2013 marks the first year that Nissan Motorsports (NISMO) fielded a factory backed GT-R GT3 race car. The GT-R program has always valued endurance racing as a method to refine their cars as well as the engineers responsible for developing them but they’ve always fielded various versions of the street car. This year they decided to make the jump to GT3. Here’s how it turned out:
Japanese D1 pro drifter and JGTC pro driver Nobuteru Tanaguchi recently took his HKS tuned 500+ horsepower Toyota GT-86 to Tsukuba Circuit to test the new Yokohama AD08R tire with a time attack session. The car was driven in its D1GP specifications which is more of an all-around balanced setup. HKS decided to tune the stock FA20 engine with one of their GT superchargers instead of retrofitting a Subaru EJ25 like Ken Gushi’s Formula D and Tetsuya Hibino’s D1GP cars. The AD08R’s ended up being 2 seconds a lap faster than the Yokohama AD08’s. I believe Tanaguchi now holds the FT-86 record at Tsukuba for street and semi-slick tires with this car.
Tanaguchi also had to see how the tires did while drifting:
Toyota has several amazing models that are sold internationally but not here in the US. I think they would be commercial successes here with little to no modifications on Toyota’s part outside of passing emissions and crash test standards. The Hilux diesel should be the top priority and then there are these Hiace vans. All of the Japanese carmakers have recently tried to revitalize their van sales by with restyling and slightly sportier options. I’m sure soccer moms everywhere appreciate the effort, but I think we’re ready for a return to the glory days of the masculine van. I’m not advocating for this simply because I’m a huge A-Team van fan. These vans would fill a niche that we won’t let trucks fill. There are a lot of people who daily drive pickup trucks because they occasionally need to haul bulky objects the do not fully utilize the gross vehicle weight and towing capacities that heavy body-on-frame construction affords. What the average consumer needs is something lighter, more efficient and more flexible which really should be a unibody pickup truck. We’ve seen a unibody truck here in the US in the form of the Honda Ridgeline which is a great vehicle but a huge sales failure. The reason why it didn’t sell well was due to the fact that the pickup truck is too sacred of an institution to us to soften with unibody construction and storage bins. That’s where I think masculine vans like the Hiace can fit into the market. Here’s something that has the utility to haul larger things, is good on gas and most importantly is cool to drive in a different way than a pickup truck is cool to drive. Toyota sells them with mid-size gas and diesel engines in automatic and manual. I will be trending #MasculineVan on Twitter to convince the world that this is good for them. In the meantime here is a Toyota Hiace drift van built by Japanese tuner Car Revolution Style:
I’m so glad Motor Trend posted the videos of the interviews they did with the engineers and assembly workers of the Lexus LFA. The LFA can be considered a uniquely Japanese approach to building a supercar. Nowhere is that more evident than when you talk to the people responsible for bringing it to life and hearing them explain the parts of Japanese culture that influenced them.