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  • GOING VIRAL: SHARPIE 370Z

    The world of competitive motorsport sees that in the majority of instances form follows function. One exception to this is the matter of livery. Drivers want to stand out from the pack and make an impression on the crowd. Team Japspeed are no different. Continue reading

  • THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

    Today is the day that we received our very own Snap-on tool box. But for the first time ever this really is our very own Snap-on tool box.

    Continue reading

  • VIDEO: SHANE LYNCH TALKS BDC1

    The team at British Drift Championship caught up with Team Japspeed driver and Boyzone member Shane Lynch to talk BDC Round 1 and the realisation of the supercharged V8 370z. You won't want to miss this one!
  • All The Way To The Top - 370z Story

    If you were able to make it down to Lydden Hill last weekend or tune in on the livestream you will likely already know that Team Japspeed driver Shane Lynch supercharged his way to 2nd place on the podium in the brand new Japspeed Nissan V8 370z! A car 18 months in the making and a journey which all started late 2014 culminating in the performance we saw at 8th-9th April at Lydden Hill. Here we look back at the build from the very beginning.

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    In the competitive drift scene it is all too easy to fall into the trap of constantly playing catch up. Our trio of S15s and Subaru have been hugely successful in competition over the past 10 years however in 2015 we felt the time had come to build a new flagship car ahead of the coming season.

    Fast forward and it wasn’t long before we had our base for the new car back at HQ – an extremely low mileage Z34 Nissan 370Z!

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    Unlike today drift cars weren't always stripped out track weapons but road cars modified for the track. As such we decided that retaining a sizeable portion of the original interior would be a neat little detail in an otherwise stripped-out car.

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    Following a thorough tear down and test fit of the forged VH45 V8 engine (which would later be supercharged rather than twin turbo as it was in the S15) along with the Quaife QBE69G sequential box it would be mated with.

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    With the V8 powerplant set to sit snugly within the available space it was time for the 370z to be thermally cleaned, rinsed, derusted, coated and baked to remove moisture before it was time for a pivotal part of any drift build – the rollcage, which would be taken care of by Shaun Woods at SW Motorsports.

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    We spent a great deal of time focusing on the small details with this build and key to this is the amount of time spent on ensuring the shell was up to the job. With the car returns from SW Motorsports; rollcage in place as well as engine, gearbox, rear subframe and radiator all test fitted we set about seam welding the body to further strengthen the shell and ensure optimum rigidity.

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    As with a number of elements on this build certain elements required a great deal more design and planning than you may otherwise anticipate….not to mention a whole host of specially fabricated custom parts. This is especially evident in the suspension setup of the car. Enter Robbie and Steven from the highly acclaimed Track Day Performance of Ireland who (using a highly complex 3D modelling arm) measured the space within the 370z’s wheel well to try and determine how much room there was to work with our chosen wheel and tyre size. These measurements would be used to specially develop a complete front steering package, similar to the highly competitive kits that they have produced for other Nissans in the past.

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    Meanwhile, having had the car electrostatically primered ready for painting it was time to decide on that all-important colour choice. We went with a nice silver for the interior and the underside - nothing too bright and in-your-face but not too dark so as to hide some of the finer qualities of the fabrication.

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    The build began almost as soon as the 2014 drift season came to a close and we’d been working tirelessly to build this car solidly from the ground up however it was always intended that the 370z would be unveiled at the Autosport International Show 2015. That deadline was fast approaching – With work on the shell complete and with the due date only a few weeks away we had to get to work on making the car look presentable.

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    One of the key features of this build is the modifications to the subframe. Most notably that the rear diff bushes don’t feature an upper collar – this allows up to raise the subframe a whole 15mm and press it right up against the underside of the car. Great for ensuring everything stays in check when we slam the car and Shane hits the power on track!

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    With function very much taking priority over form on this car as we start to prepare the look of the car it became important to spend time on the finer details – such as the front slam panel which is water cut from a single piece of 10mm thick aluminium!

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    Similarly Robbie and Steven have done an incredible job on the front suspension package they created for this car. Replacing both the front upper and lower arms along with the uprights and steering arms the suspension kit is a work of engineering art. CNC machined from billet aluminium the execution is flawless and the build quality second-to-none.

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    In standard form the 370z is a reasonably heavy car, which is why we’ve paid attention to reduce the overall weight as much as possible during this build. One such opportunity was the windows which allowed us to easily remove some excess weight by replacing them with polycarbonate items from Plastics4Performance.

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    With weight loss on our minds we turned our attention to the body panels and specifically the bonnet and bootlid which were soon replaced with carbon fibre equivalents – thanks to the team at Seibon Carbon.

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    With aftermarket parts thin on the ground here in the UK and with strict criteria for the spec of this car we found it difficult to source coilovers which would be suitable for our needs. Enter AST Suspension – a specialist performance suspension company based in the Netherlands. With all of their products designed and manufactured in-house, they were the perfect guys to go to with our specific requirements.

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    Featuring three-way adjustment (single speed compression control and high and low speed rebound control) and external reservoirs they offer a lot more adjustment than the majority of coilovers used in the drift scene, features that will no doubt prove invaluable when dialling in the car to suit the tricky track conditions we see all so often in the UK.

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    With the suspension and bodywork starting to take shape it was time to address another key area: the wiring loom. We could have all the fancy parts in the world but they wouldn't mean a thing if the electronics controlling them won't talk to each other and, due to some of the complex features we wanted to include (along with the MoTeC M130 ECU) we employed the services of the guys at HCI Systems.

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    HCI contacted us early on during the build process and came to visit our workshop to assess our needs for the car. They suggested the use of their HCI Powerbox, a unique piece of kit that sees use in many performance cars (including all production Pagani Zondas along with an array of race teams running Ferraris, Porsches and Audis) that does away with the need for any fuses or relays in the car. This has been located below the false floor where the rear seat bench once sat.

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    With the car assembled it was time for paint we'd chosen a subtle and classy shade of gun metal grey with which to form the backdrop for the vinyl that will soon adorn the car.

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    With the need for the fuel tank to sit in the rear seat bench we contacted AH Fabrications to make us up a bespoke item to suit the car. We've used AH in the past for the fuel tank that we installed in the V8 S15 during last year's rebuild and, having been mightily impressed with their work last time round, it was a no-brainer to get in touch with them once again. The downside of locating the tank where we had chosen was that it'd be incredibly difficult to top up in a hurry at an event.

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    Enter an ATL Fast Fuel Coupling - a fitting that would allow us to fuel up the 370 from the outside without having to clamber inside to reach the tank.

    At this stage the Autosport deadline was looming heavily over us and while we were disappointed to learn that we wouldn't have the time to have the car running under its own steam in time for the event, we were determined to have it looking its best and make that all important first impression.

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    With the fully forged VH45 that is destined for the 370Z still located at TDP's headquarters as it endures a massive overhaul, for display purposes we fitted one of our older VH45s in order to test-fit the new components and so visitors at Autosport could get a glimpse of how the finished product was going to look.

    With the car now in one piece and looking presentable, it was time to roll it around the workshop and take some quality pictures before treating it to an array of sponsor stickers.

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    With the shoot complete we set about applying the necessary sponsor vinyls for Autosport, all of which were supplied by our friends at Voodoo Vinyls.

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    While the car was to be treated to a much more extensive wrap and livery before it saw competition use, with the limited time we had we were left with little choice but to leave the car looking relatively saner for the show.

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    With the stickers applied there was nothing left to do other than load up the car the following morning and head of to the Birmingham NEC where it would be officially unveiled by Shane Lynch on the Maxxis Tyres stand the following day.

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    If you were at Autosport International we hope you enjoyed checking the car out - judging by the overwhelming response a lot of you were very impressed!

    Although the car was now technically complete we didn’t feel it right to rush things forward in order to be able to get the car out competing at the British Drift Championship and throughout 2015 our engineering team at HQ spent many a long day fine tuning and adjusting small details.

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    Perhaps the most instantly noticeable change took place on the exterior ahead of unveiling the finished build on the world stage amongst some of the biggest names in the drifting community. That could only mean one thing – our supercharged VH45 V8 370Z was going to Gatebil 2015!

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    Its fair to say the 370z was attracting plenty of attention throughout 2015 despite not being in competition just yet. Our friends at Banzai Magazine paid a visit to HQ to check out the car up close and feature the car in the magazine.

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    Although the car didn’t make an appearance in BDC until 2016 Shane was keen to return to an event he’d always been fond of – Gymkhana Grid! Making the journey down to Santa Pod Raceway the 370z would compete alongside an impressive grid of highly skilled drivers (with a fair few famous faces amongst them) including the Hoonigan MK2 Escort.

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    With the car still very much under development and adjustments being made to the setup constantly, the 370z still travelled up and down the UK primarily as show car throughout 2015. Such events included the famous CarFest North event hosted by BBC’s Chris Evans to the slightly more modest Ultimate Stance show towards the end of the year.

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    Returning to the Autosport International Show 2016 – 12 months after its original unveiling the Team Japspeed 370z wowed crowds once again on the Maxxis Tyres stand before taking to the track only a few months later.

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  • ALL SET FOR STANCE

    The 2015 drift season may be over but that doesn’t mean we should be retiring our cars into the garage and hiding them under covers for the winter just yet…just last week saw the Japspeed supercharged V8 370z finally break cover on UK soil and compete in the Gymkhana Grid finals and we’re not done yet!

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    The indoor event for the ultimate slammed and stanced vehicles from the UK & beyond takes place on the 1st November at the Telford International Centre. Widely regarded as the premium indoor event for all slammed & stanced vehicles across the UK and the continent, we are proud to announce the Team Japspeed V8 370z will be there for the static show.

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    Not only will there be over 250 of the best stanced show cars available for you to admire indoors but there will also be over 200 awesome stanced creations on display outside! Alongside this there'll be a whole host of demonstrations and displays including everything from RC drifting to BMX freestyle and Detailing…as well as a host of Ultimate Stance merchandise to get your hands on.

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    With all the action accompanied by a live DJ set we can’t think of a better way to spend your Sunday.

    Celebrating all things stance and featuring the wheelwhores showcase and swap meet this is one event you won't want to miss!

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    Advanced ticket sales have closed but are still available on the gate. For more information check out www.ultimate-stance.co.uk

  • JAPSPEED & DIEMAX ENGINEERING

    With teams and drivers in the drifting world constantly striving for the best engineering to allow them to push harder and get ever closer to those all-important clipping points it is no wonder that sooner or later there will be some teething pains. This is almost certainly going to be the case when you push those boundaries so far as Japspeed have done with the new supercharged V8 370z piloted by Shane Lynch!

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    In the case of this particular build the team found that the standard 370z steering pump simply couldn't keep up with the demand in terms of output pressure from the VH45 powerhouse that has squeezed into the bay from Shane’s S15 of previous years. Added to this the power steering has been known to be a little dubious as standard on the very early 370z models. Of course Nissan were quick to rectify this and have since greatly increased the pressure put through the rack on newer models to make it easier to use.

    In the sport of drifting it is extremely important to save time in the pits as much as possible so we decided to retro fit an older steering rack from a 350z into the car. This would mean that our steering pumps would work better but it also meant that if we needed to replace the rack at any point it should be simpler to source a 350z rack rather than a 370z rack due to the age of the car.

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    It all sounded great in principal but as with any custom build it would turn out to be easier said than done. The issue we faced was that the 350z rack mounted at 90° to the 370z and with space already limited in the 370z subframe thanks to the V8 engine alongside custom manifolds and sump; fitting the rack may not be so straightforward.

    To combat the problem our engineers worked alongside the team at Diemax Engineering to create a custom adapter plate which would bolt the full rack assembly from underneath the car with 6 bolts into the subframe. Not only did it resolve the issue but should we ever need to remove the rack we can now quickly as easily remove the complete assembly via only 6 bolts to provide full clear access.

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    We’d like to take this opportunity to send a HUGE THANKS to the team at Diemax Precision Engineering Ltd for their part in bringing this to reality.

  • Japspeed VH45 Nissan 370Z: Part 7!

    Following part 6 of our V8 370Z build which saw final preparations ahead of the 2015 Autosport International Show part 7 will bring this build right up to date including coilovers, interior, rear window ducting system and air jacks!

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    With suspension performance becoming ever more important within drifting as the sport moves forward it is paramount we select what we considered to be the best suspension setup on the market. With this in mind choosing AST-Suspension became the obvious choice with their 3-way adjustable external reservoir Nissan 370z coilover kit.

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    These coilovers have been entirely custom designed to suit the unique setup within the 370z. This includes custom length of damper, diameter of shocker, spring rates, valving rates, adjustability and reservoir location.

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    Running a four car team in the BDC means that the seemingly long, five minute rule for wheel changes has to be distributed between all of the cars. With this in mind we decided to decrease the pitting time of the 370z as much as possible. Lifting the stock filler cap on this car reveals the air jack operation valve. This allows us to raise the rear end of the car in seconds for significantly faster wheel changes and a more streamlined operation within the pits.

    Next up – the all-important interior details with Corbeau Pro Series Race Seats a top priority! Accompanied by a set of awesome 6 point camo Luke harnesses our seats provide the ideal environment for any racing driver – giving the perfect mix between safety, control and comfort.

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    A feature of this build that sets it aside from the competition in the world of drifting is the electronics within the cabin. Most notably of which is perhaps the Motec C127 datalogging dash. Designed to log several hundred parameters from the Motec M1 ECU this combination allows our engineers to not only diagnose any potential faults quickly but help work with the driver to go ever faster!

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    Replacing every fuse and relay within the car is our HP Electronik Power Distribution Module so as to increase the reliability of the electronics tenfold. Where a fuse would pop and shut down the electrical system, the Powerbox maintains the electrical feed which keeps the system running and flag an error for the engineers to diagnose upon the car’s return to the pit. Similar systems can be found in high performance cars such as the Pagani Zonda as well as a range of Le Mans competition vehicles.

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    Working in conjunction with the powerbox unit is the HP Electronik Membrane Switch Panel. This adds an almost factory look to the interior of our car, giving a sleek and sophisticated race feel as opposed to the more conventional flick switches.

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    Injecting some technology into the instrument cluster is the JT Innovations Toucan Touch Screen Display which maps every sensor within the ECU and displays a live feed of each as a visual graph. This allows our engineers to monitor the performance of the car in minute detail. Such monitoring enables us to pinpoint and tweak small details in combination to provide significant gains run after run.

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    Tying this all together is the wiring loom designed and manufactured from Raychem wiring and supplied by our friends over at HCI Systems. As any auto electrician can tell you this is no small feat considering the intricate custom detailing and technical challenges presented by such a unique car.

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    Throughout the majority of this build, including our latest video you will only have seen our prototype handbrake installed. Due to the limitations in space on the centre console combined with a designed to keep the factory look as much as possible the handbrake is floor mounted in the driver’s footwell.  The angle at which the handbrake is mounted and operated at is designed to be ergonomic with the driver.

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    Finishing off the interior it is important to note that the design of the handbrake is a key feature in that with the near OEM look of the interior the handbrake brings the statement making feel of the exterior to the interior of the car!

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    Moving to the exterior of the car this build features a unique rear window ducting system designed to aid cooling of the rear-mounted radiator. The difficult aspect of this window was keeping the smooth, sleek look of the exterior which prevented the use of more conventional large scoops and ducting. We overcame this by designing a folded rear window oversized ducting system.

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    By folding the top section of the rear window, creates a smoother airflow across the car; packing more air at any given speed through the radiator. Within drifting the car is rarely straight with the airflow directed conventionally over the car from front to rear. To combat this we have oversized the lower half of the rear window so when bolted into place this forms a sleek scoop at the base of the window.

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    Stay tuned for the next instalment of our 370z build as we delve deeper under the bonnet and make the final push to get the car ready for smoking up some Maxxis MA-Z1 tyres!

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