1996 Nissan Skyline GT-R R33 – White Lightning


Kobayashi-san, the owner of the time-attack-oriented GT-R, has done what every car enthusiast on the market dreams of doing-building their dream project car. He has actually done it, making sure that every single detail is the greatest it could possibly be,. That’s what probably differentiates him from you and me. The result is undoubtedly one of the best BCNR33’s ever created. This car impressed us to no end whenever we dropped by the Do-Luck HQ in Yokohama to check out and also a chat with Ito-san, Do-Luck’s president, founder, as well as the man entrusted to finely tune the Skyline’s engine management.

Kobayashi is really only interested in a very important factor, and that’s achieving the fastest time possible at Fuji Speedway. Like many time-attack guys, his passion has unavoidably converted into obsession. As an alternative to let his obsession span out over a lot of years he addressed the whole car in one fell swoop. Mind you, it has been a long time from the making. Things tend to take a long time when you tackle every single area of the job yourself. Then again, as they say, “If you want a job done well, do it yourself! ” Owning your own machine shop sort of offers you an advantage-gross understatement, we know-but getting the means is half the position. It was the underside from the car we checked out first as Ito kindly use it on one of his lifts and raised it. We have probably never spent so much time admiring the underside of a car as much as we did with this R33. As you can see from your pictures, it is possible to sort of realize why. First, up was the chassis. Kobayashi stripped the car right down to its bare shell, taking his time to remove all unnecessary ancillaries and sound deadening before you go wild with all the spot welder. Strategic regions of the unibody were re-welded to help increase stiffness, followed by one of the more serious rollcages we have seen on a JDM car-admittedly an area the Japanese are always a bit behind on. The thick-gauge pipes were welded set up and gusseted to the pillars for extra bracing but it’s the actual titanium crossbars that close the ’cage across the door openings that caught our attention. Titanium is never really used in rollcage fabrication due to its softness, but Kobayashi wanted to add a touch of uniqueness to his car. Plus, he likes titanium, so that are we to evaluate. With the shell stiffened up and completed, it was the suspension that he or she turned his attention to next-as well as an area we appreciated while underneath the car. According to track, available grip, and satisfaction, all links were redesigned and custom fabricated, adding adjustability so the geometry may be finely tuned. Billet aluminum roll center adjusters were also area of the complex modifications, a critical detail for any serious suspension upgrade. Custom valved and set up Aragosta adjustable dampers followed, mated both front and rear to 18kg/mm Swift springs. These are still not fully dialed in; the automobile has only really had one shakedown test at Fuji Speedway since being assembled, so spring rates are something that might change. Braking was an area on which virtually no compromise is made; Kobayashi, like anyone who has ever driven at Fuji, knows all to well exactly what a hard test this challenging track is designed for brakes so he went with the best out there. Sitting on custom billet and anodized brackets that he or she designed and machined are a set of Super GT-sourced AP Racing calipers, six-pots fore and four-pots aft. They also only accept thick endurance pads, although these forged monoblock beasts are not only extremely light. The rotors, too, were custom made, 390 mm in the beginning and smaller 356 mm at the rear, featuring exactly the same sort of curved slotting while you often see on GT500 and GT300 racers. The main one-off details continue with the brake cooling ducts and even a custom billet oil filter relocation bracket that moves the filter canister into an easier-to-reach location. This takes us towards theresponsive and explosive lower to mid-rpm range, Fuji is a bit different. The faster layout means that engines can be manufactured to more extreme specifications, which happens to be precisely what Kobayashi did. Selecting the right of the best, he began to assemble his N1-based motor yourself, after first honing and boring out the block to just accept the larger diameter of the HKS forged pistons that make up the two.8L stroker kit he chose. This comes with H-section connecting rods and a fully counter-balanced billet crankshaft that pretty much produces the bulletproof bottom end you have to have on a car that gets driven for the max on a regular basis. The capacity increase to the oil sump guarantees that enough oil is always present to be picked up and circulated, helping eliminate oil starvation when the car pulls big g’s through the corners or under heavy breaking. Up top, Kobayashi ported and polished the exhaust and intake tracks to clean up casting imperfections and boost overall breathing. Valve gear upgrades followed with Tomei titanium retainers and Trust springs, all topped off with HKS 272-degree camshafts and adjustable cam gears. Supplying the big volume of compressed air is the Trust T88 single turbo conversion, which sits atop of the Trust headers, all controlled trough an HKS external wastegate currently full of a 1.5-bar spring. Seeing his skill at working with titanium, Kobayashi fabricated a big-bore 100mm front pipe and complete exhaust system to dump spent gases efficiently and without any sort of restriction. One look in the engine bay reveals other one-off touches that only this sort of passionately and accurately built engine would incorporate. Things like the titanium heat baffling on the T88’s “hot side” and even the special coating to the turbo itself, done as a heat insulator and also to boost airflow, are such items. One touch we liked was the polished intake pipe, which arches outward to fit the large diameter of the Blitz mesh cone filter it’s connected to. This joins more custom piping needed to mount the HKS intercooler in place, which all connects towards the Trust intake plenum. Sard’s latest generation of multi-hole high-pressure injectors, most commonly utilized on the R35’s VR38, were selected for his or her accuracy and response rate. Due to their shorter length as well as other design, they required a custom fuel rail, something that Kobayashi whipped up on his CNC machine. These 750cc/min squirters are kept topped off by a pair of Nismo fuel pumps and are all controlled by the custom-mapped F-Con V Pro ECU. Here is where Ito of Do-Luck started in, putting in some serious time on the dyno to not only maximize power and torque, but in addition make the whole setup very responsive. Easily allowing the engine to churn out a healthy 750 hp, despite the fact that only a low boost setting has been dialed in for now, limited to 1.5 bar. Aside from the fact that the motor can and will be running more boost eventually, Kobayashi was able to lap Fuji at 1: 47.92, which puts him comparable to the sort of times big-name tuners are achieving. With the cooling sorted out because of the custom radiator and oil cooler, it was the driveline that wasattempting to shave off precious tenths at the track, so dumping the stock five-speed box in favor of a six-speed Hollinger sequential was an easy decision-one we, too, would have adopted a “money is no object” build similar to this. The smaller and lighter box was fitted with an OS Giken triple-plate clutch and held in place with a custom crossmember that has been fixed onto the chassis on a pair of hard Teflon bushes. Even a carbon propeller shaft was fitted, shedding a lot of rotational mass and therefore boosting pickup and throttle response for your true race car feel. Along with the Nismo front and ATS rear LSDs, the final drive was also shortened to create full use of the handpicked gearbox ratios within the Hollinger. Kobayashi approached Hasemi Motorsport for help on the look of the car, a detail that like the rest of this R33 was completely driven by function as an alternative to form. That’s why the N1 bumper up front sports a large integrated front spoiler/splitter section that extends and swoops upward around the corners of the bumper itself. A set of canards is likewise added however the real downforce is generated through the dry carbon diffuser, which is so rigid and well braced underneath the car that it’s able to support the weight of an average Japanese guy standing on it. More custom carbon parts follow with the aero side and hood skirts and, of course, the rather massive Super GT rear wing. To help heat escape from your engine bay, an air outlet, similar to the Nismo R34 Z-tune’s, was worked into the top corners of the front fenders, putting the finishing touch as to what is one purposeful-looking GT-R!

1996 nissan skyline GT R R33 custom roll center adjusters

1996 nissan skyline GT R R33 aragosta adjustable coilovers

1996 nissan skyline GT R R33 greddy T88 turbocharger

It’s not before you open the driver-side door that you simply realize the doors are carbon fiber too, again helping shave more weight from the car and at the same time making the entry procedure into the tight cockpit that much more special. Spartan is the simplest way to describe the interior, which has been kept quite simple with the addition of a couple of modules in some places, like the air/fuel readouts on the carbon center console, the HKS EVC boost controller or the HKS lap timer, which still proudly displays the time of that particular first lap attack at Fuji. Kobayashi sits on a carbon-Kevlar-shelled Bride bucked and steers the car through the OMP race steering wheel, shifting sequentially with the gears through a custom gear lever and shift knob.

Once Ito turns the boost Kobayashi has the potential to rival the quickest tuner GT-Rs at Fuji Speedway, cars like the ATTKD R34 along with the Auto Gallery Yokohama R32. This very unique R33 is one Skyline we will be keeping our eyes on throughout 2013!