Whenever there's a new Nissan sports car introduced to the world, the next big thing that would follow is Nismo's showcase of a more aesthetically and technically refined model of the standard product. Well, this was the impression I had on Nissan's high-performance division. But in fact, that's not the only thing Nismo does.
Earlier this year, I shared about my 2012 visit to the old Nismo HQ in Omori, Tokyo without having any thoughts of visiting the new HQ at all. Now, I can gladly cross it out from my 'Must-Visit-Place-in-Japan' list as I successfully actualise my speedhunting trip. Here's a version of my walkthrough at the new Nismo Omori Factory.
Nismo Omori Factory has been relocated to new building in Tsurumi, Yokohama. To get there, I boarded the Keikyu Main Line and got off at Namamugi Station. From the station, I traveled to Nismo by.. err.. foot! The 1.3km/16min journey was indeed an unforgettable experience already. T_T
There I was, standing at the last junction after the long journey, admiring the new Nismo Omori Factory. It was a million times larger and prettier than the previous one in Omori.
When I was ready to crown my achievement of visiting Nismo, bad luck strucked me as I realised my camera's memory card slot was empty! My excitement level shrunk and I couldn't possibly return to the hotel to get my memory card, considering the travel time and cost.
My happy turned OMG arrival was greeted by, not one but five gentlemen in their R31 Skyline GTS-R aka the 7th Skyline. All of them were having very similar dark shade of paint. Luckily, I still have my handphone to capture the moment before the Nismo fan boys left the parking lot.
Immediately, I entered the place and found Nissan's famous '98 R390 GT1 Le Mans race car on display in the most creative manner. This 641hp 3.5L V8 turbo-charged (VRH35L) GT1 racer actually competed in '98 24 Hours of Le Mans! Out of the four R390s that raced, this #32 R390 GT1 driven by Aguri Suzuki, Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Masahiko Kageyama, was the one that scored an impressive 3rd place and marked the first time an all-Japanese team had made it to the podium.
After confirming the location of the nearest convenience store (which was at Namamugi Station) with the receptionist at Nismo, I endured painstaking 1.3km journey back to try my luck for an SD memory card. And, thank god they have it! The incident made me realise how important is to always double check your equipments before leaving your home. Lesson learnt.
Here was the main showroom area that houses six of Nismo's most famous cars ever to come out from Nismo Omori Factory. The array of models available varies from time to time. Anyway, let's thoroughly admire them all. :)
Let's start with the 1993 STP Taisan Group A R32 Skyline GT-R. This 600hp beast was piloted by none other than the famous Tsuchiya Keiichi (Drift King) and Kunimitsu Takahashi in '92/93 Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC). STP Taisan was on the podium few times but it didn't have good result overall due to frequent retirement, as to the winning GT-Rs from Team Hasemi and Team Impul.
This era is where the R32 GT-R earned the nickname "Godzilla". The car was incredibly fast and reliable, winning all 29 races consecutively in JTCC from 1990 to 1993. Its success and domination in motorsport since its introduction had made the GT-R one of the most respected car internationally.
Le Mans race cars are something we rarely see. Having two of these endurance racer at one place, it was indeed mind-blowing. Nissan R89C has a 800hp 3.5L V8 twin-turbo engine (VRH35) mounted directly to Lola developed monocoque chassis for better rigidity and the whole car weighs only 900kg. It was quick but not reliable. In 1989 Le Mans, all three R89Cs that Nissan sent, failed to even finish due to mechanical issues.
The #23 R89C above entered the 1989 Japan Sports Prototype Car Championship (JSPC) driven by Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki, and suffered similar fate as in Le Mans. However, things started to get better in 1990 Le Mans, JSPC and WSPC with the arrival of Nissan R90CP, R89C's successor.
Each car at Nismo Omori has its own touch interactive panel (basically iPad) conveniently loaded with detailed information of the car you're admiring at. :D
I was expecting to see the new 2015 GT-R Nismo there, but instead the test prototype model was on display. I considered myself lucky as this camo GT-R was one of the few ones that attacked the Nurburgring track in September last year, and successfully broke the GT-R record at 7:08.679 (16 seconds quicker than '09 GT-R).
Although it didn't defeat the 6:57 lap time posted by Porsche 918 Spyder, the GT-R Nismo did pick up the "fastest volume production car" title, with Nissan being the attainable sports car to public and cheaper, in contrast to the 918. The ultimate GT-R Nismo will be selling at USD$150,000 which is almost 1/3 price up from the standard GT-R.
Nismo involvement in motorsport for 30 years since it was formed, has lead to many great achievements, and those memorabilia like trophies, collectibles, drivers' helmets and racing suits were proudly shown behind the GT-R Nismo test car.
What's Nismo without engines! On the left looks like the familiar 3.8L V6 engine used in the standard GT-R, but this VR38DETT has been tuned to GT3 spec. On the right is the 3.4L V8 VRH34A natural aspirated engine introduced for the GT500 class GT-R in 2010 SuperGT Championship. There's something attractive about exposed aluminium velocity stacks. :)
Nismo 400R is the ultimate version of Skyline GT-R R33, limited to only 44 units in the world. This rare beast is powered by 2.8L RBX-GT2 engine (based on RB26DETT) implanted with Nismo's GT and Group A technology. Like its name suggest, 400R means 400 worth of horsepower and the "R" stands for Racing.
The reason why 400R was built because Nismo wanted to show the world that they are still the best when it came to tuning the GT-R.
Nissan's four-door crossover model, 2014 Juke has also received the Nismo treatment. Apart from styling change and the extensive use of Nismo badges, its 1.6L Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) turbo engine was upgraded to 197hp. Juke Nismo RS variant gets 18hp more than the Juke Nismo.
Of all cars on display at the showroom, this is the one that catches my attention - the Nismo Z-tune, the final and ultimate R34 GT-R. Not to mention that it was 100% hand built from scratch to perfection at the original Nismo Factory in Omori. And in conjunction with Nismo's 20th anniversary, only 20 examples have been made.
Over the years with all the accumulated racing experience, Nismo poured everything they learnt into making this perfect GT500 street legal machine. They selectively chose 20 pre-owned GT-Rs with zero damage and mileage below 30000km, and transformed them entirely. As a result, the stock RB26DETT has been bored up to 2.8L 'Z2' engine loaded with lots of GT500 components outputting 500hp and 540Nm of torque. Check out other modifications done here.
The total makeover cost the Z-tune a whopping ¥16,900,000 (about $160,000) - undeniably the most expensive R34 GT-R ever built. Being able to see one of twenty here and captured beautifully with my camera, was nothing but the satisfaction of achievement. Yesh!
Here is the Omori Factory shop. Local clients can discuss with the experienced engineers of Nismo on tuning packages and services offered. Visitors can bring back some official Nismo goodies like caps, bags, T-shirts and jackets, ...
... but for hardcore Nissan fans and owners out there, it's a shopping spree! You could find everything that Nismo has on its catalogue and ready for you buy it off the shelves, at a very high price.
Those products range from high quality carbon fenders and wheels, to rare cluster gauges and mechanical parts like crankshaft, conrods, absorbers and etc. You'd be surprised to find a fresh rebuilt RB26 Final Edition on sale here. The most expensive component I saw in the shop was the R35 GT-R brembo brake kit with ¥1,030,000 price tag, that's like RM32,000. @@"
Instead of using traditional printed paper, Nismo shares the tuning package details on the glass, handwritten, which I was something I find unique and cool.
The workshop was top class. It was incredibly clean, neat, brightly lit and way bigger than the ex-Omori Factory. Nismo provides the best quality and clients can be rest assured handing their cars over to Nismo team.
The car at front is no ordinary Skyline GT-R. It's the Clubman Race Spec (CRS) edition, the highest spec R34 Nismo introduced which is based on the limited Z-tune we saw just now, upgraded with all the best things from Nismo. Hmm, I thought the Z-tune was the ultimate? :D This CRS Spec however, is not as limited as Z-tune's 20 units and only has 450 horses in its 'R2' engine.
Nismo practises professional work etiquette where all the cars' number plates were covered up at all times to avoid clients' details from being revealed to the public.
Majority of the clients' cars were Skyline GT-Rs. On that day, I was able to see about six R34s & four R32s of different variant, not including those that parked outside. GT-R Fever!
A quick walk around the parking area and I met up with more Nissan beauties.
Apart from the showroom and workshop area, one equally fascinating place you should visit is the toilet. Yes, you heard it right, the toilet! I was literally stunned when I went in and saw those camshafts decoration on the wall. Creatively Nismo used the disc brake as the mirror. :D
And, there you have it - the new Nismo Omori Factory. We now know that Nismo is not simply a brand that prepares body kits and tune cars to high horsepower, but well known for its passion in motorsport for over 30 years and continue to strive for improvement proving the world that they are a competitive fighter building potential cars to tackle the streets and tracks. Not to forget its quality service provided to clients of Nissan.
It was definitely worth every steps I take to come to this awesome place, despite the little hiccup earlier on the camera memory card. The showroom cars were one of the kinds, very special to the ones who knew its history and value. Before ending this walkthrough, I'd like to say this, "You've got to visit Nismo Omori Factory!"
Do enjoy more pictures from my visit in the gallery below. :)