Monday, September 23, 2019

R’s Meeting 2019

As much as Japan spoils you when it comes to car culture certain things never get old, and the sight of rows and rows of GT-Rs slowly filling Fuji Speedway parking areas on a late summer morning is definitely one of them.

With over 2000 models ranging from all eras R’s Meeting is unquestionably the largest gathering of its kind in the world. Several owners even drive overnight from distant prefectures to attend.

After last year’s massive two-post coverage this time I decided to take it easy, enjoy the day and just take photos of things that truly caught my attention.

In all honesty the organizers could have used a bit more creativity and mix things up: the last two editions of the meeting have been absolutely identical, both in terms of events (like talkshows, etc), but also the layout of the stands was exactly the same. 

Remember the silver pair of 400R and Z-tune from Global Auto? Well, here they are both in the exact spot as last year!

But fair enough, considering that even the newest GT-R is over 10 years old, it is understandable how hard has become to constantly come up with new parts and ideas.

This, however, doesn’t mean that the event lacked of interesting cars or new additions from the previous editions. One of the highlights was definitely the R33 LM making a rare public appearance: who doesn’t remember this car being the star in the opening movie of the original Gran Turismo?

The ever-present Mine’s stand had on display their BNR34 and R35 machines. I was very impressed by Aki’s 1.5 step engine and I wonder how much faster their own democar is.

The engine bay comes as spartan is it gets, and those with sharp eyes will notice both the lack of chassis plate and covered serial number, thus making the car non-street legal. I don’t mind the spartan look, but surely wished they’d swapped those rubber hoses with something just a bit nicer.

There were a total of three 400R on display, but the one that caught my attention the most was this Deep Marine Blue model.

This is chassis #38 and while it had some minor modifications it was still in great condition.

Another “famous” BCNR33 was Nismo factory driver and Super GT champion Matsuda-san’s own car in Super Clear Red. This is a fully HKS tuned car with V CAM and a custom interior with bespoke seats. As nice as it looks, this car is almost daily driven and has close to 200,000km.

In a sense Matsuda-san’s car is a good mix of the two very distinct “stock vs tuned” philosophies that often GT-R owners choose from.

While there has never been shortage of tuning ideas the number of companies offering restoration services has definitely increased in recent years. Famous shop Kanazawa Body Repair was even running a small demo, pulling apart a R32 live in front of spectators.

I also made sure to drop by the pits and check a bit of the trackside action. The morning parade is interesting, but the time attack machines are a lot more exciting to watch, and Fuji is definitely the place to put these monsters through their paces.

Omori Factory was, as always, present with their fleet of Dark Metal Grey democars. They also announced the re-release of the iconic LMGT4 in 19x9.5 and 19x10.5, probably upsetting a few sellers on Yahoo! Auctions as the asking price for older version of the model recently reached insane figures.

There was, however, a much more interesting part that wasn’t really advertised or announced, and it was fitted on their BCNR33 Grand Touring democar: a proper carbon fiber airbox intake duct.

As some of you might be aware, due to slight differences in height, the Nismo inlet pipes don’t leave enough clearance to fit the standard OEM duct. For years this issue was solved with a rather rudimentary solution by simply mold and soften the plastic of the airbox with a heat gun. This new part (although still a prototype with unknown, if any, release date) addresses the issue and provides perfect OEM fitment.

Another R’s meeting is in the books and with autumn around the corner I look forward to cooler temperatures and some well planned long drives in the mountains.

As for Fuji speedway, I will probably be back in November for the joint DTM-Super GT exhibition race and, of course, my favorite event of the year, Nismo Festival in December.

Until next time.

1 comment:

  1. are you sure that nismo is making the 19" LM GT4?