Saturday, February 16, 2019

Summer 2019 Nürburgring Trip

If you are a loyal reader of this blog you will probably know that I am a happy owner of a R34 V-spec II Nür. Over the past few years the “Nür” badge has become a bit of an icon (or bragging tool) amongst the owners community, but back in January 2002, when Nissan announced the swan song of the BNR34, it was meant to be a nod to the most demanding circuit in the world where some of the final testing of the car was done. 

From there the popularity of the Nürburgring has exponentially increased year by year; today a full lap on the Nordschleife is the ultimate performance benchmark amongst car manufacturers. The circuit also hosts the most grueling GT competition in the world, the Nürburgring 24 Hours - a race I have fallen in love with (and one that our beloved R34 has challenged for several years). Simply put, the ‘Ring is a Mecca for motorsports enthusiasts and after a couple of years of procrastination, I finally booked my tickets for a visit in summer 2019!

This was long overdue and one of my projects for this year: more experiences, more driving and more time time spent actually living the car passion. Being trackside and watching professional GT racing is one of the things I enjoy the most and living in Japan has allowed me to visit circuits like Tsukuba, Fuji Speedway and Motegi several times. Ironically, while Germany can be reached by plane with ease from almost anywhere in Europe, now that I live on the other side of the world getting to Frankfurt requires a 10+ hours haul flight; I did however planned a visit back home as well this summer, so this will be a great opportunity to combine both trips.

I will be at the Nürburgring for a full week: first to watch live the 24 Hours race and then for some track lessons, taxi laps and sightseeing around the circuit. The Eifel region offers some great sceneries and of plenty automotive and motorsport related activities and museums. I look forward to documenting my trip and other few surprises along the way, so please stay tuned!

Until next time.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

King of the ‘Ring

Hard to believe, but the R35 GT-R is now over 10 years old; I clearly remember seeing it presented to the world at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007. Today, it's still a car with great presence, albeit being a common sight around the world. The same, however, cannot be said for the Nismo version, especially when fitted with the N Attack Package.

Former JGTC Champion Michael Krumm set the Nürburgring record for production cars in 2013 with a car fitted with the same options list. I was lucky to see the record-setting model at the Factory many years ago, before it got tucked away inside Nismo garage. Krumm is a owner himself of a white Nismo R35 fitted with the kit he helped develop - must be a nice feeling!

I ran into this brand new (and very red) MY18 model a few weeks ago during a visit to Omori Factory. The car was in for pre delivery inspection after being fitted with the top of the line A Kit.

The cost of ticking all the options boxes is absolutely eye watering: priced at ¥9,000,000 the A Kit is just few hundred thousands Yen shy of the sticker tag of a brand new R35 GT-R.

For that amount owners get dedicated carbon intercooler piping, a retouched ECM, upgraded front and rear L.S.D. units, carbon fenders and rear wing plus other aerodynamic improvements. Carbon Recaro bucket seats are added, while the rear seats are removed in the name of weight saving.

The biggest item, which accounts for roughly 30% of the final bill, must be the dedicated set of 4 way adjustable Öhlins dampers and shocks, which are basically a GT3 racer spec version adapted for the road. If this wasn’t enough, owners can also add in optional Willans harnesses and a carbon fiber gurney flap on the front hood that is for circuit use only. The full spec list can be found here.

Whether the performance benefits of the package are worth the price tag is up to the owners to decide, but they surely add character to a car that is already quite special.

Until next time.