Since arriving in Australia a couple of months ago, something that has become instantly evident is that it’s hot all the time, but more importantly, the GT-R scene here is thriving beyond belief. So when I heard about the 2016 ST Hitec GT-R festival, I cleared my calendar and made sure I was available to cover the event. I had been told that more than 200 GT-Rs would be in attendance, which would be nothing like I had ever experienced in my lifetime. May 28 was going to be a biggie — sunscreen was purchased along with a crocodile-hunter hat complete with dangling corks. I was set. 

Unfortunately, after months of dedicated sunshine, it was instantly evident when I woke up on the morning of the event that that day would not be like the rest. Rainfall had already begun during the early hours of this particular Saturday morning, and it was forecast to hang around like a bad smell until midday. 

Did you think this dampened my spirits though? Heck no — 200 GT-Rs! Besides, GT-Rs have all-wheel drive, right? 

I arrived at Sydney Dragway around 7am. The place had been fitted on Friday, however another hardpark event had taken place the night before the event at the dragway, and the place had been left a complete mess. Chicken wings, chips (chups), and more were all scattered across where a proposed 200 GT-Rs were supposed to be parked. It’s safe to say Andrew Hawkins — the organizer of the event — was fuming. Nevertheless, a team of us promptly cleaned the area without hesitation, and streams of GT-Rs began to roll into the venue to claim their turf. 

The noise of an RB engine is like nothing else in the world. Every combination possible was in attendance. Stock, big turbos, big cams, big twins, straight-piped, titanium exhausts — you name it, your favourite GT-R tuning style was rolling into the venue in a vocal spectacle. The song of their people, some would say. Alright, now it was time to get the cameras out. 

There were numerous standout vehicles, engine bays, wheels, and more at the event, so to name a few ...

Kyp Markou’s R32 GT-R is certainly one of a kind. Among a sea of gunmetal grey, white, and silver R32 Skyline GT-Rs, his particular example was sporting a new shade. A custom coat of metallic red had been applied to Kyp’s GT-R, along with a set of Volk wheels.

It was also packing a serious engine combo, complete with top-mounted Garrett turbo. This GT-R won best overall car at the show and best paint. 

I don’t usually get too hyped on R35 GT-Rs for their lack of soul, but this particular example really impressed me. This example is owned by Terry Ashwood and features a Liberty Walk bodykit and massive deep-dish wheels. This is one R35 I wouldn’t mind owning, that’s for sure. 

Built by Maatouks Racing, ‘STKNG’ never fails to impress. This particular GT-R is completely street legal with air conditioning, and a retrimmed interior. However, it runs regular eight-second passes down the quarter-mile.

At the GT-R Festival, Maatouks Racing owner Anthony Maatouk pedalled the R32 to an impressive 8.660-second pass at 162.8mph. 

Another R35 I was impressed with (becoming a common thing it seems) was Aaron McGranahan’s GT-R. Aaron’s vehicle recently became the quickest R35 in Australia, by running a low nine-second pass. This was backed up on the day with a 9.136-second pass at 166.15mph. Again, another street car that will soon be into the nine-second bracket. 

Pro GT-R Motorsport had a very cool stand indeed. Not only did they bring along their mental R32 drag car, but they also brought along their entire billet-block range. 

Oh boy, these things were shiny. If I had the dosh, one of these bad boys would be finding its way into an R-chassis of sorts. 

After nearly snapping my neck upon spotting this Mine’s R34 GT-R, I had to know more. After a brief discussion with the owner, it isn’t in fact a Mine’s-built GT-R, however the engine is. This proceeded into a build that would have it appearing as such. This thing is no doubt built for the track, too, with six-piston Alcon anchors up front, and Enkei NT-01 alloys all round with semi-slick rubber. 

Here are a couple of my favourite engine bays that I think need a mention. Have you ever seen such clean RB26s?

Oh, and Erubisu certainly needs a mention. Andrew Hawkins has been building this insane VR38-powered R34 GT-R. It’s packing twin Garrett GTX turbos, and just recently churned out 450kW at the wheels on a lowly 19psi of boost. The impressive thing though, is the huge amount of torque that this thing has. Soon enough, this factory VR38 is being ditched and a fully built 4.4-litre unit will make itself at home between the strut towers. 

OK, it’s evident that I could ramble on about almost every single vehicle in attendance. So, what I am going to do instead is attach a massive gallery below! Let me know in the comments which GT-R is your favourite and why. 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.