You know, it's sometimes humorous when we ask how a time attack project began. We’ve heard of stories where individuals, or bands of gentlemen chip in, buy a rolling body and build a circuit slayer. We’ve heard stories of a natural progression of a road-going vehicle, getting slightly more aggressive at every outing, until a point in which, it becomes too aggressive and is imprisoned, garage-bound and tortured with pneumatic and 230-volt-powered tools until it’s next dogfight.
For Herbert Hugon, his path to on-track brutality began somewhere in the middle. Yes, it was a road-going vehicle that saw a few upgrades to enhance performance, but instead of an all-out no-expense-spared build, this all began because the factory nylon-wheel RB25DET Neo turbo failed.
Herbert wasn’t simply after a replacement unit, but instead, Herbert saw this moment in time as an opportunity to give the R34 a new lease on life, utilizing a stronger heart with more punch. No, not a high flow turbo, but rather a fully-built tough-as-nails RB30DET engine, built by Ray Evans. The RB30 block made use of an impressive factory RB26 head and Garrett turbo, but this combination wasn’t to last...
The combination didn’t last thanks to a mechanical error, but rather the complete opposite. The new-found torque of the RB30 was too impressive, and when Herbert found out that capacity could be further increased, it was simply too hard to pass on.
Not too long after, a Nitto 3.2-litre stroker kit was installed into the block, and with it, the envelope was pushed further again with a resulting 373kW(500hp) at the wheels, and mountains of useable torque.
Mountains of useable torque and power would be nothing without control, and this is a quest that Herbert has taken on himself. Armed with a few aerodynamic books and online articles, Herbert has dramatically increased downforce and cleverly reduced overall vehicle weight.
After all, what R34 is considered a lightweight? Weighing in at 1345kg, it’s still no Honda Integra, however, there are hopes of shaving another 100kg from this total weight to improve performance yet again.
“The car has been good to me so far. The only mechanical issues I've had so far have been a split power steering line on the very first shakedown and a broken fuel line at Vic Time Attack,” Herbert told us. Even after a brief discussion with the crew that was in attendance at Vic Time Attack, it’s evident there is huge confidence in the car's ability to perform flawlessly.
We struggled to identify this R34 as a GT-T at first, and that’s thanks to the addition of the riveted on Viva Garage widebody guards and Viva Garage front guards. These bulging sides, coupled with an aggressive front bar, shortened rear bar with a diffuser, and Z-Tune carbon fibre bonnet are complemented perfectly with the white paint.
There’s no doubt in our minds that this influence is purely Japanese. For a moment there, beanie on, hood up standing behind our camera we had the sensation we were somewhere much further north on earth, taking in the atmosphere of an authentic time attack event.
There’s more to the exterior that meets the eye, though, as Optimus Prime would have told you. The windows are no longer heavy glass units, but rather lexan.
The wheels are the functional, yet timeless 18x10.5-inch Volk Racing TE37s, wrapped in 285/30R18 tyres. We’re certain there’s no better wheel for the R34 in a time attack scenario.
Eight-piston D2 calipers, teamed up with GReddy four-piston units down the back take the heat, as Herbert pulls the R34 up from speeds of over 240kph, on Phillip Island’s turn one.
Herbert’s functional mind flows into the cockpit, with a safe-but-solid six-point Targa-spec roll cage, Sparco 2000 seat, and an RPM six-point harness. Like a fighter pilot with a master key, Herbert hangs his Sparco steering wheel from a high-hanging ceiling hook, so that the R34 has no chance of an uncontrolled escape.
Herbert’s R34 build is one we’ll be paying close attention too. Like a drifter being passionate about Japanese style builds, we’re the same here at TimeattackR.com with our chosen clock-watching discipline. The styling, engine package, and aero have us weak at the knees, so we’re sure to follow the team's progress. Stay tuned.
Of course, this build wouldn't be possible without the help of Herbert's crew, family and main sponsors. Herbert would like to send a warm thanks to Liqui Moly for the huge support.
- Vehicle: Nissan Skyline GT-T (R34)
- Engine: RB30E block, RB26DETT head, Nitto 3.2-litre stroker kit, Nitto ceramic coated pistons, Nitto I-beam conrods, Nitto oil pump, ATI balancer, rear head oil drain, Spitfire coil packs, custom loom, APR head studs, Nitto head gasket, Tomei cam gears, Garrett twin-scroll TO4Z, 6Boost turbo manifold, custom four-inch turbo-back exhaust, Turbosmart 50mm wastegate, Turbosmart Race Port BOV, HKS intercooler, PWR oil cooler, 52mm aluminium radiator, Accusump oil accumulator, 35-litre fuel cell, twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps, Tomei fuel rail, 1000cc Sard injectors, Sard fuel pressure regulator, Haltech Pro plug-in ECU, Racepak IQ3 logger dash
- Driveline: Nismo twin-plate clutch
- Suspension and brakes: BC ER series coilovers, D2 Racing eight-piston front calipers, GReddy four-piston rear calipers, Wilwood brake bias
- Wheels and tyres: 18x10.5-inch Rays TE37, 285/30R18 semi slicks
- Exterior: Custom aero kit, carbon fibre boot, Z-Tune style bonnet, Viva garage front fenders and rear guards, Plastic4performance perspex windows
- Interior: Targa-spec roll cage, Sparco 2000 fixed-back seat, RPM six-point harness, Sparco 320mm steering wheel