Team America World Time Attack – ARK Design’s BNR32 Skyline GT-R Intro Part 1


Between Tyler, Kyong, and I, we like to give cars names from movies. So the old red Cosworth Impreza STi got the name “Red Dragon” just like Will Ferrel's Trans-Am in the movie, “Old School”. The ARK GT-R gets the name “Blue Steel” as in Ben Stiller's never perfected look in the movie “Zoolander”. Technically this will need to be changed since the car won't be blue by the time we're done with it, but we'll give it another name then. For now it's Blue Steel.

For those of you that don't know Blue Steel, Blue Steel was XS Engineering's car that was built on the first season of Speed TV's “Street Tuner Challenge” back in 2004. It was literally built as a street car with a cage that wasn't designed to interfere with driver and passenger ingress and egress. After filming the show, the plan was to run it in Time Attack for 2005 and then return it back to a street car and become my business partner at the time, Troy's, street car. The front section of the cage was actually designed to be fully wrapped and not visible from the outside, power windows were kept, a stereo was kept, wipers, all glass windows, heater, etc. In this configuration it weighed 3120 lbs wet, without driver. As a tuning shop that was bursting at the seams, we never got the time to put all the finishing touches on the car. We decided to run it one more time in 2006 where we put a new engine in it (we killed a rod bearing in the engine before we got to America Touge 3) with dry sump oiling and cut a little more weight out of the car getting it down to 3007 lbs wet, without driver. The car ran a best of of a 1:49.210 at Buttonwillow with Tarzan Yamada behind the wheel back in 2006. Come to think of it, the car was run once in 2007 also, but without proper testing, a different transmission, and Mr. Kobayashi from MCR Japan behind the wheel, the car ran a 1:51.xx. Tanner Foust was hanging out that day so we put on some fresh tires and the first lap out, Tanner ran a 1:50.xx. Not bad for never having driven a right hand drive car!

The ARK BNR32 GT-R's target weight is 2500 lbs for this build. Considering how much metal, glass, and other BS was in the car, we think 2500 lbs is a realistic goal.

ark bnr32 cage before
The cage is built from 1-5/8″ .090″ wall tube which is the minimum required for a car weighing 3000lbs according to the SCCA rule book. There will be plenty more tubes added throughout in the conversion to become the ARK BNR32 Skyline GT-R.

ark bnr32 dash
The interior is totally glorified street car with meters all over the place and an HKS EVC and A/F KNOCK meter where the factory auxiliary meters are. At least the factory BNR32 GT-R tach goes to 10,000rpm. Blue Steel used to run an HKS V-Pro ECU WITH an A'PEXi Power FC to control idle. We never had the time to wire the V-Pro to a standalone although it isn't very difficult. 

ark bnr32 engine before
In the RB26's final revision, I built it with a Tomei 2.8L 77.7mm stroke crankshaft, HKS H-beam connecting rods, HKS 87mm pistons, Tomei 290IN/290EX cams, XS Engineering ported head, HKS twin 3037S turbos, dry sump oiling, and all machine work done by Cosworth. Final power was 951whp @ 2.3 bar although we never actually ran it at that boost. The torque was nearly flat from 6000-9500rpm. If I remember correctly, Tarzan didn't want to turn it up past 1.6 bar, which was approximately 630whp, because it was such a mess to drive.  In 2007, Kobayashi also didn't want to turn up the power because the handling was such a mess. The BNR32's factory suspension geometry is terrible using any amount of adjustment and geometry correction.

ark bnr32 engine removal
Tyler and I are working on the top and that's Katsu underneath pulling the downpipes off.

ark bnr32 old engine out
Out goes the RB26. Blue Steel will never have an RB26 in it ever again. I do love the RB26, but it's place in time is in the past and only in a street car. A big, heavy, tall, iron straight 6 just won't do any longer. I will always have an RB26 in my street BNR32 GT-R however so you JDM fan bois don't need to hate. I am wearing my “Tsunagi” from my days at A'PEXi Japan too in case you're wondering WTF that is I'm wearing.

ark bnr32 engine out
The engine is out. We had a 12kg Tein spring sitting a within arm's reach so it is used to hold the engine level.

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