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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How to Prepare a Nissan Skyline GTR for a Track Day

Group A Calsonic Nissan Skyline GTR
How do you prepare your 25 year old Nissan Skyline GT-R for a track day on a road course? Easy.  Just follow these steps, and before you know it, you will be humming around the race track. If you are seriously taking a 25 year old, or older car out on the track, make sure you at least check the basics.

We don't know the condition of your car, the modifications done to your car, or your track experience, so bear with us on some of these items. This covers R32, R33, and R34.

R's Day 2019 Buttonwillow Raceway October 12

R's Day 2019 is coming up October 12th at Buttonwillow Raceway park. So if you are going to that, or another event, here are some guidelines.
  • Notebook
  • Maintenance
  • Fluids
  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Cooling
  • Suspension
  • Alignment
  • Oiling
  • Nut and Bolt
  • Tow Hooks
  • Fuel
  • Modifications
  • What to do once you reach the track

Notebook

My GTR notes, the only picture of I notebook I had handy. 
Taking notes will help you look back on past data.  It can be simple, it can be elaborate.  Some will use their phone to take notes. We still use a 3 ring binder and a pen.  Whatever works for you is fine, but it is a good habit to have.

Notes, you can never have enough notes. 

Maintenance


You have to maintain the car.  You have to at least check these items. If you don't know the last time they were replaced, replace them prior to your track day. 

A typical light load of items to bring to the track. Not including the engine hoist. 

Fluids


Replace them all before, and probably after each track day.  It is cheap insurance.  
  • Engine Oil - 7.5 - 30 (10-30 for a street car, 10-60 on a track car) - 4.5 liters
  • Oil Filter - OEM 15208-60U00 , WIX 51361, OEM(R34, smaller filter) 15208-9E000
  • Cooling System - Approximately 9 liters. Gycol or Water?  Depends where you live.
  • Front Differential (F160) - GL5 85-90 1 liter - (1 quart)
  • Transmission fluid - Don't try and fill it though the gear shifter. Though the gear shifter is the transfer case .  GL4 75-90  4.1 liters (4.3 quarts)
  • Transfer Case - Nissan Automatic Fluid Type D 1.8 liters (1.9 quarts)
  • Rear Differential(R200) - LSD GL5 80-90 1.5 liter(1.5 quarts)

Tires


Tires are the only things that touch the track.  We would say that the single biggest thing that effect how the car works, are the tires.  The wrong tires for the wrong job, will mean you fail to reach your full potential.  Tires will be a complicated problem because there are compromises. The fastest tires on track, will also wear fastest. The longest lasting street tires, will preform fairly poorly on track. Now if it rains, the best tires in the dry, may be the worst tires in the wet (think slicks).

Generally I want the stickiest, widest tire possible under the car.  The key being under the car. Not sticking outside of the body lines.

BT2 R32 GT-R with Magnesium Volk Wheels
Tire pressures are set with hot pressures in mind. You want to have at a minimum a good tire pressure gage, and note your cold tire pressure when you start the day.  Then after each session, measure hot tire pressures.

What wheels fit my R32 GT-R? 
Can I run different sized tires on my Skyline GT-R?
16 inch tire options for OEM R32 GT-R Wheels

Brakes

Cross drilled rotors always crack
Brakes for most people are a, replace every few years when they start making noise.  A good set of race pads, should make most people think you are on the squeelers.

Heat is the enemy of the braking system,well excessive heat. Every brake pad, every rotor, every brake fluid is going to have a range that it works well within. When you run outside this range, things go down hill and wear out quickly. I have written a lot about the brakes on the R35, and similar things apply to the R32, R33, and R34. The R32 Vspec, R33, and R34 all had Brembo 4 piston front, and 2 piston rear brakes.


Racing Brake Fluids
Brand NameDOT
Rating
Dry
Boiling
Point
Wet
Boiling
Point
Compatible with
Conventional
Brake Fluids*
Qty
Fl Oz
Part
Number
AP Radi-CAL R44644399Yes16.93310-004
Motul RBF 6604617401Yes16.9MT660
AP Radi-CAL R3
(formerly PRF)
4608399Yes16.93338-17oz
Red Line RL-6004604400Yes16RL600
Motul RBF 6004594421Yes16.9MT600
AP Radi-CAL R2
(formerly Super 600)
n/a594399* No *16.93309-17oz
Castrol SRF4590518Yes33.8NLA
Prospeed RS6834583394Yes16.93340-201
ATE Type 2004536396Yes33.83327-Liter
Motul DOT 5.15.1516369Yes16.9MTDOT5.1
AP Radi-CAL R1
(formerly AP 551)
3516284Yes16.93305-17oz
Castrol Advanced Performance
(formerly GT-LMA)
4509
(was 446)
329Yes12 or 323308-Size


Stock R32 GT-R - Non Vspec
  • Front -296 mm x 32 mm
    • 40206-05U02 Right Front OEM Cross Drilled
    • 40206-05U10 Right Front OEM Plain
    • 40206-05U03 Left Front OEM Cross Drilled
    • 40206-05U11 Left Front OEM Plain
  • Rear-  297 mm x 18 mm
  • The OEM rotors are cross drilled. Eventually in the GT-R racing range they went to a solid rotor, because cross drilled rotors crack. For racing use, usually a different kind of surface treatment is popular(Plain, slotted, J-Hook). Cross drilling looks good, and works well enough on the street. I like a two piece rotor as they weigh less than a solid disk. You can save several pounds per corner by going to a aluminum hatted rotor.
  •  DBA has their 5000 series of rotors but not in the stock 296 mm size, just the 4000 series rotors (Front DBA 4926 296MM   4000 Series Heavy Duty.)(Rear DBA 908)  Have to see if I can come up with anything, or do something like a bracket to put a larger rotor on the car. Larger rotors mean larger wheels, and I think I am sticking with the 16's. (I lied, I'm on R34 18" now)   Brake Weights - R32 GT-R  
  • EBC Brake rotors ~$250 to $350 for a set - Front RK1226  ~$85-120 for a set  Rear RK699


  • Std Brembo R32/R33/R34 rotors are 324 x 30 mm front


  • Std Brembo R32/R33/R34 rotors are 300 x 22 mm rear


  • Vspec N1 Brembo R34 rotors are 322 x 22 mm rear
  • F40 Front and Rear rotors are 332 x 32 mm 
  • F50 Front rotors are 355 x 32(34?) mm
  • R35 Early - Front 380 x 34 mm
  • R35 Late - 390 x 32.6 mm (they went thinner)
  • R35 rear - 380 mm x 30 mm


  • Cooling

    An odd location for an oil cooler on the #bluecar.  One day, we will move this. 

    Cooling can depend on your ambient temperature and humidity. The hotter ambient is, the more humid it is, the less effective the cooling system is. On an RB26 there is a factory oil/water oil cooler. That cools the oil, but adds temperature to the coolant/water.  Oil generally runs hotter than water. Radiator, Hoses, Coolant, Anti-Freeze, Water Pump information. 

    An RB26 is nearly oil cooled.  7 main caps, twin long cams, oil squirters, oil cooled pistons, turbos.  Heat is introduced into the oil, and that heat needs to be rejected via an oil cooler. Big, and many seem to be the RB26 answer.

    You probably need to run an aftermarket oil cooler.  Bigger is better. If you are making a lot of power, then a lot of that power is turned into heat.


    Suspension

    Stock suspension, Buddy Club, and some basic grade Ohlins
    Suspension. There are lot of parts to suspension. Some people use the term to only refer to the coil overs/shocks, but there are also suspension arms that encompass the term. Most Japanese brand coil overs are over sprung and underdamped. What this means is the springs are really stiff, and the control of the spring is not where it should be. While that setup may be fine on very smooth roads, or very smooth tracks, here in the US, we generally have neither.

    PCV with sub tank vs Flag R


    In order for you to be able to control the car, the tires have to maintain contact with the road/track surface. If the car is so stiff that the tire is bouncing up and down, and not contacting the road, you will not have control. There are many reasons not to over lower a car, or to make it too stiff. Stiffness does not equate fast or good handling. We see all kinds of Chinese branded coil over crap sold to unknowing young buyers. When you are young you might be able to live with shitty suspension, but as you get older, and have a chance to try out cars with hundreds of setups, you will probably much prefer a real coil over, vs some eBay crap.

    As far as brands go, we like Ohlins. There are different levels of Ohlins, the newest are the DFV, or dual flow valve setups. Ohlins does a good job of matching spring to damping.

    Ride Height : Don't go too low. The suspension has to be able to compress to work and control the tire
    Camber : The reason for camber, is not for you to fit the widest tire possible. Camber flattens out the tire as you are cornering. Too much camber negatively effects braking.
    Toe : You have 10 of them. Or rather it is the direction the tire is pointing. Toe in, or toe out. Toe in make a car more stable, toe out makes it a little less stable. Toe being off is the biggest wear of a tire.
    Caster : Shopping carts have casters. In a car it is self centering of the wheel, and steering effort related.

    As far as adjustable parts go, if you don't know what they do, and how they interact with how the car handles, you might not want to mess with them. There are plenty of ways to adjust how a car handles, based on how you drive, and tire pressures, but lots of people want every piece of adjustable suspension component they can get, then leave it all stock settings. Don't be that guy.

    Suspension and Alignment Settings : R32, R33, R34 GT-R
    Suspension Parts : Nissan Skyline GT-R
    R32 GT-R Chassis Bracing
    MotoIQ : The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling
    Wheel Hop



    Alignment

    The elusive camber spacers

    Alignment, corner balancing are both very important things in making a car handle well.  Most any shop can handle aligning a Nissan Skyline.  The OEM specs are above.  Once you get into a track car however, your alignment for the track, may/should be different than for a street car. Follow some of the MotoIQ information above to learn more about suspension and handling. 

    Smartstrings alignment tools for your car

    Corner balancing is done for cars with adjustable suspension.  If you don't have aftermarket coil overs then you won't be corner balancing. If you do, then it is a critical step in making sure that the car is setup for the track.  If you don't have the tools required, you have to find a shop that can help you properly corner balance your car. 

    #Bluecar on the scales

    GT-R Alignment Specifications



    BNR34
    BCNR33
    BNR32
    Front Camber
    - 0deg 50’  +/-45’
    - 0deg 50’  +/-45’
    - 0deg 55’  +/-45’
    Front Caster
    3deg 55’ +/- 45 ‘
    3deg 55’ +/- 45 ‘
    3deg 40’ +/- 45 ‘
    Front Toe (mm)
    2~1
    0~2
    1 +/- 1
    Front Kingpin
    15deg 20’ +/-45’
    15deg 20’ +/-45’
    15deg 25 +/-45’




    Rear Camber
    -1deg 15’ +/-30’
    -1deg 05’+/-45’
    -1deg 05’ +/-30’
    Rear Toe (mm)
    4~0
    0~5.2
    2 +/-2

    Oiling

    Tomei Oil pump vs OEM oil pump.  The Tomei are the largest and strongest crank driven pumps. 

    This is a double edged sword.  If the car is stock, you aren't on a crazy tire, and everything is in good order, then whatever the car has is probably fine.  However...

    Peter from Australia mentioned that I should let people know that the oil level should be filled to the bump/hump in the dipstick. We do talk about it in the basics and oil and filter change, but it might be missed.  This overfill may help keep your oil pickup covered in oil.  Very good idea for a near stock car that is tracked. Some pictures of oil pan level and that bump are here - https://www.gtrusablog.com/2019/08/rb26dett-oil-pan-testing-filling-it.html

    Nut and Bolt


    Nut and bolt is what we do to any car before we take it on track.  It is a critical step to ensure that you have the minimal amount of mistakes or failures.   You will hopefully save yourself a ton of time and effort if you just do some checking.  You really want to touch, poke, prod, and shake everything on the car prior to going on track. You will find loose items, and fix them before they become an issue.  Make sure you lift the car, and grab each wheel/tire at 12 and 6 oclock and shake. Then grab them at 9 and 3 and shake.  You are checking the condition of the wheel bearings, tie rods, and other suspension parts. 

    Nut and bolt involves taking wrenches, and other tools, and putting them on anything on the car that was touched, might fall off the car. So if you just replaced the brakes, then go back with a little clearer head, and double check them.   Often what we do on race cars, is use two people, each with a paint marker that goes around the car, and puts a dot/mark on each nut or bolt they touch.   Fast reference to make sure that you have the minimum amount of mistakes. We are all human, we all make mistakes, or miss a bolt. 

    The best paint marker we have tried and used, is the 1.8 mm to 2.5 mm Posca marker in Pink.  Pink shows up on about anything.  Easy to see, not expensive at about $5 each.  Really worth it if you have things to mark. 




    Tow Hooks

    Not an acceptable tow hook

    Tow hooks are required for most track day event organizers. They want a safe, defined spot on your car, where they can move it, if it becomes disabled.


    Fuel


    Run good gas in your car.   We could talk about octane, and octane requirements. But we just will say, run the good gas. Run the expensive gas.  If you are blasting around the track, not paying attention to things like boost, or temperature, good gas may save your engine. So that few hundred dollars in the good stuff, may save you a $5k engine rebuild. 

    Modifications


    These are entirely optional.  There are a metric fuckton of things you can do to a Nissan Skyline to make it preform better, or perhaps worse on track.  Yes really. You really can make it worse.  If you don't know the hows and whys of a modification, you should seek some help, or guidance.  Aka low is good, so lower is better?


     
    Car
    R32 GT-R (early)
    R33 GT-R (normal)
    R34 GT-R (normal)
    R35 GT-R (early)
    Length
    4545 mm (178.9 in)
    4675 mm (184.1 in)
    4600 mm (181.1 in)
    4650 mm (183.1 in)
    Width
    1755 mm (69.1 in)
    1780 mm (70.1 in)
    1785 mm (70.3)
    1900 mm (74.9 in)
    Height
    1340 mm (52.8 in)
    1360 mm (53.5 in)
    1360 mm (53.5 in)
    1370 mm (54 in)
    Weight
    1480 kg (3265 lbs)
    1530 kg (3373 lbs)
    1540 kg (3395 lbs)
    1737 kg (3829 lbs)
    Wheelbase
    2615 mm (103 in)
    2720 mm (107.1 in)
    2665 mm(104.9 in)
    2780 mm (109.4 in)
    Front track
    1480 mm (58.3 in)
    1480 mm (58.3 in)
    1480 mm (58.3 in)
    1590 mm (62.9 in)
    Rear track
    1480 mm (58.3 in)
    1480 mm (58.3 in)
    1490 mm (58.7 in)
    1600 mm (63 in)

    What to Do Once You Reach the Track

    Nismo R32 GTR at Buttonwillow Raceway

    This should be it own separate post.  From watching video before you go out, to knowing the track layout, the in's and outs. The length of the sessions, the rules for each session.


    Buy USA Legal R32 and R33 Skylines at Importavehicle.com!
    Buy-R.com for Nissan Skyline GT-R and GT-R parts.




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