Nissan has been very good to me over the years, access to the DNA Motorsports Museum has been basically on tap whenever I wanted it. While I am not a self-professed Nissan addict, this lair that houses the crème de la crème of all things Nissan will forever draw me back everytime I am in the neighborhood.
Now these photos are not exactly new, they are indeed from past adventures of 2015, however the awe factor any of these cars have is still there and the memories of this particular shoot are as vivid as they were on April 6, 2015. Initially I was only here to get up close and personal with the Pennzoil R34 JGTC machine just out of shot above.
I was offered up a morning to have the whole place to myself and I managed to wrap the Pennzoil shoot up with plenty of time to spare. While chatting with the mechanics they asked if I wanted to shoot another car as there was no point in leaving early! Well they didn’t need to twist my arm much on that one. The two cars that usually sit either side of this one were out on maintenance, which allowed me ample space with a full frame and 17mm lens to shoot, it was meant to be.
I have always been head over heels for JGTC and SuperGT cars, wild aero, massive rubber, and crazy liveries make for a winning combination. Also throw in the fact that Gran Turismo is where many of us first fell in love with these machines and those fond memories of thrashing around Grand Valley Speedway all come rushing back (for me anyway).
This example is the 2008 Xanavi Nismo R35 GT-R #23 machine, and despite all the cars at the DNA museum being historically significant, the staff here were very (oddly) relaxed about access to these crown jewels. There was only one rule, shoes off if I wanted to climb inside.
The inside is like something out of a fighter jet, and you really need to remind yourself that this was cutting edge 10 years ago, but still is utterly mind-blowing even today. Inside the cockpit the driver sits in a cocoon of carbon fibre, with every adjustable setting to the car a mere hand’s reach away. Japan does nothing by halves and this is the proof!
I love the minimalist approach to the steering wheel, and the fact that there is still a spot for the ‘drink’ button above other options that could have ended up there.
Anyone that knows me well will be the first to tell you I am spec-ignorant, numbers and valve sizes bore me to death, but I do know a pretty engine bay when I see one! A few of the basics I do have down, so here goes. This powerhouse is a 4.5l V8 producing 365kW with an angry idle of 3500rpm. The VK45 sounds amazing wound right out with peak power coming on at 8200rpm. All this mated up to a six-speed sequential gearbox, and weighing in at 1100kg meant one thing in the 2008 SuperGT championship – dominance.
The engine sitting in the hole appears tiny, although with an aggressive aero kit and 18×13-inch Volk wheels wrapped with sticky Bridgestone tyres it is no wonder. The shoes on this car are impressive as are the stoppers hidden beneath!
While this car is no longer in the heat of battle and is considered a bit of an oldie, Nissan still offers up very little on this machine. Technology flows from one year into the next so guarding secrets is top priority in the cut-throat world of SuperGT.
As my guide Azusa mentioned, ‘we like to keep our secrets of success close to our heart, and that goes for our past successes as well’. It seems that long ago Nissan found the winning formula in motorsport so I don’t ever blame them from remaining tight-lipped on things.
While SuperGT is something I have only witnessed once, getting to see the cars driven in anger, and then having the opportunity to see them up close at a facility like this is epic. Soaking up all the little details, and being allowed unbridled access to these cars is something that reminds me why I take photos. Shoots like this one are truly ‘pinch me’ moments that will remain in the memory bank for a long long time.