This is it. The ultimate tuned Skyline GT-R. Unlike the countless projects that start off promising amazing results, the boys at M-Speed actually achieved what they set out to do, and that was to build the fastest GT-R in the world. You won't see this particular R34 shoot up the dragstrip in eight seconds, this M-Speed GT-R was purely created for the Tsukuba circuit.
It's aim has always been to lap the famed Tsukuba circuit in the fastest time possible, something they achieved last year with an amazing 55.23-second lap, beating all the GT-Rs and other participants at the Rev Speed Magazine organized Tsukuba Lap Battle. However, as Matsumoto-san of M-Speed explains, this year they stepped up their game. This time they are shooting for an even quicker time. Their goal is to get 53 seconds, effectively beating the 53.589-second record posted by the HKS Lancer CT230R earlier this year, which due to some politics doesn't participate in Rev Speed events.
All this talk of lap times, however, doesn't make much sense without a bit of perspective. To make sense of these numbers keep in mind that a stock R34 Skyline GT-R laps Tsukuba in 1 minute 5 seconds, and that's with Keiichi Tsuchiya behind the wheel. Getting this time down to one minute is already an achievement, so you can understand that shaving off another seven seconds is well into the realm of race cars. In fact, a few years ago Tsuchiya did a time attack session at Tsukuba with his JGTC Honda NSX-R for the popular video magazine Hot Version. He managed to get a 51.875-second lap, which perfectly shows where these tuner demo cars are positioning themselves. It's an amazing result for all the cars involved but lets take a closer look to see how a street car can be transformed to be only a couple of seconds off the pace of a GT racer!
We met up with Matsumoto-san at a very wet Fuji Speedway. We were lucky enough to set up the shoot the day after the car was fitted with the new '07 specification body, which incidentally is also on sale to the public for those wanting to create their own M-Speed replica. As you can imagine on a car of this caliber no money is spared, which is why all the body panels are made from lightweight dry-carbon fiber. By this we mean the molded, vacuum-sealed and pressure-cooked variety of carbon, which guarantees both lightness and strength.
First off the front bumper, which features a half stock and half GT-car look, was slightly altered by removing the front indicators, an unnecessary item on a circuit-only car. By doing this, a few more 100 grams were shaved off but more importantly the aerodynamics of the front end were cleaned up. The two canards, which were previously used on each side of the bumper, were also removed. These usually help by giving more front downforce when tackling fast corners, but they also create a lot of drag and turbulence. To offset this loss, a larger and much longer carbon front diffuser was made that features its own canards on each side. This still gives excellent front downforce without disrupting the front aerodynamics. The large central opening of the bumper remains; its main job is to free the massive ARC intercooler and oil cooler as well as to direct air to each side to cool the brakes. The carbon vented bonnet is even lighter and features a large vent that flows out huge quantities of hot air, helping to keep the engine nice and cool. The front fenders are much wider than standard fenders and are beautifully designed to give an altogether new look to the front of the car.
Again, every small detail is functional like the small opening at the top of the fender, which channels hot air away from the engine, to the lower recess on the lower part to help flow more air over the side of the car, making good use of the angular skirt design. In the pursuit of lightness the doors and side mirrors are carbon. This takes us to the rear fenders, probably the most evident modification made from the '06 version of the car. The older slab-sided items were replaced with these smoothly contoured versions, which achieve the widening effect with a far cleaner and more pleasant design. These are riveted to the chassis and body, but the joint lines have been so cleanly hidden that it all looks boned-in.
The rear hasn't been altered and still runs the carbon bumper, which is exactly like a factory item and the carbon trunk lid. Downforce is everything on a track car like this, especially at Tsukuba when trying to carry as much speed as possible into the last corner, so M-Speed created a large carbon rear spoiler that sits on special adjustable stays. Completing the new look for 2007 are the graphics specially designed by Marking Office Kura. This M-Speed GT-R is instantly recognizable due to its yellow body color and green Rays Engineering Volk Racing TE37s. These are the same 11x18 items used on GT race cars and feature lightweight magnesium construction as well as a single center bolt, which means the wheel hubs were specially modified to accept them. Sticky Bridgestone RE55S semi-slick tires are used, and before you ask, slicks are against the rules at these time attack events for some strange reason.