For one reason or another, I'm always rooting for the underdog. I like to see someone take disadvantages, turn them into advantages, and win a competition, like all those girls on The Bachelor. I'm sure there's a homely looking girl on the show who really doesn't stand a chance against the Playmate look-alikes. I'd like to see her win and give all those superficial chicks a slap in the face-then maybe pull their hair, rip off each other's dresses, and start wrestling in mud. Well, that's not really the point, but it would make for good TV viewing. My point is that the only reason I would watch that show is to see the girl nobody thought would win, well, win. Take the L.A. Clippers. If I can't attend every game, I make it a point to watch it on TV or at least listen to it on some crappy AM radio station. As of now, even with an all-star like Elton Brand, they're plagued by injuries, which leaves them with the worst record in the western region. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop watching them like a lot of the fair weather fans. I'll continue to root for them no matter what team they play against. Hopefully, Corey Maggette will dunk over everyone and the Clippers will win their next game and, sometime in the future, make it into the playoffs.
That takes us to the Blitz headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, where they built the D1 Special-a four-door '01 Nissan Skyline ER34 GT-S. Due to the type of turns and driving involved, agile cars such as the Corolla and 180SX dominate drifting. Newer cars like the FD3S and S15 Silvia also see their fair share of the track. But one car that you'll find scarce is the Skyline. That may seem odd for a car of this stature, but it is for good reason. The Skyline isn't exactly what you'd call lightweight and nimble around the corners-two definite disadvantages when you're thinking about building a drift car. But we wouldn't expect minor technical difficulties like that to stop a company like Blitz from ranking high in the D1 Grand Prix. As always, we were right.
The CarIt's damn near impossible to walk past the Blitz R34 without stopping dead in your tracks. The glimmering silver paint and body graphics unmistakably scream Blitz at a pitch high enough so that it can only be heard by true enthusiasts. You start to wonder how a car this flawless can spend so many hours thrashing through D1GP drift circuits when you can't even get into the driveway without scratching up your unpainted bumper. Well, this R34 has seen its fair share of the dirt, barriers, and haystacks. It's just part of the drifting game, and if you don't wanna drive around the rest of the day without a bumper, you better bring some extras. That's why the Blitz team heads to the events with a whole arsenal of Uras aero kits. Yup, the front bumper, side skirts, and rear apron can be replaced with a fresh set in just a few minutes. They don't carry extra carbon-fiber trunks or Top Secret hoods because that would just be silly.
It's no secret that the RB26DETT engine found in the GT-R has unlimited potential. But this isn't a GT-R, and its heart isn't an RB26DETT. The GT-S comes from Nissan with the RB25DET engine, but it didn't get much of a chance to remain stock once it got into the hands of Blitz. The factory turbo system was heaved and replaced with a Blitz Pro Kit, which consists of a K5-660R snail mated to a stainless steel exhaust manifold. All that extra boost forced through the Blitz LM intercooler called for more fuel, and that call was answered by a Blitz fuel pump and Nismo regulator. With a Blitz E56 wastegate, SBC i-D boost controller, and Access ECU overseeing the whole operation, the power and torque ratings come in at 470ps @ 6,800rpm and 52kg/m @ 4,800rpm. Power like that generates quite a bit of heat, but a Yashio Factory Super Light R radiator does its part to cool things down at a very rapid pace. The drivetrain faces a lot of abuse when it comes to drifting. It's for this reason that the R34 was outfitted with an OS Giken tranny and Blitz Active clutch.
Setting up the suspension for a drift car is totally different than a drag or road race car. Not only do you need the car to handle well, but it's gotta be able to break the tires loose on demand. What a bitch. In this case, the R34 is set up with bushings and sway bars from Nismo, a Nismo SSS limited-slip differential, and a Blitz Sachs damper kit. That's enough to allow the lengthy four-door to hug the tight corners, but what about getting into some serious sliding action? We're told by Abe-san, Blitz's head mechanic, that the tire compound of the Dunlop FM901 matched with the mammoth size of the 18-inch Blitz Technospeed Z2 wheels are the perfect combination for its drift machine. You'll hear no argument from us, especially after you see the never-ending trail of smoke left on the track (and opponents' faces).
The interior of the R34 was left pretty simple. You won't find a fancy neon-colored rollbar with 10 cupholders, a plasma screen TV, or ear-blowing subs in here. Look inside, and you'll see a cluster of Blitz DC gauges, a GT-1 racing seat, and a MOMO steering wheel.
The DriverThere's not much that we can say about Ken "Nomuken" Nomura, owner of Uras Monkey Magic, mainly because he refuses to talk to us. We're told that Nomuken doesn't take kindly to American journalists. He appeals to the spectators by doing funny poses, drawing monkey pictures with his signature, and being obnoxiously loud. His routines remind me of nothing more than a really bad I Love Lucy episode with old burlesque acts. But what he lacks in cordiality and comicality, he makes up for with remarkable driving talent. Without a doubt, Nomuken's skills on the track deserve much more than applause. He makes every turn look ridiculously smooth and a lot easier than it really is. If any of you have tried drifting, you'll know that it's not exactly as simple as stomping down the gas pedal and spinning the steering wheel. Rarely will you see him make a mistake in the hefty R34, which is a lot to say for any professional driver.
Let's have a look-see at what disadvantages Blitz had with its R34 compared to the other cars in the D1GP. Well, the Skyline coupe weighs in at over 3,400lbs, which doesn't exactly make it a featherweight. An AE86 Corolla tips the scales at just over 2,000lbs and an S15 Silvia at 2,700lbs. That's the equivalent of rolling around with a bunch of pbskids editors in your car. Then, there are the extra two doors, which add another hundred pounds and about 7 more inches to the overall length of the car. That's enough to hurt anyone in the final point standings, but not Nomuken and the Blitz R34. In the '02 season for D1GP, the team placed Second in Round 7 and Third in the season's final standings. That means they left seven other people in the dust, or in this case, tire smoke. I guess disadvantages don't mean much when you have Blitz backing you. Now if we could only get the company to sponsor a mud-wrestling match.
Fast FactsCar '01 Nissan Skyline ER34 D1 SpecialOwner BlitzHometown Tokyo, JapanDaily Grind Building bad-ass silver cars
Under The Hood RB25DET with 9.0:1 compression ratio, 470ps @ 6,800rpm and 52kg/m @ 4,800rpm, Blitz fuel pump, SUS Power air cleaner, Nurspec R exhaust, downpipe, exhaust manifold, Iridium Spec 77 spark plugs, K5-660R turbo, E56 wastegate, LM Type intercooler, SBC i-D boost controller, Access ECU, and Type B oil cooler; Nismo fuel pressure regulator, Yashio Factory Super Light R radiator
Transmission OS Giken transmission, Nismo SSS LSD, Blitz Active clutch
Stiff Stuff Blitz Sachs damper kit, Nismo bushings and sway bars
Rollers 18x8 and 18x9 Blitz Technospeed Z2 wheels, 235/40R18 and 265/35R18 Dunlop FM901 tires
Stoppers Pagid RS4-2 front brake pads, Blitz MR-3 rear brake pads
Outside URAS D1 Spec Model aero kit, Top Secret carbon-fiber hood, Blitz carbon-fiber trunk
Inside Blitz shift knob, GT-1 racing seat, Digital Compact meters, MOMO steering wheel
Props Blitz North America, Uras Monkey Magic