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  1. Turning to Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), Nismo began developing a prototype of the R390 GT1, named to follow in the tradition started in the 1960s with Nissan's R380. The first decision for Nismo and TWR was the choice of engine. The previous Skyline GT-R LMs had used the trusted RB26DETT Inline-6 motor, but the design was old for a racing car, employing an iron block which added weight, and had a high center of gravity. Nismo instead chose to resurrect an engine from the Nissan R89C, a racing car from the Group C era. Its engine, the VRH35Z, was a 3.5L V8 which used an aluminium block, as well as having a lower center of gravity and a better ability to be used as a stressed member over the RB26. Thus the engine was upgraded and designated VRH35L, and would produce approximately 641 hp (478 kW) at 6800 rpm. For road going versions, the engine was detuned to 550 HP. For 1998 the R390 was modified, most notably in the extension of its rear bodywork to create increased "luggage space" in order to satisfy the ACO, a new rear wing for racing models (production road cars had no wing), and the addition of a rear diffuser for improved downforce, after all three cars failed scrutineering at the 1997 event and had to be modified in order to be allowed to race. This subsequently led to overheating problems for the gearbox, and ultimately their failure during the race. Thus the "long tail" version was created, which boasted increased downforce thanks to the extended rear bodywork. This is the 1/24 Tamiya kit of the car, and I chose to replicate the car as it appears in Test Drive LeMans. The body shell is Tamiya Metallic Blue over a base color of Silver Leaf. Paint was polished up with 3200 thru 12000 grit MicroMesh abrasives, and given a final polish with Meguiar's Scratch-X. Mesh was added for vents and grills, and kit decals were used as well as a few sponsor decals from Studio 27. Lots added in the engine bay -- Thermostats were added to the radiators and exhaust system, as well as shielded cable, spark plug wires and fuel lines from Detail Master. Transmission fluid box and tail light wiring is from Model Factory Hiro. Exhausts were given a bit of burnt metal powder pigments of scalding blue and furnace orange. Driver electronics are fully wired from the comm. boxes, to temp gauges, to front lights. The front brake air ducts were scratch-built from parts-box leftovers.
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