.

We started the season in 2006 at Sebring. After a tough first race, we ended up at Moroso for a test weekend. During the test weekend, the first car, the Fujitsubo car was crashed.  While the Altia car was painted, and the roll cage was in it, it was not prepared for racing.  In an alley/small shop, over the course of 5 days, we swapped everything from one car, to the other car and raced it at St. Petersburg. There is a little more to that story, with pictures, but that will come a little later.

The video below is a standing start at St.Pete. Watch the left side. 



Some more World Challenge posts over at my GT-R USA Blog

Part III
The whole World Challenge R34 GT-R idea, came from a chance meeting, and a set of circumstances that put several people together at the right place at the right time. The Fujitsubo car was here in the US. It had been mentioned on a couple message boards, as an exotic car dealer in San Diego - Symbolic Motor Car Company had imported it. In December 2004, during a Super GT exhibition race that was held at California Speedway, Igor and myself noticed this R34 GT-R. The event was being sanctioned by SCCA Pro, so the tech guys from World Challenge were available.
We went over to the R34 to check it out, and talked with the SCCA guys about running the car in the series. They were open to it, so before I knew it, we were talking to Symbolic, and buying the car.
R34 GT-R at Willow Springs
Not wanting to screw anything up, we started communicating with some friends from Nissan and Nismo. Igor is fluent in English, Russian, and Japanese, and managed to make a few friends.

Our contact at Nissan suggested we bring Tetsuo Suzuki from Shift to the US to help us out with the car. Suzuki is the crew chief for Shift. Shift built and raced the Falken GT-R's in Super Taikyu, and also built and maintained the R34 GT-R's that ran at Nurburgring. You can't argue with knowledge like that, so we were happy to have him come over.

A chilly day at Willow Springs
The first track day at Willow Springs, was just a shake down, get a little bit familiar with the car day.    After the track day, Suzuki showed us how to tear down and rebuild a Getrag transmission.  That all became a little moot later, as we ended up with a Holinger sequential transmission.
Super Taikyu spec


The 450 hp RB26
 
R34 Getrag Transmission

Suzuki from Shift and a Getrag

Oh No...so many...pieces
Going back together
The first plan was to have Suzuki be the crew chief for us in World Challenge. After that, we went though a couple different ideas for crew chief, and finally, I ended up being crew chief. No real race experience. A crew with no real race experience, and a driver with no real race experience. And we wanted to go Pro Racing.....

Part IV
Finally getting around to finding an uploading some older pictures of the World Challenge R34 GT-R.  Here are a few pictures of the first look at the R34 GT-R, right after Igor purchased it from Symbolic Motor Cars.

 
Weighing the car
Here is the car just as it was raced at California Speedway, and prior to any changes to World Challenge specifications.
The engine looks pretty stock

Pi System 2 Dash and Datalogging


ATTESA and ABS control switches
The Super Taikyu R34 GT-R had adjustable ATTESA torque split, and adjustable ABS.  The ATTESA system was also modified to use the Hicas(rear wheel steering) yaw sensor as an input. This Nismo ATTESA ECU is very trick, and was leased to the teams.
120 L fuel cell and quick fill

Nismo part number on the roll cage
Brembo monoblock brakes. Ohlins coil overs
Brake cooling ducts. Brake quick disconnects
Transfer case cooler

In addition to the transfer case cooler, there was a transmission and rear differential cooler. On some tracks, they even ran a front differential cooler. This car is an endurance race car, and cooling is very important.  If you ever get serious about tracking a car, you need to pay close attention to the cooling systems. What works on the street, does not work on the track.
Getrag transmission. Titanium downpipe
Engine

Transfer case
Titanium Nismo strut tower brace
Bleeder screw is vented
FIA roll cage. This wasn't going to work for SCCA
Ducting
More ducting. Airflow is IMPORTANT
Modified and reinforced trunk lid
Knee bracing and heat shields
Canards and brake ducts
C-West front bumper. ARC oil cooler

These are but a few of the detail shots that we took of the car, before we started doing anything. Suzuki checked it out, we did some basic maintenance, then took it to Willow Springs for the first test.   Coming up next are some pictures from testing, Time Attack, and taking it apart to paint and prepare it for World Challenge in 2006.


Part V
In the container
So, Igor had the one R34 GT-R race car, and we were planning on running in World Challenge in 2006. I had spent six years in the US.Navy and I am a firm believer in having a backup and being well prepared. If we were going to be serious, we would need a backup car.  Everything fell into place, and Igor purchased the 2nd car, the red car.
In the container prior to unloading
This car was a 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R. It was a pre-production car, and had been raced from the beginning. It had a few years, and a few miles on it, but as a backup, we were just going to do the basics, and have it prepared.
Igor unloading the car
Test fitting the 305 tires
This car was kind of dirty
This car was not in nearly as good a shape as the Fujitsubo car - now the white car. Two cars, the white car, and the red car.
Red car was ridden hard and put away wet
Test fitting the Z-Tune fenders
Z-tune bumper and fenders
We went with the Z-Tune fenders and look for a few reasons. First due to the homologation requirements of World Challenge, we wanted to give ourselves the option of a 2.8 liter engine, and a couple more years of eligibility.We also wanted to run the wider fenders to be able to stuff the 305 tires under the front of the car.
305 tires in the rear




The red car was just not as well put together as the white car. The red car was a 1999,the white car was a 2001.
Stripped down, getting ready to go for paint
 Bye, bye. See you soon.
If the red car was going to be the backup, it needed to look like the white car. Next post will be some of the unbuilding of the white car.  According to spell check, unbuilding is not a word or I spelled it wrong. Its my word, I claim it.

Part VI
After the first test, the plan was to use a crew chief, and prep shop in Wisconsin to help us out with the car.  During 2005, the car went out to a few events, a couple of SEMA shows, and a couple of time attack events. I will eventually post up a couple of pictures from the 2005 events and some results.
Time Attack at Buttonwillow


Right after the time attack, the plan was to strip the car down to check it out, get it repainted, and build it up to World Challenge specifications. Most of the pictures are from my camera phone, so the quality is not the best.
Check out the FNF2 R34 in the background
Unbuilding the R34
Notice the interior is blue

Doors, windows, fenders all gone
Dash out
Passenger side dash/floor
Franco helping to pull the engine
Engine and transmission dropped out.
Franco riding the Getrag

Rear subframe dropped out
Looking pretty bare
Stripping the paint
Unbuilt
Paul Walkers R34 in the background
Paint stripped from the interior
Trunk cleaned out
We did an ad for NOS Energy drink.
For the NOS ad, we just hung everything in place, tossed in a seat, and did some shots with the bare chassis.
Loaded up, headed to K&W Autobody
Just looking at the pictures, really doesn't show how much work, or how many parts you have when you take a car down to what I call "parade rest".  Now the white car was ready to be built up to World Challenge specs.

Part VII
We had stripped the white car down to bare metal, and sent it off to K&W Autobody for paint.  Red is faster, however, we came to a color agreement of red inside and  and a white exterior color.
Back from the body shop
Unloading the "white car"
The Red car and the White Car
The white car is very red, very clean
Three R34's. Two race cars and a movie car
So the easy part was over. Breaking it down, and the start of preparing it for the 2006 World Challenge season.  Then came the hard part, Making the two cars into legal race cars for SCCA.

Heat shielding the firewall and trans tunnel
Bling bling
Renderings

18x10.5 with 305 RA1's
Front and rear subframes in the car



Engine in
Josh working on the white car
Trans in, notice all the extra spot welds
Coolers and carbon fiber driveshaft
Getting the bumpers and fenders fitted
Rear bumper on
Fitting the titanium exhaust
Test fitting doors
Fitting the splitter
Coin slot , 100yen sticker, and 1 man button
Victor and Merritt talking about the car
More test fitting parts
Tailights in
Working on the rollcage. Adding the SCCA required elements



The FIA rollcage did not have all the elements we needed to race it in World Challenge. Instead of cutting it out and starting all over, we built a cage within the cage.
Its a pink box in the middle to cover the G .... sensor
Getting closer
A couple of spare engines
Jungle gym
Wing, bumpers, sideskirts on.
From the front, the hood is not installed
During the build process, there is a lot of fitting, taking apart, fitting again. Making sure that everything interacts. In the case of the race car, we wanted to make sure that a lot of the parts were easy to remove and replace in case of damage.

The race rig getting stickered
More stickers
All stickered up
Stickers going on the car
Windows in, stickers on. Almost ready for World Challenge
Its a $19,000 box from Japan
One Super Taikyu spec RB26. Spare turbos, ready to go
During one test in 2005, we blew up an RB26. We packaged the engine up, and sent it to Japan to have Nismo rebuild it.  We got it back, I think it was the day we were leaving. Right on time.

Loaded up and headed East

Both the cars, all the spares were loaded and we headed out for our six week journey. Our first stop was going to be Roebling Road for a test weekend, then Sebring, and St. Petersburg. Stay tuned for whatever part of this story interests me next.
Currently... A Glimpse...

Dusty R34 GT-R
This weekend, while moving the R34 GT-R, the red car, I shot this video of the Motec dash.  The car was in the race rig, so it gets a little bit of a weird echo.  It had been a few years since it ran.  I love the throttle response, and exhaust note of an unmuffled inline six cylinder engine.

The engine is fairly stock inside. 580 whp the last time on the dyno. There are some tricks. Titanium exhaust from the turbo outlet tubes back. No mufflers or resonators anywhere.
Yes that switch says "Motec system exhaust"