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Saturday, June 7, 2008

2009 Nissan GTR - The Leg End Is Real

Article -

In 2001, two years after the demise of the Skyline GT-R R34, rumors began to surface across the globe of a new GT-R being developed by Nissan's top engineers. As information of the new GT-R began to slowly trickle in (mostly rumors) the initial reports weren't looking promising. Immediately brought to attention was that the once proud Skyline name longtime associated with the GT-R family was rumored to be non-existent on the new R35. Would the removal of the "Skyline" badge spell disaster for the next generation or perhaps invoke a less performance-orientated vehicle? While rumors continued at a frenzied pace as Nissan kept tight-lipped on the development, another surprise twist began to spread of Nissan planning the use of a naturally aspirated 3.0L engine with an automatic transmission brought a sense of frustration among hard-core GT-R fans. And, who could blame them? The once proud Skyline owners and hard-core fans who relished the GT-R's monarchy within motorsports were stabbed in the heart by a shocking vision that Nissan relented to the pressures of the economy and developed a car that stressed comfort over performance. The new GT-R was looking less appealing with every rumor that spread.

The R34, known to be the last of the great GT-R family, paid a fitting tribute to the GT-R's 15-year dominance, winning numerous victories in the racing scene. The deadly combination of the RB26DETT engine, AWD platform and ATTESA E-TS Pro setup proved superior among Skyline owners and a virtual nightmare among those who dared to cross its path. In a fitting tribute to the R34, NISMO and Nissan developed the final production R34, known as the NISMO R34 GT-R Z-tune. The vehicle emerged in 2000 and was limited in production with only 20 produced in the world. Known as the cream of the crop within the GT-R family, the R34 GT-R Z-tune developed 500 hp from the factory and was brazenly dubbed "the strongest road-going car in the world." The vehicle enjoyed a short stint of fame before finally being put to sleep by Nissan-forever lost in the books of automotive history.

On Oct. 24 2007, all rumors were finally put to rest as Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. announced the launch of the new GT-R. Powered by a 3.8L twin-turbo mill, producing 480 ps brought a sigh of relief to the many who dreaded the thought of an N/A powered GT-R. Among the many GT-R enthusiasts and past owners was Shinichi Kobayashi, owner of Matchless Crowd Racing (MCR) located in the heart of Saitama-ken, Japan. Kobayashi-san is regarded as one of the top tuners among the Skyline community, offering his knowledge and services to Skyline GT-R owners who build everything from mild to wild. Perhaps the most infamous car within the MCR fleet is his red Skyline R34 GT-R. The all-purpose street machine uses an HKS 2.8L stroker and twin GT-RS turbines, propelling this beast to the tune of 650 hp. Kobayashi-san, no stranger to the world of circuit racing, is a seasoned racer who takes pride in building and driving his own demo cars at variousmotorsport competitions.

Nissan heritage runs deep within the blood of Kobayashi as he's driven, owned and built everything from track-prepped 400hp N/A powered Nissan 350Zs to 1,000hp Skyline GT-Rs. Kobayashi-san first entered the world of performance tuning and his passion of racing by wrenching on the Skyline known as the very first GT-R. The legendary KPGC-10 is called the "Hakosuka" in Japanese, which means boxcar for its square-shaped design. "I took my first Skyline to the track and from that point on I was thoroughly convinced that this was anything more than your average commuter car. I've owned more Skylines than I can recall but the engineering that went into creating those cars is just amazing. The R34's RB26DETT is an excellent platform from the factory but the great thing about this engine is the potential with a few modifications. From drag to circuit racing, all a weekend road racer has to do is simply add on an exhaust, put some quality suspension on the car and a set of good tires and he's clocking faster time than some of the more modified vehicles."

He added, "I've been waiting for the new Skyline since the first news of its release." Kobayashi-san says as he details about saving his money for the Dec. 2007 debut in Japan of the new GT-R. Within weeks of landing on the showroom floor, Kobayashi-san rolled into the dealership with $82,000 in hand and drove away with his pride and joy, a red (MCR trademark color) R35 GT-R. While spending time in Japan we had an opportunity to conduct a candid interview with Kobayashi on his thoughts on owning Japan's newest supercar. While the future of the GT-R is still too early to predict, the battle to break into the tuning world of the GT-R was evident at this year's Tokyo Auto Salon with MCR's top rival Mines Japan claiming to have the inside track on cracking the ECM codes for the VR38DETT engine. The official aftermarket parts racehas begun.