Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Holy Grail of RB26 Engines

The Omori Factory guys have recently added one more piece to their engine display collection in the showroom: one of the last RB26 DETT used in the JGTC GT500 class.

I am not exactly the kind of guy who gets too excited over technical details, but it’s always cool to get up and close with special things like this one. Hard to believe that this engine was buried for years inside Nismo facilities!

This engine was used to compete at the highest level in the top class of the all Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (later rebranded as Super GT in 2005) and is a complete development prototype spec. 

Starting from visual cues like the orange ultra light magnesium cam cover.

To the carbon fiber timing belt cover - every detail was clearly done with weight saving purposes.

The capacity of the engine was increased to 2,700cc and the block itself was cast from iron, but with a much higher nickel content.

The built on water and oil exchanger on the side of the block is surely noticeable in size and it served its purpose of keeping temperatures in check under the rigors of racing competitions.

On the right side of the engine there is an extended oil pump that looks heavy duty pretty much as you would expect on a dry sump power unit of this caliber.

As per former regulations the engine runs a twin turbo setup - next time I visit I have to ask more info about these two units. Maybe I can convince the guys to have them installed on my car? Well, at least I can dream on!

The fuel rail and intake plenum also look very much in development spec.

These engines were capable to produce incredibly power figures, but series regulations limited their output to 500ps with the use of air restrictors, so a big part of the efforts was focused on pick up and responsiveness.

I’ve been lucky to sit for a couple of passengers laps in the famous Pennzoil car at Fuji Speedway and the acceleration of these machines is absolutely brutal, not to mention the noise!

Nismo won championships back to back in 1998 and 1999 with the RB26 engine, but switched to the more compact and lighter VQ engine in the midst of the 2002 season. This was a tough decision and there are interviews floating around of Nismo engineers (as well as competitors) being asked about their feelings on a Skyline GT-R not running a RB26 engine and having mixed feelings about it. Eventually the choice paid off as Nismo reclaimed the title in 2003 with the famous #23 Xanavi livery car.

Luckily for the fans there are still 5 JGTC GT500 class car running these beautiful engines and Nismo does a great job in keeping them in tip-top condition and regularly display them at Nismo Festival. Preparations for this year’s edition are already underway, so make sure not to miss it!

Until next time.

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