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Open letter to GT-R owners and enthusiasts worldwide

10-28-2006, 06:59 PM
<center><b>Open letter to GT-R owners and enthusiasts worldwide</b></center>
2006 has been an incredible year.
Although winning had eluded us, we had tremendous success in growing as a team and learning more about the most infamous super car to come out of Japan. We are becoming fully aware of what this car is capable of with the technology of today and continue to assemble the complex equation leading to a championship team. From the beginning of the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT season in March, our enthusiasm greatly outweighed our knowledge of the GT-R and how to harness the seemingly unlimited capabilities of the car. But you can't advance if all of your calculations are on paper (or in your head) and we jumped in knowing there was simply much more to know!
Equipped with a young team proficient in GT-R technology but not much circuit racing experience, the AutomotiveForums.com team was prepared for the worst by having loads of spare parts, engines, and even a backup car. And in the worst possible scenario, at a test after Sebring in March, a number of factors resulted in corner-exit over steer condition that not even the advanced ATTESA system could correct. Perhaps there was driver inexperience factored in the mishap but any seasoned GT-R pilot is aware that to alleviate this type of situation, you need to add more throttle and steer out of it to get the front tires pull the car out of the slide. Regardless, some aspect failed and the end result was one heavily damaged N1 Skyline GT-R, which aren't easy to find. Unfortunately, that is the nature of racing, some will tell you if you aren't going off track periodically, you aren't near the handling limits of the car but then again there isn't always a wall there waiting for you.
Not to worry, we had another car and forged ahead in our cross-country mission to compete with the racing elite in SCCA World Challenge. What a great group of people is the SCCA officials and the competitors in the series. Many of whom were dropping in on our team asking loads of questions and wondering what made the GT-R tick because when things were going our way, the car was scary fast. We think each race veteran saw a little bit of themselves in the AF team: young, inexperienced, scared, yet sometimes fearless. And for that, we gained a lot of mutual respect, for checking egos at the gate and going out there to make it fun because it truly was regardless of the outcome. I wake up each day being thankful that at 20 years of age, I am able to participate in such a prestigious series, in my dream car and actually have people following our adventures with extreme enthusiasm and curiosity.
As for the balance of the season, it was all over the place. We had some huge successes with making the car pull harder and handle amazing but had some low points where rookie mistakes added up to costing money and more importantly, credibility. However, that was from a more outside perspective, internally we were making progress with experts who know full well what it takes to make a winning platform and recognized we were somehow doing alright on a fraction of the budget, minimal experience, all with a crew of only four (including the driver!).
All told the end of 2006, which included only 50 percent of the season since both cars were damaged at one point, it was a costly year. We knew that blocks, turbos, suspension and such all break occasionally but we now know why and now know exactly what steps are needed in order to prevent that. It is crystal clear now that although parts failed and GT-Rs got broken this year, we have no one else to point the finger at other than ourselves. The GT-R is an incredible car. We expect it to be a force to be reckoned with in 2007 as we move to planning for next year. Not to rest on past successes but let us remember that the Skyline GT-R is the most winning GT in racing history.
As a driver, I have advanced over the past year and I can say with confidence that I am ready to be competitive. Now that we have deciphered how to make the GT-R technology reliable, we will minimize vehicle issues.
I would like to apologize on behalf of our team to the millions of GT-R fans around the globe and promise that next year will be a dramatic shift for the #69 car. There are plenty of surprises in store for 2007 and we hope to properly represent the Skyline GT-R to pay homage to the legend and set the stage for the introduction of Godzilla to America.

Igor Sushko<br>
Automotive Network, Inc.<br>
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11-07-2006, 04:16 AM
Proud of you guys no matter the outcome.


11-07-2006, 11:21 AM
Igor its been a great, and exciting year for the AF Race team. From the purchase of the Super Takiyu R34, to the checkered flag at Laguna Seca I know I can say I enjoyed watching the "play-by-play" of that guy driving #69. While many look down upon a no win season, its the first season you have competed in and with a completely different platform than whats considered "normal" for SWCGT. What matters is that you had fun, and gained more experience than you could ever imagine.

Thats racing. Go out to have fun, go out a race, get away from everything. Hearing the engine roar, gliding through the turns, take me away from here.

Good luck in 2007!

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