Team America WTAC – ARK Design's BNR32 Skyline GT-R Part 9
by Eric Hsu
I realize it's been a long ass time since the last update, but they'll start rolling out again somewhat regularly after the new year. The car arrived safely back to Design Craft in back in September from the giant shipping mishap to China. Progress has been slow with Team America members busy with the remainder of the Formula D season, SEMA, the holidays, and new jobs (for several of us ex-Cosworth people). I never did completely finish the coverage on what happened up until we rolled the car into the shipping container so part 9 will be a continuation from part 8.
The whole Team America World Time Attack series of stories are right here if you missed any of them: ARK Design BNR32 Skyline GT-R Build Stories.
Things were pretty crazy in the final weeks preparing the ARK Design GT-R for WTAC 2012. Since the car had to take the slow boat to Sydney, we had to have the GT-R on the boat by July 1 at the absolute latest. That meant that we had to have the car packed into the shipping container at least five days before to process all of the paperwork with the Carnet (import bond), US Customs, and the freight forwarders. To clear Australian customs would take 3-4 days. Then of course to get the car finished, we would need at least two weeks before testing at Eastern Creek began (August 8). Since WTAC 2012 was on August 10-12, that meant the car would have to arrive at the port of Sydney around July 22. Team America's plan was to arrive a little early (August 26ish) and then finish asssembly of the car over at Hypertune. Ian Baker from WTAC set me up with Mark Bissett of Hypertune who graciously offered a portion of his shop and any and all of his equipment to Team America to complete the GT-R. You may know Hypertune for their works of art they call intake manifolds, but they also do some high end race fabrication and have plenty of machinery, equipment, and tools at their shop which is located just five minutes from Eastern Creek.
|Hydroformed plenums, CNC machined parts, and CFD developed intake manifolds make for pretty nice and functional pieces. Hypertune offers intake manifolds for most popular import engines.|
Of course if you've been keeping up with these build stories, then you'll know that none of the dates mattered for shit anyway, but at the time Team America was hell bent on getting the ARK GT-R on the boat no matter what. It was actually the container ship company's fault (or some crane operator who just hit the pipe) that the container got loaded on to the boat to China. The US and Australian freight forwarders and certainly not WTAC were to blame. In fact the freight forwarder in Sydney, Selsby Solutions, even offered to air freight the GT-R from Ningbo, China to Sydney. And that was were the entire problem lied: to get the car and the equipment to the closest international airport in China, everything would need to be unloaded from the container and the car would have to enter China. For that to happen, that would either require some magical paper work or a shit ton of money to pay off the Chinese customs agents. Since neither one existed, all we could do was to wait until the boat arrived in Ningbo to weigh out the options. As fate would have it, the container ship was also late to Ningbo (that was the captain hitting the pipe). With all of these factors against us, we made the decision to put the container on the next boat back to Los Angeles a week after.
Going back to the last three weeks before the car had to be loaded into the container: I took two weeks off from work to get as much done as possible. Gary and his guys were on the GT-R full time. During the last week before the car had to get packed up in the container, the rest of Team America came right after work every day and worked well into the early morning. Even the guys from Bridges Racing were helping out well into the morning. The last week was an entire blur with plenty of junk food and very little sleep. It was actually quite painful, but we got what we could done. Some of these pictures were taken then so forgive any bad pictures and most of this is being retrieved from memory since there was no time to take any notes. There was barely enough time to take any pictures.
Here's Katsu assembling and setting up the rear differential. We chose OS Giken Super Lock LSDs (limited slip differentials) for the front and rear of the GT-R. I like the OS LSDs because of their almost infinite tuneability. OS LSDs usually have a lot of plates (up to 28), but the number of active plates can be enabled/disabled, then there are springs that allow the full lock timing to be adjusted, then there are cone springs that allow the amount of preload to be adjusted, and the ramp angles can be adjusted by changing pressure rings. I learned a lot of how much these adjustments help when Richard at Sierra Sierra made changes to the EVO's rear OS Super Lock LSD. I'm sure Richard's many years of race car setup helped a bit of course. In the rear of the GT-R, we used the standard BNR32 GT-R 1.5 way OS LSD. The only catch with this was that the OS LSD uses the early BNR32 output shafts/stub axles/side flanges (whatever they're called) which are considerably bigger and stronger, but must be special ordered from Japan. Nissan used the ultra beefy output shafts for FIA Group A homologation purposes. Allen and Tomo from Tomei USA saved the day. I gave them the part numbers and the parts arrived the next week.