Nismo Festival - An introduction

Every country has it's share of iconic annual automotive events. Porsche Rennsport Reunion in the US for example is one example of an iconic automotive motorsport inspired event dedicated to Porsche motorsport heritage, past and present with a show of all their iconic performance and race vehicles.

Perhaps the most iconic automotive event in Japan is the Nismo Festival. Held in the period between late November or early December every year, the Nismo Festival is an annual event in Japan to celebrate Nissan's motorsport history. I will be going to the event this year held on the 2nd  December 2018 So ahead of that I thought I'd give a general overview of what to expect there from the last 2 years I have visited.

The event is held at one of Japan's most iconic racetrack and Grand Prix tracks Fuji Speedway
Nestled in the foothills of The dormant strato volcano and highest mountain in Japan there couldn't be a more iconic location for such an event.

The event covers a whole host of attractions from histroic race cars from Nissan's private collection to discounted Nismo parts and merchadise, a display of the entire lineup of Nismo cars both from their new car lineup and the Omori Factory GTR demo cars and not to forget the various tuners and aftermarket manufactuers who develop parts for Nissan cars both classic and new.

So what can one expect? My first experience was in 2016 and I got up early to get a good parking spot as I was recommended by the guys at Best-R to go early not only for parking but also to lineup for some of these parts stalls becfore they open before all the good stuff gets stapped up.
So living in Kawasaki which is to the West of Tokyo I had a 20 click headstart on people coming from Tokyo and further east however none the less I got up at 4:00AM and was out the door by 4:30AM.

The drive by the Tomei Expressway heading west it takes just over an hour or so (2hrs if you are starting from the Tokyo area). First timers to the event will find that event itself actually begins on the expressway there. The expressway was littered with all manner of Nissan performace cars from GTRs to Z cars and Silvias just to name a few it is truly a sight to behold. Most of the attendees to this event will drive their pride and joy to the event.

I arrived in the early hours of the morning around 6:00AM. Many people were already begning to arrive with many GTRs and Z cars making up the majority.

The event fee is 2500 Yen if you pay at the gate or 2000 Yen if you pay online or at convenience store before hand plus a parking fee of 1600 Yen.

 I was among one of the first to arrive and was able to see everyone arriving in a steady flow. The variety of everyone's rides was truly amazing. Also the location, Fuji Speedway is truly an astonishing place. It is of an equal to places such as the Nurburgring definately has it's own magic with it's crisp, clean air and elevation it takes your breath away with every visit.

As can be seen from R30 Skylines, 90s series Micras to R32 GTSts the variety is endless.

In a carpark further up closer to the track there is reserved parking for Nismo road cars. These are cars sold as complete road cars through Nissan approved dealerships. Beginning with the 400R R33 and the little know SIlvia 270R up until the current lineup which is available globally. This R35 GTR Nismo with N-Attack package is a rarity even within the Nismo cars lineup. The option spec applied to the 'regular' GTR Nismo which is the specification which set that record production car lap back in 2013.

My first glimpse of the track itself was a serious fan boy moment. It is a something you really need to witness in the flesh.

When I arrived at the main event area situated behind the main grand stand most of the stalls were still making their final preparations. Upon taking a quick walk around this car caught my attention. One of the Final of the R-chassis and the last of the machines before JGTC (Japan Grand Touring Car Championship) changed it's name to Super GT. GT500 machines. This was the revised version from 2002-2003 with a completely new chassis and a switch to from the RB26DETT straight-6 to the VG30DETT V6 engine to reduce weight and center of gravity.

There are lines already forming outside some of the stil uponen stalls for people getting in the grab a bargain on discounted goods and parts. For the Nissan enthusiats either the Nismo Parts or Merchadise stalls are a must.

Parts such as this Solid Shift Kit for the Skyline 5 Spd gearbox often go for a steal from around 3000 Yen off RRP. You can get a further 10% off if you are a Nismo Club member.

The view of the main straight from the grand stand really gives you an idea of the scale of the track. At 1.4kms it holds the record for the longest straight of any GP track.

After making a couple of purchases I headed back down to the carpark to put the loot in my car by which time the previously relatively empty carpark is completely packed.

It is not all Nissan cars and there is alot of other stunning metal to be found there too like this track rat spec NA1 NSX was a beauty.

This is body kit is actually an OEM option by Impul for the Nissan Juke.

A reminder of my previous car, some Series 2 GTS25t Skyline. These are a real rarity in Japan now as most of them have moved abroad in particular Australia.

As this is an event held by Nismo it is also an opportunity for Nismo to make new public reveals and announcements as well. Such as the new Nismo Heritage Parts lineup for the R-chassis Skyline/GTRs which is a new project started by Nismo working with suppliers to resart production of alot of discontinued parts for our cars. Starting with the BNR32 they are expected to follow up progressivelty to the BCNR33 and BNR34 in following years.

During last year's (2017) Nismo Festival they revealed their full current range of Heritage Parts. To many of us this is a much needed service and we cannot thank Nismo and NIssan enough for providing us with many previously desperately needed replacement OEM parts.

Nismo set up a tent pavilion to display their range of parts and even provided a refurbished BNR32 body in white.

Everything in these photos appart from the body in white is now available to order through Nismo channels to keep our cars fresh and give them a much needed refresh.

 Yes even the fuel tank is back in production!

Another relief is that the RB26 N1 engine block is back in production. 

Adjacent to the Heritage Parts tent there was also the Omori Factory demo cars.

 The car which is part of the inspiration for my own build the tile of this blog. The Omori Factory BCNR33 Grand Touring Car. This was the third car following the R34 and R32 demo cars and followed a similar concept to the R32 demo car but further made use of the grand touring nature of the R33 Skyline to create not a track car but a long distance road car with the occasional spirited drive on the mountain roads. 

Under the bonnet lies a S2 RB26 Nismo motor. This is street focused line of Nismo Omori Factory's RB motors with a focus on smooth linear deliver of both power and torque producing 400hp. Also with an addition of the nismo titanium strut brace first designed for the Z-tune and then further strengthened. Some newer pieces were the Nismo inlet piping in dry carbon and a new Nismo dry carbon airbox duct.

The audio headunit is a current model JDM Pioneer system.

The interior has also been given a going through with an BNR34 steering wheel, pedals, Nismo gauges and replacement of trim which there is still stock left. The 5 spd gear box is retained to make use of the longer ratios which was more in tune with the GT nature of this demo car.

The first of the New generation of Nismo Demo cars. The famous Omori Factory BNR34 CRS (Clubman Race Spec). The concept for this car was a streetable car which one can drive to the track, pound around in and then drive home. So an all in one car.

The CRS being a track spec demo car includes a full bucket seat for the drivers side, 4 point harness and under the hood Nismos R2 RB26 powerplant. This motor develops 450hp and is throughly built to be unburstable on track lap after lap. Other parts unique to the CRS are the airbox finished in dry carbon and the Z-tune bonnet and ram air duct system.

I will do some more specific posts on both of these cars in a future post.

This next car was the other new announcement and official full reveal from Nismo.
The new R35 GTR Demo car. This package was developed for first generation R35 owners, so 2007~2010 mocel year cars to bring them up to current GTR performance levels.
Complete with a full aero package developed by Nismo's GT500 race engineers, a suspension update utlising shocks and scomponents from 2011~2014 model year R35s.

The pierce de resistance is the first series of Nismo built engine menus for the R35, the VR38DETT S1. 

The menu comprises of a full engine refresh where they will completely disassemble your engine clean up and replace components including new belts and hoses.
Next they will replce the turbos with MY14 stock R35 turbos, The cams from the GT3 race car and a custom S1 ECU to replace the stock ECU. Rasing the power level to just below the GTR Nismo.

Across the other side of the paddock I found Fuji Speedway's R35 safety cars on display

Next up is a peak into the pits. This is where you will find all manner of Nissan's race cars from their private collection and also their current race cars. They have ride along where you and I can sign up (tickets must be bought 1 month in advance of the event.) and also a circuit safari bus which allows visitor to get up close to the cars driving around on track.

 The 1995 and 1996 Nissan Skyline GTR BCNR33 LeMans cars which participated in the LeMans 24hrs race with their respective dirvers. 

The famous 1999 JGTC Nissan Skyline GTR BNR34 as driven my Erik Comas. The last of the JGTC/Super GT machines fitted with the RB26 engine.

GT3 R35 GTRs. Including the Bathurst 12hr race winner.

The MY17 Super GT GT500 Motul Nismo race car. SInce 2014 There was a shift in the Super GT GT500 class regulations in order to make way for a shared races with DTM GT500 cars are now built to DTM regulations. So gone are the NA V8s and V6s of the past and now all cars run a 4 cylinder turbo race motor made by each manufacture to DTM regulations. The monocoque is also a homolgated DTM spec carbon monoqoue.

A rare sight. an R31 GTS-R. A Group A comologation model. Built in limited numbers and exclusively in this colour they are a special model indeed. in road trim they produced over 200hp from their unique RB20DET-R engine and weighed around 1.2 tonnes they aere a weapon on and off the track. They came on the market just before the BNR32 was released so they have lived in the the R32s shadow and are less known about.

I'll let this spec sheet do most of the talking but the Nissan R390 GT1 was Nissan's reposnse to the CLK GTRs and 911 GT1s at Le Mans. With a 3.5 liter VRH35L NA V8 This was the replacement for the previous R33 GTR LM race cars at Le Mans. A little know fact but the V8 in this car the designs of which were sold to Tom Walkinshaw Racing who then used it as a basis to design the Mclaren MP4-12C road car's engine. One Road car exists as per GT1 regulations at the time and is kept at part of Nissan's private collection.

So concludes my introduction to one of the key automotive/motorsport events in Japan. The drive home like the way there I am joined by other fellow enthusiasts and their rides. It truly is a unique experience which I recommend to any enthusiasts. THere are many hire car services which rent out performance cars in Japan as well so you can rock up to the even like the locals in a Skyline, Z car or anything else of your choice.

Lastly I came accross this rare gem. Nismo's furst complete road car, the Nismo 400R. FItted with a RBX-GT2 engine derived from the R33 GTR LM race car is stoked up to 2.8 liters and produces 400hp. My car is equiped with an S1 engine which also produces 400hp but is at the standard 2.6 liter displacement so it was an interesting comparison between our cars. My car could keep up but his had abit more punch.