Text by Max Gerson, Photos by Corey Davis
Love it or hate it, The Fast and Furious movie franchise characterizes the modern tuner generation. While we might not identify with all the tuning concepts the movie showed (see Suki’s pink Veilside Honda S2000 from the 2001 movie), the "Fast and Furious” movies parallel what both enthusiasts and the automotive industry at large, have been up to in the past 12 years. (Yes, it’s 12 years since the first movie in the series debuted; feeling old yet?).
Let’s draw some parallels to better highlight the changes in the past 12 years. The American benchmark for performance, the Ford Mustang in 2001 made 260HP in GT guise (and a paltry 193HP for the base V6). Today, the same base V6 Ford Mustang makes more horsepower than the 2001 GT version (305HP), and the Mustang GT makes 420HP. If you have the cash, you can even get a 200MPH Shelby version of this very same Ford Mustang. That’s progress.
In the 12 years since its 2001 theatrical debut, we watched Brian O’Connor (played by Paul Walker) grow up, and the same can be said for the growth of the U.S. car market during that same timeframe.
In 2001 when the first "Fast and Furious” movie debuted, Nissan’s most powerful car was a Maxima! That all changed in 2008 when Nissan delivered the first R35 GT-R in California. Since then the GT-R has become a commanding force in the U.S. tuning scene. No longer having to dream about importing this JDM (Japanese domestic market) legend, local enthusiasts could simply scoop up one of these beasts at a local Nissan dealer. With generous amounts of every ingredient needed for an inspired performance car (speed, grip, looks, technology, affordability), it’s no surprise to find out that a very special Nissan GT-R is now featured in the upcoming "Fast and Furious” movie.
R’s Tuning in Irvine, California, built this GT-R and built it for one purpose: Time Attack. This particular GT-R caught the eye of the "Fast and Furious” production team at SEMA 2012, and the decision was made to include this car in Fast and Furious 6. We are pleased to see that the production team has gone from living their lives "a quarter mile at a time” to "one circuit at a time.”
What is Time Attack? Time Attack is a competitive motorsports trial with its roots in the northeastern part of Japan’s Kanto region. There, local tuners competed, bare-knuckle boxing style, against one another on the 1.27-mile Tsukuba circuit. Cars competing in these time attacks are built solely for speed and agility, and boost and all-wheel-drive are coveted.
Over the years, the Tsukuba circuit was hailed as a Japanese landmark icon as tuners became obsessed with setting new records. In 2004 Super Street and Sport Compact Car (R.I.P.) magazines held the first-ever professionally organized North American Time Attack event. Time Attack events created an opportunity for domestic, European, and Japanese enthusiasts to run their cars heads-up in an organized format. In the decade since that first event, Time Attack events have spread like wildfire, and it should come as no surprise that this caught the eye of the "Fast and Furious” production team.
When you look at this matte blue GT-R, you see this machine has all the presence that a movie hero car should. A very modern exterior design balances with purposeful diffusers, lovely louvers, and a full motorsports interior. We spoke with Ricky Kwan owner of R’s Tuning about this Time Attack build.
Time Attack presents unique challenges, and even within that framework, Kwan built this GT-R different from most. With speed, handling, and reliability at the core of any time attack car, many tuners choose to save weight wherever possible. However, this was not so for Kwan, who emphasized safety as one key build goal. Kwan says, "…[M]ost time attack builds are fighting for the last ounce of weight savings, so it turned out the car would be paper thin, and some of them even risk their own safety….We don’t do any of that. We build the car with maximum safety in mind.”
Kwan clearly exercised some progressive thinking in his approach to building this GT-R. Other than being at peace with the weight penalty required to protect the driver, the other main focus of this build was reliability. He adds, "The whole point of this car is to do lap after lap until the gas tank is empty without experiencing any overheating or other issues at the track.”
Maintaining a focus on safety and reliability encompassed the first phase of this build. To that end, Kwan decided that 650AWHP is enough for now. "The build of stage one is keeping the engine and transmission stock so the power is limited to 650AWHP. With the cooling system we have right now, it can be tuned to 720AWHP on 100 octane, but it’s better to be safe than sorry; plus power isn’t what we’re focusing on right now. In the future, we’ll build it up to 800 to 900AWHP.”
While many tuners typically go all-in on a build right out of the box, it’s refreshing to see Kwan’s long vision play out in this time attack build.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R represents a high water mark for the U.S. car market. In short, the powers that be finally understand and recognize enthusiasts’ needs, and they delivered the GT-R, a high-tech, high horsepower car that was denied to us for years. In showing levels of sophistication equal to the car, Fast and Furious 6 has evolved to now showcase a high-level, time attack build executed by a team that understands how to build racecars the right way.
Fast and Furious 6 is scheduled for release in theaters May 24, 2013. Our fingers are crossed that neither Vin Diesel’s nor Paul Walker’s characters decide to launch Kwan’s G-TR off a closing drawbridge, to escape a group of bad guys!
BUILD AT A GLANCE
The R’s Tuning Custom Cooling System
The R’s Tuning Air to Water Intercooler
The R’s Tuning Twin-core Transmission Oil Cooler
The R’s Tuning XL Power-Steering Cooler
The R’s Tuning XL Radiator with Engine Oil Cooler
The R’s Tuning Godzilla Exhaust System
Switzer P800 Turbo Kit
SP Engineering Dyno Tune
HKS Resonated Y-pipe
The R’s Tuning Camber Arms
JRZ RS Pro Coilovers
Carbon Ceramic Rotors with custom brackets by Weapons Grade Performance
Endless Brake Lines
Endless ME20 brake pads
Project Mu 335 Brake Fluid
Project Kics Wheel Spacers
Project Kics Neo Chrome Lug Nuts
Whiteline Front Sway Bar
Whiteline Rear Sway Bar
Whiteline Front Sway Bar Link
Whiteline Rear Sway Bar Link
Yokohama Advan GT 20x11 ET5 (Racing White)
Yokohama Advan GT 20x11 ET5 (Semi-Gloss Black)
Yokohama Advan A005 290/710/20 Racing Slicks
Volks Racing RE-30 19×11 ET25 (Flat Black)
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 345/30/19 All around
BenSopra Body Kit
BenSopra GT wing
Seibon Dry Carbon Doors
Seibon Carbon Fiber Cooling Panel Set
Seibon Carbon Fiber Engine Cover
AMS Performance Dry Carbon Roof
AMS Performance Dry Carbon Trunk
The R’s Tuning Godzilla Roll Cage
Seibon Carbon Fiber door sills
Seibon Carbon Fiber door sill trims
MCR steering wheel with carbon fiber shifters
DCT MS custom Sparco steering wheel
Sparco Circuit Racing Seat