Visiting a garage or a workshop is equally as exciting as travelling to a new country. You won't know what you'll see until you actually went in. When I was in Japan some time ago, I made my way to one of the world's famous tuner house, NISMO at Omori, before its relocation to Yokohama. A first time visit that is worth sharing to all Nissan fans out there.
Nismo is a racing/tuning division of Nissan, well known for its involvement in motorsports and obsession to develop, improve and provide higher level of performance tuning to the customers of Nissan owners. Omori Factory serves as the tuning center for GT-Rs, Fairladys and other selected Nissan models. Apart from providing service to customers, they are responsible for building competition car and complete cars. Some of the famous and limited GT-Rs were born here: Nismo 400R and GT-R R34 Z-Tune. Omori Factory is the holyground of Nissan motorsport.
The early Nismo Omori Factory was situated in Omori District, about 4min walking distance from the nearest Omorikaigan Station. To be honest, the plain and dull building of Nismo didn't convince me enough that there is anything interesting to see. From outside, you'd never thought it's a major tuning center for the Skylines.
Seeing a GT-R (R35) here tells me that I was at the right place. The GT-R had a nice number twenty-three on its Kawagoe plate. For some who might not know, #23 is Ni-San in Japanese which directly translates to the word Nissan. Meaningful car plates like this are favourites among Nissan enthusiasts. #2335, #··35, #··23, and so on.
Before setting my foot into the place, I noticed a very familiar bluish object. A Bayside Blue Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) spotted! It looks similar as the one I've posted before (Click Here!) but, they are indeed different. This GT-R had undergone Nismo Z-Tune treatment. Front bumper, front fender and hood were all CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Poylmer) made specially for Z-Tune and ...
... fitted with matching Nismo 19" LM GT4 wheels by RAYS Engineering. #34 on its Shinagawa plate completes the whole GT-R package too. Nothing can be more perfect than this. :D
Another familiar Bayside Blue Skyline came back from its drive test while I was inspecting the GT-R. It was a 25 GT-T (ER34), a variation of the Skyline family. GT-T doesn't wear any GT-R badge and less powerful compared to GT-R R34. Its 2.5L RB25DET NEO turbo I6 engine produces 280hp (R34 actually have 327hp but advertised as 280hp) on its rear wheels. Let's say the GT-T is a softer version of the mighty GT-R class.
The office behind the 25 GT-T showcased variety of interesting model kits and diecasts of their Nismo lineup ...
... and, some used mechanical components of the RB26 engine and memorable parts from the previous SuperGT GT500 race car. After much exploring outside, it was time to head into the Nismo store!
This was how the entrance area looked like. Simple area decorated with Nismo trademark red vinyl.
And on the left, a crowd of Japanese Nissan fans were there to watch the starting of Round 7 SuperGT race at Autopolis Circuit (30/9/2012) and were cheering for their favourite Nissan teams. Motorsport culture in Japan are in many ways different from Malaysia, car fans and enthusiasts here are more active and supportive with their national motorsport events.
There was also a Nissan race car on display in the Nismo building. I'll check on that later.
At the entrance area just now, there's a door on the right that lead to Nismo customer lounge area where customers can seek advice from Nismo technical advisor for potential performance upgrades based on their objectives and goals.
They get to choose a variety of tuning options from basic drivetrain, brakes and exhaust upgrades, to full-blown engine swapping and racing specification tuning. Choosing Nismo Omori Factory over other third party tuning shops is a big advantage because you receive original Nissan levels of high quality service.
More Nismo goodies and diecast collections could be found for sale here.
Looking over workshop area beside, were two recognisable sports car undergoing Nismo tuning. Full white Skyline GT-R R34 in its Z-Tune bodyform and ...
... Fairlady Z Type 380RS! The pumped up Nismo version of the 350Z is limited to only 300 cars. Its original 3.5L VQ35HR engine is stroked and bored to 3.8L outputting 350hp at 7200rpm and 397Nm at 4800rpm. The 380RS also receives exterior make over that creates more downforce and benefits stability at high speed and cornering.
And, now we know why the rear plate number is #380 instead of #350. :)
The race car on display was Team JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R GT1 (#23) driven by Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr. They won the Drivers' Championship title with this GT-R GT1 in 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship. It was an excellent result for Nismo, a Japanese representative contender against other European GT1 machines like Aston Martin DBR9, Ford GT1, Lamborghini Murcielago R-SV and Corvette C6.R.
In order to fulfill FIA GT1 technical regulation, Nismo completely redesigned the GT-R. The standard 3.8L VR38DETT twin-turbo V6 engine was replaced with 5.6L VK56DE natural aspirated V8 engine. 590hp and 649.9Nm of torque directing to its rear-wheel drivetrain.
Peeping through the sliding side window, was a fully stripped GT interior. Wonder how does it feel to sit in it and actually drive this ultimate GT-R machine? :)
That's a Volk Racing centerlock forged magnesium wheels by RAYS Engineering, commonly used in Nismo GT-R GT500 in SuperGT. All four wheels were wrapped in Michelin 31/71-R18 slick tyres connected to Brembo 6-pot calipers braking system.
After much drooling over Michael Krumm's machine, it was time to join the SuperGT fans and watch actual Michael Krumm in action!
It was probably one of the best race I watched in years. The most exciting part was on the final lap, where S Road GT-R was working real hard to steal the no.1 spot from Epson HSV-010 GT. Watch the video above and see how the fans reacted to the WIN!
Everyone left after the superb result by Nissan team in Round 7 Autopolis, leaving me an excellent position to grab few more shots. The Nismo employees also handed out Nismo posters and stickers to fans who stayed throughout the race. Great guys they are.
The winning car in 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship!
I had a memorable experience visiting the original Omori Factory where the Nismo 400R, Z-Tune and others were born. However, my first time visit was also the last time because, this store was officially relocated to Tsurumi, Yokohama early 2013. The new Nismo Omori Factory has a bigger space and more demo cars could be fitted in for display. I'd definitely mark this place in my 'Must-Visit-Place-in-Japan' list and you should too.