Archive for December, 2009

Some state of shock

I’m still in some state of shock, haven’t been able to comprehend everything that happened last couple of days. ..

On Saturday we went to Fuji Speedway to check the out the venue and to locate the NISMO Garage Sale tent. It took us a while to find Fuji Speedway since all the signs (except the first one) was in Japanese, but after driving around in circles for a while we eventually found it. Fuji Speedway lies beautifully on the base of Mt. Fuji and thereby surely has one of the world’s best surroundings when it comes to race tracks. The arena of Fuji Speedway is very large and as it was my first visit there with only Swedish tracks as reference I was amazed by the high standard, the amazing surroundings and the monstrosity of the Fuji Speedway arena. I quickly located the Garage Sale tent which was located exactly where my research told me it would be, which made me more confident in the game plan I made.

Went up at 4 am on Sunday morning to get to Fuji Speedway before they opened the gates at 5 AM. Got there about 4:45 AM and there was already a huge line to get in!? Fortunately, with the media access sorted, we got pass the lines. Dropped the car at our designated parking lot and ran to the Garage Sale tent just to see another big line to the tent. There was at least 50-60 people in front of me when I enter the line; Considering this was more than two hours before the Garage Sale was scheduled to open and that the gates shouldn’t even be open yet puzzled me. How the did they get there before me? The people at the very front was prepared with sleeping bags and chairs and many where holding places for other people joining in much later. They must have open the gates way earlier than 5 AM, but the information we got was that the gates would open exactly 5 AM. (And with Japanese being very accurate and strict, we didn’t expect anything else.)

So, there I stood getting more and more anxious until they opened the Garage Sale at 7 AM (two hours before the actual event started). As soon as they took down the sides of the tent I was presented with an extremely disappointing view; There was only 9 (!) wheels for sale! I waited for 15 minutes or so to get in the Garage Sale tent and immediately addressed the issue by involving every NISMO staff I could find that spoke some English. Unfortunately for me this was all the wheels they had for sale, and by the time I got in 3 wheels were already sold. Left were 2 bashed up wheels (beyond rescuing), 3 wheels in 17″ and only 1 in the right dimensions (18×13″) and in a decent condition. Not to mention that the price had gone up from 5 000 – 10 000 YEN per wheel last year to  20 000 YEN, even for the totally bashed up ones.

To give you some perspective; These wheels can not be bought any where else or in any other way than at the Garage Sale @ NISMO Festival. (Well… if you sign up a new team for SuperGT and purchase a Nissan GT-R GT500 race car from NISMO you can then buy some spare/extra wheels, but that is basically the only other option you have if you want to purchase these wheels.)

Now, imagine my disappointment…

Month of research, lots of hours and money invested in this trip. Got everything right, had a very good game plan but fell short on the finish line on a variable that I couldn’t influence; The nr. of wheels up for sale.

Well, I didn’t just lay down and die (though it took me a while to get back on my feet), I was at the NISMO Festival, surely there must be some people from NISMO or RAYS (manufacture of the wheels, subcontracted by NISMO) here that could help me? I got a good contact with NISMO personal from the media desk that did all they could to help me (they where very impressed with my build project). Unfortunately it finally ended up with an official response that they couldn’t get me any center lock race wheels, no matter what I was willing to pay. A similar scenario took place with the people from RAYS (who also had a couple of complete sets of NISMO race wheels in their tent that I weren’t aloud to purchase…)

It took me a while to get my head around to write this update due to the huge disappointment I felt and the fact that I was in some state of shock after the NISMO Festival.

So what will I do now?

Not much to do about the wheels. It’s not urgent to get some wheels for the build progress. I got lured by the temptation of having some genuine NISMO race wheels on this build and to get them really cheap. I did all I could, went half way around the world with a very researched game plan but was knocked down by reality. The build will continue and I’ll continue my focus on the body. Bo Zolland of Vizualtech is done with his work and the 3D-model will now be converted to CAD with the process continuing from there. The wheels will have to wait, maybe another opportunity arises further down the road?

The trip to Japan isn’t over yet, I’m now in Tokyo and plan to visit both Nissan’s Showroom in Ginza as well as the NISMO Omori Factory (where I plan to investigate wheel purchasing again) for some more healthy “Nissan-injections”. ;)

I’ll make a post-trip update on the entire trip with more stories from the NISMO Festival (which, except for the disappointment with the wheels, was amazing!) and give you an update on the build progress.

Land of the Rising Sun

I’ve now spent my first “night” (jet-lag, woke up 3 am local time) in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.

Arrived here yesterday a couple of hours late due to the illegal walk out by ground personal from Finair that pretty much shut down the luggage handling at Helsinki Airport (and caused delays and canceled flights). To avoid loosing my baggage I decided to only bring the absolutely necessary and not check in any baggage at all. It took a lot of detailed packing to be able to fit all cameras, PC, and the necessary clothes in a very small suitcase.

With no sleep for at least 20+ hours it was both fun and a bit scary to get in the rental car and drive for 3+ hours on the “wrong” side of the road from Tokyo Narita Airport to Gotenba. It surprised me how fast you could adapt to driving a car with the steering wheel on the “wrong” side and driving on the “wrong” side of the road, even though I was very tired. Had some fun moments with the GPS that only presented information in Japanesee, driving trough Tokyo in the middle of rush hour, but eventually made it to Gotenba.

Gotenba lies pretty close to Mt. Fuji which made for a beautiful scenery driving in yesterday.

Tomorrow is the big day; NISMO Festival 2009 @ Fuji Speedway. Where I’ll be trying to get my hands on some genuine NISMO race wheels for this build! I’ll post an update tomorrow to inform you all on the progress with the wheels and some more info on the NISMO Festival, stay tuned! :)

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