What better way to start our throwback collaboration than by beginning with the very first feature i ever wrote for Estblshd way back in 2012! I remember first seeing this car at a Dyno day i had organised on behalf of JDMST. I was lucky enough to have a good chat with the owner at the time and it was also the same day when the owner of Estblshd, Reece asked me if i would like to join the team and write for them.
Enjoy the throwback feature
- Daniel Novak.
Beautiful In Blue - The Daily Driven R34 GTR V-Spec II
When I first laid eyes on this masterpiece of Japanese engineering I knew it was something special and I would be in for a treat. When the JDMST x RTR Dyno day was featured on Estblshd recently there was a lot of talk about this Bayside Blue Skyline. Why the interest? Was it the heritage of the GTR badge? Could it be the white 19" VOLK TE37's that commanded the eye’s attention? Or was it the roar of the engine as pumped out the highest KW figure on the day as the RB26 Twin-Turbo engine’s roar exploded through the HKS Super Turbo cat-back? If i was to take a guess it would be all of the above and so much more as you’ll see from the photos.
Owner Shaun talks me through his mighty beast, after reading through his spec list I knew I was talking to a true enthusiast in every sense of the word and that there would be a reason for the route he has taken, it has been very specifically built and tuned, poked and prodded to make it possibly Victoria’s best looking and performing daily driven R34 GTR. That’s right it’s his DAILY! No sitting in a garage under covers getting played with once a week. This GTR hits the streets every day rain, hail or shine.
Once purchased Shaun drove the car to a truck depot in Perth (where it was to be safely transported back to Melbourne) after driving the car for an extended period he was concerned with the excessive turbo shuffle it had. “The car really sounded like an old steam-train, it just didn’t feel or sound right” says Shaun. After the car arrived in Melbourne, it was booked straight in to local GTR expert Chris of Racepace Motorsport. Chris and Shaun were both skeptical about all of the modifications the car had. With Tomei, SARD, HKS, Greddy and Nismo items bolted on throughout both thought there was every chance they GTR would be under taking surgery and removing a number of these items to make sure the car was performing in top shape for its new owner. This has always been a philosophy of Chris and the Racepace team and one worthy of the GTR and its new owner.
So Chris started from scratch and totally re-tuned the Apexi Power FC ECU, and to his surprise, the car put down an amazing total of 391kw @ 22psi on the Racepace RWD Dyno.
This certainly was surprising and showed that the combination of the many tuning parts actually worked really really well together. However, they did find a downside. The HKS 2530 turbo twins were really struggling to hold boost at a consistent level and just wanted to keep making more and more boost and, subsequently, more and more power! It would have been easy to get caught up in the KW figure and push on for power.
But as Shaun explains, If you look at the boost curve you will see it starts to settle at around 18psi but continues to slowly build up to 22psi through the remainder of the dyno run. Shaun specifically asked Chris for a track safe tune, something he could lean on repeatedly every day, without having to worry; so it was re-tuned with a max boost of 18psi which resulted in a still very respectable and still very enjoyable 349kw at the rear wheels. But there was still more that was needed to be done says Shaun.
Specificly the noise need to be changed. The car was purchased with a Tomei Extreme Ti cat back and man, these things are loud!! So in order to quieten the car down without impacting the great flow characteristics of the Tomei exhaust Shaun started to research and see what he could find as a suitable replacement. After looking at a number of aftermarket systems he settled on the HKS Super Turbo exhaust system. The main advantage he says is with the HKS system is that it runs an 85mm pipe diameter all the way through, just like the Tomei, however the mufflers both middle and rear, are much larger oval mufflers that have a much more significant impact on noise reduction, removing the sound and making it easier on teh ears, but not robbing the car of the power.
The car is now far more pleasurable to be stuck in peak hour traffic in, and the ear bleeding drone it used to have is now gone but will still come alive when the right foot gets heavy. The other issue he encountered was the fumes coming into the cabin, which are apparently common for a car with aftermarket cams and an oil catch venting to atmosphere. In order to resolve this Shaun custom made an adapter to fit where the catch can filter was so he could attach a length of 16mm heater hose and looped that back around to the rear turbo inlet, problem solved and no more fumes in the cabin.
Because Shaun uses the car as a daily driver, commuting to and from work most days it had to be reliable and somewhat comfortable so Shaun got exactly what he was after, safe reliable power and retained all the qualities that will make the car perform on the track and for a car that is still not a ‘weekender’ that is what its was all about.