One of the standouts from the last few years of World Time Attack has to be Matt Longhurst’s Bayside Blue R34 GT-R. Epitomizing everything that’s great about the Skyline GT-R, this particular car sports huge power, enviable traction, those drool-inducing angles, a soundtrack that sounds like the end of the world, and a slew of other go-fast goodies which take it to the top of the absurdly quick list. With support from the talented folks at Alex Bennett Motorsport and Solid Engineering, Longhurst built what is arguably the wildest GT-R ever to come out of Australia.
Let’s go through the specifications first, starting with the 2.8-liter RB. Built by PMC Race Engines, this motor uses a stronger billet block from Bullet Race Engineering. Providing the thrust are set of Garrett G25-660 turbos on custom manifolds for staggering response. On the cold side of the straight-six sits a CPC carbon/billet intake manifold, which makes it sound like a Category 4 hurricane is blowing through the cabin. Outside, the noise of the RB revving to 10,000 rpm is intimidating, to put it mildly.
As important as power is undoubtedly a time attack car’s aerodynamics. A custom-angled radiator helps reduce drag, as does a completely sealed engine bay. With 1,250 horsepower on the engine dyno and closely stacked gears, this car needs to be made slippery. The GT-R’s brick-like shape isn’t all that conducive to the 185-plus-mph top speeds Longhurst was after.
Obsessed with trimming heft wherever they could, they opted for Goodridge lightweight fittings and Wiggins-style clamps, but these are only one small part of the weight reduction regimen they put the portly Skyline on. Operating just within the limits imposed by the rulebook, widebody fiberglass fenders from Robinson’s Advanced Fiberglass, custom skirts, a carbon roof, a carbon hood from Topstage Composites, a carbon diffuser, and another dozen add-ons bring the once hefty Skyline down to a mere 2,866 pounds. These angular add-ons also generate a good deal of downforce, although the team has not done much extensive testing in this department. Nonetheless, the bewinged Skyline seems to stick well at speed.
With 1,250 horsepower and just 2,866 pounds to push around, the car really didn’t need any additional help in the acceleration department; it’s quick enough to run with an older Formula 1 car in a straight line! However, probably more for reasons of longevity, he replaced the original Getrag gearbox with an Albins six-speed sequential straight out of a V8 Supercar. Most recently, he’s fitted a set of paddle shifters to control it, as opposed to the typical pump-action lever. This is a good thing when regularly counter-steering on a wet course.
To keep the GT-R in constant contact with the circuit’s sodden surface, V8 Supercar-spec Supashock coilovers provide the perfect compromise bump and rebound. When matched with the JDM-fresh Volk CE28 wheels, wrapped in Advan A050 tires, they provide the perfect track-toy stance. Underneath the bronze Volks rest massive AP Racing GT3-spec brakes and carbon-ceramic rotors. Simply put, no expense was spared in creating this formidable GT-R; there are few time-attack machines with the same level of detail and dollars spent.
It has to be said — the car is far more composed than the stats might lead some to believe. That supreme stability in all conditions is demonstrated in Longhurst’s wet lap at Sydney Motorsport Park above, though it does move around slightly. Turn 1’s slickened exit curb pulls the car to the right, but Longhurst keeps the car reasonably straight and brings his outside wheels back on track gradually, even if it means taking on a few blades of grass on the way back.
Even when the car snap oversteers at 0:29, it looks manageable provided Longhurst dials in the right amount of opposite lock in time. From there on, the car seems to relax slightly; only showing traces of turn-in oversteer, which actually help Longhurst in these adverse conditions. Come corner exit, the ATTESA-ETS puts the monstrous power down without any wheel spin. The traction is simply remarkable.
Naturally, he’s a little conservative in the braking zones and during turn-in, but the rotation through the corner and exit helps the relatively heavy GT-R put down a competitive time on a soggy track. Much of that has to do with the way the RB deploys its grunt, and the way he keeps his foot buried in the loud pedal a bit longer than most drivers would.
Of course, once the track dried, Longhurst extracted every iota of performance from his fearsome GT-R, as seen below. This R34’s performance is, with no exaggeration intended, worth the price of a ticket to World Time Attack alone.