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The Nissan Skyline GT-R Story: Sebring Debut


igor@af
03-28-2006, 03:37 PM
<a target="blank" href="http://files.automotiveforums.com/media/v/AutomotiveForumscom2004-2005/SebringRaceway-WorldChallengeGTDebut/"><img src="http://files.automotiveforums.com/media/d/6194-2/NU4M1893.jpg"; border="1" align="left"></a>With only days to go until the April 1st race on the streets of St. Petersburg, the race report for the AutomotiveForums.com Nissan Skyline GT-R at Sebring is here.

We ventured to Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia on the Friday before the race week for a final shakedown of the car before our first race in World Challenge.

With no issues, we rolled off with the 75ft race support rig containing the spare car and an uncountable amount of spare parts.

Upon arrival at Sebring, we had a test day on Tuesday, followed by an official SCCA practice on Wednesday, with qualifying following on Thursday, and the race itself in mid-afternoon on Friday.

As expected, everything went wrong with the car the first time I took it out on the track on Tuesday, and the entire team scrambled to resolve all the issues one at a time before qualifying on Thursday. Sean Morris, our crew chief, did an incredible job troubleshooting the major issues before qualifying. The entire crew - Josh, Victor, Merritt, and Sean barely got any sleep the entire week leading up to the race, opting to stay in our team truck (we have beds) rather than going back to 2 hotel rooms we had booked for the event at a Woman Athletes' College Dormatory. All the problems gave us incredibly little track time during the practice days to setup the car, as we had no baseline to go off of for a track as rough as Sebring. We qualified 25th with a 2:17.2 time.


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The pre-race ceremony is not for the feint-hearted. As a first time driver in a series of this caliber, my entire body was imploding. As the red lights turned on, signaling a countdown for the standing start and all 32 cars began to rev their engines, I did my best to keep my heartbeat low and my body relaxed. The Viper in front of me seemed so close, I actually did not wish to risk rear-ending it off of the launch, since the GT-R is All-Wheel-Drive. We had practiced standing starts and I had it down to a science, but once the lights went off, I wanted to stay on the safe side for our debut standing start and slipped the clutch a bit more than usual, causing the car to bog off of the line. With our starting position being so far in the back, this strategy also made sense - I wanted to keep my nose clean in the beginning when so many crashes take place. Sure enough, plenty of cars went off and crashed out very early on. I also got hit by a Porsche going into turn one, or should we say he "leaned" on me. Our car is so many hundreds of pounds heavier, that I barely felt the nudge - it was more a sound than a physical jerk.
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Once the dust cleared, I settled into a good mental zone and kept running consistent times through the race. Our car is down by such an ungodly amount of power compared with the Corvette, Viper, and CTS-V, even though we are heaviest, that it made no sense to go 10/10s. The objective was to finish the race. The power difference was so great that I recall a red Viper spinning out 2-3 times in front of me, and everytime he came back into the rear view mirror like a bullet. That was rather amusing, actually. Also, when I talk of the acceleration deficit, I mean 100% full throttle acceleration from the same speed on the straights.

On lap 12-13, I reported white smoke creeping through the passenger (left) window into the cockpit back to my crew chief. Everything still felt just fine on the car, so I was hoping that maybe it was just some marbles caught on fire inside the wheel well. We quickly got black flagged over the radio and I pitted. As soon as I came to a stop, Sean and Josh went to the left side of the car, followed by Sean running back to the wall and grabbing a fire extinguisher. You had to see him throw that pin like a champ. He quickly extinguished the fire around the downpipe - one of our oil supply lines failed and began to dribble oil onto the downpipe, causing the oil to smoke while the car was in motion. As soon as I pitted, with lack of strong breeze, the oil caught fire. And it was just a small dribble, no major failure and nor has this ever happened before on a GT-R race car in all of racing in Japan or the drag racing here in the US. But this is how it goes in racing - we are writing new records for parts that fail - which had never done so before in over a decade of racing.
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All in all, our debut race went extremely well - the interest in this car was phenomenal - hundreds of people stopped by our paddock to let us know that they came out to Sebring for the sole purpose of seeing the GT-R race.

<a target="blank" href="http://files.automotiveforums.com/media/v/AutomotiveForumscom2004-2005/SebringRaceway-WorldChallengeGTDebut/NissanGTR060317sebring017.jpg.html"><img src="http://files.automotiveforums.com/media/d/6246-2/NissanGTR060317sebring017.jpg"; border="1" align="left"></a>

We also made numerous friends and I want to especially thank Randy Pobst and Chip Van Vurst for all of their help. Randy - you are what young drivers such as myself aspire to be both in and out of the cockpit.

Oh, and check us out in AutoWeek!

igor@af
03-28-2006, 03:38 PM
Next race is April 1st at St. Petersburg: Who is coming out?!

massai
03-28-2006, 06:07 PM
Great job Igor and team 69!, I watched the entire race and plan to watch all races aired this year. I commend you guys for finishing the race safely and not coming in last!! I was wondering what you think it will take to compete with the vipers and vettes? Around or about how much horsepower do you think the vettes and vipers are making compared to the GT-R. As far as weight, how much lighter are the faster cars. Im not too familar with the rules of world Challenge, but do you guys think you can possibly take a podium or a top 10 finish this year? Just to let you guys know you have plenty of fans who support you and the GT-R wholeheartly. Not all of us are Gran-Turismo GT-R Fan boys. Bye the way please stop calling the car a Z-Tune LOL!! Good Luck and godspeed team 69!!!!!!!!!

ZedEx
03-29-2006, 03:41 AM
Sounds like your first run went as expected... Filled with problems, haha. :lol:

It's always hard getting started, you guys will find your footing, and I'm sure we can be expecting some very impressive results soon to come. :thumbsup:

Are you guys coming to the South East at all this season? NC, SC, VA?

-Wes

igor@af
03-29-2006, 08:41 AM
The almighty schedule:
http://www.world-challenge.com
Booya

BLU CIVIC
03-29-2006, 01:03 PM
coming near NC anytime...i doubt it :(

beef_bourito
03-29-2006, 03:17 PM
well, if i go to the univeristy of ontario for automotive engineering next year, ill drop by your mosport race, it's right by oshawa. great job, hopefuly you'll do even better next time. is there anything you can do to increase the power of your car or decrease the weight? like can you turn up the boost or something and swap out some panels for carbon fiber? or are you basicly at the limit that the rules will give you?

TatII
03-29-2006, 04:05 PM
so igor, are you guys planning to up the power in the car to compete or you don't want to risk reliablity.

igor@af
03-29-2006, 08:57 PM
We will do whatever is necessary until SCCA deems the car to be competitive, especially in the area of acceleration, compared to other cars in the class.

81Z28
03-30-2006, 08:03 AM
I love the car it looks great and I think it could be competitive if you fixed all of the bugs and please try to get the car on tv i can't wait to see it actually racing around a track.

freakmech
03-31-2006, 12:04 AM
Congrats on a job well done. And glad to here from you personally, hope the season is a good one!

LowFlyin'
04-02-2006, 04:07 PM
Igor, I'm with the rest of the crew. Keep pluggin'! The car will come around. Thanks for bringing this car to the GT series. I hope to one day be racing in that series, too!

Dreamspawn
04-03-2006, 05:23 AM
Igor i watched st.pete today but i didn't see the skyline or your name in the running order? Was i not looking close enough? I just caught the last few laps though wated the 3 wide with caddy,porsche,and vette. And watched angelili *sp* caddy quit on him in the lead.

..CUERacing>>S14
04-03-2006, 11:10 AM
hey man I love the car. I stopped by the Paddock as you were heading to the grid man, then went and druled a little bit while it was on the grid. What happened in the race? I read on world-challenge.com it was a Mech. Failure, what was it? IM sure youll get all the bugs worked out soon. It was great to see a Nissan on the track at St. pete this weekend. So are you guys @ your -100 lbs limit now?

ballz3
04-04-2006, 08:52 AM
awesome job, Igor and team! I'm glad to see you out there! I am new to watching these races, so i'm sorry (along with every one else) for all the silly questions...i'm trying to understand all the rules/listings. I was having trouble with the (r) next to your name when it looked like you were still showing up on the standings board, but i think it was because they were showing the previous lap.

anyway, i am now watching all your races (and the Speed Challenge as well now) and am loving it! I can't wait to see more of your action on the track either! great job out there and i think it's going well.

I hope you can figure out ways to make the car even faster without getting any restrictions placed on you. It's strange how we all thought this would have plenty of power, but i guess those v8 and 10's are just pushing WAY too much power! give them resrictions! hehe

cely
04-04-2006, 12:35 PM
Igor i watched st.pete today but i didn't see the skyline or your name in the running order? Was i not looking close enough? I just caught the last few laps though wated the 3 wide with caddy,porsche,and vette. And watched angelili *sp* caddy quit on him in the lead.
Igor had a mechanical failure and was retired from the race.

4:14:34pm Lap 6 No. 69 Sushko is off course and behind a wall in a safe location at Turn 8.

cely
04-04-2006, 12:37 PM
I was having trouble with the (r) next to your name when it looked like you were still showing up on the standings board, but i think it was because they were showing the previous lap. I believe the (r) means he retired from the race.

ballz3
04-04-2006, 12:44 PM
I believe the (r) means he retired from the race.
yeah, that's what every one said, and it makes sense now. i just didn't get it because while watching the race, i kept seeing his name up there after a few laps (with the R) so i thought he was still in it, but retired, so it didn't make sense to me.

now i see that it wasn't the actual lap they were on, but showing a previous lap with Igor NOW being retired (or retired on that lap). so, it makes more sense now.

thanks :)

SM 46
04-04-2006, 03:32 PM
Actually, the (R) next to his name means he is a rookie in the series. The points he earns throughout the season count towards the "Rookie of the Year" award.

ballz3
04-04-2006, 03:38 PM
Actually, the (R) next to his name means he is a rookie in the series. The points he earns throughout the season count towards the "Rookie of the Year" award.

awesome! thanks. i'm a newb when it comes to watching races.

tyndago
04-05-2006, 03:30 PM
Well just a quick note to add to what Igor had to say. Getting ready for Long Beach now. No real down time the last month. Getting ready for Sebring, then ST. Pete right on top of that.... theres another story there.

Sebring was a strange failure. Something I have never seen before, but I guess thats racing.

At St. Pete we were definetely chasing other issues. We ended up qualifying #23. The cool part about Speed World Challenge is the standing start. Cool, dangerous, scary.The GT-R likes more revs than less revs. Its better to boil the tires than bog off the line. World Challenge does a parade lap followed by a formation lap. During the formation lap one of the Aston Martins caught on fire, so the SCCA officals decided to run another formation lap.

5 second card....the revs on the cars come up.... lights off, the GT-R rockets up the inside... past the Viper in front of it. A Porsche in front of the other Aston stalls and the Aston has to evade it. In all, I think Igor picked up 5 or 6 positions on the start.

A few laps later 4 cars get together just in front of the GT-R and Igor manages to avoid that mess.

Then on lap 4 we lost an intercooler pipe, which causes some real issues on a mass air flow car. Igor pulled the car safely off course, and our second race was done.

Long Beach, setup tommorow.

ballz3
04-05-2006, 03:52 PM
thanks for the info, tyndago. great to hear all the stuff we will never see/hear on TV!!

that's the stuff i like to know. :)

..CUERacing>>S14
04-05-2006, 04:05 PM
excellent info man. Ive been wondering what happened at St. Pete

usagtrpilot
04-06-2006, 12:41 AM
Glad to hear that the damage wasn't serious. Tough luck so far, but hopefully that will turn around on your home turf, and the GT-R will truly represent.

P.S. I want one of those pit crew jerseys...

..CUERacing>>S14
04-06-2006, 11:13 AM
The St. pete race was depressing...1st Igor is out then Pilgrim lost his igntion system temporarly w/ 3 laps to go

igor@af
04-06-2006, 11:40 AM
The St. pete race was depressing...1st Igor is out then Pilgrim lost his igntion system temporarly w/ 3 laps to go

You forgot the Johnny Mowlem catching fire (and I mean big fire) in the Aston Martin during the parade lap. THAT was crazy.

..CUERacing>>S14
04-06-2006, 02:56 PM
You forgot the Johnny Mowlem catching fire (and I mean big fire) in the Aston Martin during the parade lap. THAT was crazy.

yea it was i was on the grandstands for that so i didnt get to see it. Watching the standing start, then you guys ripping down the front stretch was awesome. But the bend in between 9 and 10 was the best.

merritr
04-06-2006, 04:07 PM
You forgot the Johnny Mowlem catching fire (and I mean big fire) in the Aston Martin during the parade lap. THAT was crazy.

That was a rather interesting incident from the crew end as well. The radios were breaking up a bit when Igor was at the furthest point on the track away from us. We just heard him say something something blew up. We all looked at each other like uhh did he just say what we think he did?! We all started craning our necks to watch the cars come back around to the front straight and hope Igor would show up. Then Igor came on the radio and calmly said an Aston Martin is on fire. We are all relieved to know nothing had happened to Igor. Then we felt kind of bad for the Aston Martin team. They're also going through the development process on a new car to the series. They're the other GT team who is also always up working on the cars in the paddock late into the night.

..CUERacing>>S14
04-06-2006, 05:04 PM
They're the other GT team who is also always up working on the cars in the paddock late into the night.

I know what that is like. Im going into the garage for a tranny swap, wheel bearings, and rear adjustable control arms tonight. So its going to be a long night tonight and tomorrow night, being thats the only time i have to work on it.

R.S. Vlady
04-06-2006, 09:45 PM
After starting 23rd, Igor's best position was 16th by lap 4, right before he had to retire.

also, check out this photo from St. Pete, taken by some lucky photographer John Thawley


http://gallery.johnthawley.com/albums/albuo99/agt.jpg

LowFlyin'
04-08-2006, 03:24 PM
I'm watching the replay on Speed right now. I guess the first time I watched, I was concentration on the head of the pack...and by the time everything slowed down enough to look for Sushiko, he had already retired. Now that I know the outcome, I'm seeing the GT-R showing strong! Great job Igor. That car is going to be deadly when everything gets ironed out! :grinyes::grinyes::grinyes:

beef_bourito
04-08-2006, 06:10 PM
i was watching the replay of the st petes race on speed, well just the first 15-30 mins. i kept trying to catch the nissan but the camera was only following the first like 10 cars. i only caught a glimpse of it when it was lining up. oh well, hopefully ill see it at the front of the pack next race lol good luck.

LowFlyin'
04-08-2006, 06:14 PM
I thought there were a couple of times when they were using the camera on the top of the car. The engine sounded like a boosted RB26, and the roof was white. Maybe?

i was watching the replay of the st petes race on speed, well just the first 15-30 mins. i kept trying to catch the nissan but the camera was only following the first like 10 cars. i only caught a glimpse of it when it was lining up. oh well, hopefully ill see it at the front of the pack next race lol good luck.

beef_bourito
04-08-2006, 06:18 PM
i think it was one of the porsches, it looked a little too curved to be a square nissan.

R.S. Vlady
04-09-2006, 12:54 AM
They used footage from the roof the GTR when Igor went around a wreck. If it sais Buddy Club on the roof, then it's the GTR.

..CUERacing>>S14
04-10-2006, 01:33 PM
Just looked at the results from Long beach. Started 24th Finished 17th, Great job guys. Seems like your starting to get things together now. On top of that you ended up beating the STI also, that gives me some ammo for my subi loving friends, Excllent Job Igor and crew!!!!!

Raceghost
04-11-2006, 01:21 PM
I saw you out there man. I have some pics of you from turn one or two. Nice driving by the way. I didnt realize you were running till half way through the race. But then I saw you....for a sec. Anyways, nice race, I'd love to be a part of the team. If you need any help, please let me know.

blindside.AMG
04-11-2006, 09:53 PM
I posted a bunch of pictures of the Skyline when I was at the Long Beach Grand Prix. If you guys want you can check them out..... here (http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=550335). :)

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