ARK Team America BNR32 GT-R Update Teaser

by Mike Kojima

An update has been a long time in coming but it is true, the ARK Team America BNR32 has not gone away or died, it's just that all of the principals have been busy with our other motorsports and industry jobs ranging from ALMS to Formula D.  With all of us so busy working the car kept getting pushed off but lately Eric Hsu has been rallying the troops and work has been progressing on the car all summer.

Our car had almost made it to WTAC two years ago but a SNAFU with the shipping company resulted in the car getting lost in transit and ending up in China.  It took months to get the car back and was really tough on the teams morale. The car sat in mothballs for a year and earlier this year, Eric started to make plans for the car's reentry into the Time Attack world.

While discussing what it would take, Eric and I figured that our biggest issue would be aerodynamics.  A lot of the development for Time Attack has been in aero over the past few years and our car had gotten way behind.  I had done the aero on the cars previous iteration based on my limited knowledge but with the latest fast cars now talking advantage of CFD and the services of real aero professionals our common sense approach would be sorely outclassed.

We enlisted the help of aero ace Andrew Brilliant to help us with an aero package for the car and most of the revisions are being done to accommodate his design.  Now Andrew was great at working around what we had and our limited budget and I am sure that we will now be much more competitive.  One point is that Andrew is very secretive about a lot of his design details so he asked us not to show a lot of them unfortunately and we will honor that. The small details you can't see make most of the difference.   If you want his stuff you will have to hire him!

Read The ARK Design BNR32 Build Stories Here!

Eric's task list is daunting, fortunately a lot of the hard stuff has already been figured out.  The car could start with a few days of work.
We have not shown the final configuration of the big mid mounted Borg Warner turbo and the Turbosmart wategates.  The heavy turbo has been located rearward to improve weight distribution  The floor has been raised to accommodate the high exhaust which was sunk into the floor to improve underbody aero.  With the vastly shorter block and greatly rearward location of the VR38 engine, the weight distribution should be close to 50/50, vastly better than the BNR32's 65/35  stock weight distribution.  An aluminum box called the oven surrounds the turbo and receives high pressure air from the wheelwell which is ducted through the car exiting in the low pressure zone in the rear of the car.
A lot has been going on in the interior of the car with the Tilton pedal box and rear seat being moved way rearward to get the drivers weight as far back as possible.
The dry sump tank has been plumbed and mounted and the fuel cell is in place.  Work is starting on the interior ducting for the oven and the inside mounted intercooler!
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Tuesday, August 05, 2014 11:13 PM
For those having trouble reading what is written on the front of the car. It says: Please do not take pics of the unproven aero!!
J Finken
J Finkenlink
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 1:22 AM
Very cool to see a new update. Looks like a pretty wild aero, which i guess i needed to be on level with Nemo and the Tilton car. I see you mention both VR38 and a transaxle. Wasn´t the initial setup a VQ35 and Holinger r32-34 gearbox?
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 1:55 AM
SWEEEET! Can't wait for the non-teaser update. The fuuuuuuuull update.

Cool to see this TA build back on MotoIQ. Long time no see/hear, except some pics on the WTAC fb page. Hope we don't have to go to the WTAC fb page to read/see the full story on this car. I'd rather read about it on MotoIQ.

Will this beast take a swing at some of the TA track records in the USA at some point ?

If they still intend to be competitive with the front of the WTAC Pro class, the aero will need to be heavy duty. I hope they are realistically aiming for times that will net 1st in Pro class.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 6:56 AM
Awesome. Pretty sure this is one of the most anticipated MotoIQ projects. Even cooler now with Brilliant Aero.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 7:22 AM
The race is on! Which will finish first, the Miatabusa, or the ultimate BNR32?

Great to see this car back and making progress. Kick some ass! AMERICA!!!
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 12:16 PM
It seems like in the past, on other cars with AMB, pics of the aero were available.

I wonder if this no-pic rule is something that came up due to "theft of intellectual property" . I can't wait to see the final product, in detail.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 1:50 PM
Sweet, sweet, sweet! Geeky, but I love the list. iPhone advantage; I can zoom in to see that Kojima's part of the list is mostly checked off but Anybody is slacking :-)

I've been teased, ready for more!
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 2:28 PM
made an account just so I could post this

yuuuuuuuuuessssssssssssssssssssssss :D :D :D !!!!!
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 4:12 PM
You might want to finish welding the roll cage as well ;)

Are you planning on testing the car prior to loading up for the trip, it would seem like a waste of $$ and time to go without shaking a build like this down first for a couple of reasons.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 4:23 PM
What's going on between the exhaust manifold and turbine housing? Is that some kind of twin scroll quickspool valve or just a spacer/bracket?
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 11:28 PM
why is over 90% of andrew brilliant's design ugly? functional yes, but isn't there to make it look better while also being functional?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 12:16 AM
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 5:45 AM
Who cares what it looks like?! Because racecar.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 6:01 AM
Re the Brilliant aero... I reckon a lot of the aesthetic issues come about because of the platforms the aero's being grafted to and because of the venue. On the first point, it's not like an R32 was ever designed to generate as much downforce as possible, and WTAC doesn't want people to completely change the shape of cars, so you're kind of going to be stuck trying to find anywhere possible to put downforce generating surfaces. And if downforce balance doesn't match weight balance very well, you end up with handling shifts as the aero comes on, so on something with a front engine (actually in a lot of LeMans prototypes too, at least historically speaking) you're scrambling for front downforce especially. If there was an unlimited budget and a free hand in the rules, I wager the front would end up looking more like a prototype car with underbody diffusers venting out the front wheel wells and the nose itself shaped to generate downforce... but instead there's this OEMish sheetmetal filled with engine and crap that you're stuck with.

And secondly, because it's time attack, and there's no engine rules to speak of, there's not much need to compromise downforce for low drag compared to any other aero-heavy racing series - if the top speed is lacking you can just throw more horsepower at it. So some solutions that would normally get rejected for being more dirty in terms of drag are on the table. That's not to say Andrew likely just ignored drag or impugning his abilities at all, more just where the likely emphasis is.

I'd wager there's a lot of stuff in Mr. Brilliant's resume that looks more "normal", in racing series with rules constraints on aero, or where there's more emphasis on reducing drag... which is to say pretty much everything else.

Now, all that being said, looking forwards to seeing where this sucker goes - you have, well, probably some idea of the grin I got seeing the "Beyond The Dyno" header yesterday in my morning page refresh.

Other thoughts... I notice a few mentions in there of bonding 3d printed body parts on the todo list, will be interested in any details you guys are willing to share on that. Moved intercooler should be interesting too. Someone commented on VR38 being mentioned vs VQ but yeah. Looking forwards to more, go Team America!
Thursday, August 07, 2014 6:13 AM
It's going to be loud as hell in there when those gates open up
Thursday, August 07, 2014 7:40 AM
On the looks of the aero, keep in mind all these TA teams don't have much of a budget to speak of. Complex curves take up both time and money, something TA teams typically don't have. So, the primary goal of functional dominates. Like on the endplates of the front aero, they just use simple angular cuts. Sure, could probably use a french curve or something to make it look prettier, but consider the fabrication time. With straight lines, measure out two points and draw a line. Using the french curve on both sides, making them symmetrical, takes a bit more time. Now you have to make the cuts. With the simple angular cut, line it up in the big sheet metal shearing machining, hit the pedal, bam! cut done in 1 second. With the pretty curves, would have to do by hand with probably air powered snips or something. Either way, it would take longer. Anyway, I've done a fair amount of sheet metal fab doing just boxy shapes for HVAC related equipment and that takes time as it is. Throw in curves and it could take a lot longer. So, that's just another perspective on it.
Andrew Brilliant
Andrew Brilliantlink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:48 AM
90% of what I have designed you probably have no idea I designed it. The teams racing them don't even know who designed it. I have a lot of passion for blending form and function but Time Attack is really hobby racing.

With this car, the situation was that they wanted a shot to win but had no time and no money. Aero is a compromise of time, cost and appearance. A lot of motorsports (F1, DTM, etc) have no room for compromises and only the rules contain appearance. You certainly do not have much margin to seek perfection when your budget is 1/10th of the current champion's single year aero update package!

Take a look at MCA Sylvia, they can boast two second place wins the last two years with a reasonable budget, but it's not pretty. It's all just priorities.

I love designing beautiful cars, but I intend to give my customers what fits their needs first and foremost.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:14 AM
Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:31 AM
I hate when I add my comment and it just disappears. Happens often on MotoIQ.

lol @ appearance based aero. Aero appearance does not equate to aerodynamic efficiency. Are lap times impacted by the appearance? Not to mention, appearance as a whole is 100% subjective. You might enjoy some things that others find hideous, and vise versa.

I actually don't think of AMB aero as ugly at all. Nemo IS ugly, but not because of AMB aero. IMO, Nemo is ugly because of the GARBAGE decal lights they run f/r, as well as that unflattering color scheme.
Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:36 AM
"You certainly do not have much margin to seek perfection when your budget is 1/10th of the current champion's single year aero update package!"

Whoa!!!...... that says A LOT about both of those builds. Not sure how you can compete with that type of budget gap.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:47 AM
Our car is being built by some of the smartest guys I know, out of our collective spare parts out of free spore time from our busy professional Motorsports lives. With some help by our generous industry sponsors, we just might have a fighting chance but we are doing it with little money and lots of heart. If we had some budget and corporate support, we would be going things a little different but Eric had this R32 he was not using and we decided to update it. At one time it was the fastest NA time attack car but it had become pretty obsolete. We were trying to make it faster in the least amount of time possible with the least money possible.
Thursday, August 07, 2014 12:07 PM
@ eeeen - Hit ctrl a, ctrl c before you submit the message that way you won't loose your comment. I'd go into the reasons why the comment won't submit at times but it would boor you to tears like James May on Top Gear.
Thursday, August 07, 2014 3:29 PM
@ Der Bruce: ctrl and scroll up/down on your mouse will zoom nearly any Windows application. same with ctrl + or ctrl -. ;-p

So epic. Puts the Japanese micro vans to SHAME! ;-p

Can't wait.
Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:25 PM
I can understand trying to get the best aero for the situation, but I think the appeal of watching race cars also has a lot to do with how attractive they are in the same way that people like the look of production cars. I don't think WTAC will be helped if all the competitive cars will end up looking like what amounts to finned heat sinks going around the track. I think the attraction of TA is that people can have some what of a connection from their production car to the race car. In that sense, I don't like NASCAR bodies or NHRA funny car bodies. They all look the same, just stick on the model your pretending it is. If it's the rules that they all have to use the same body then it becomes very visually dull to watch. Sure, I can really appreciate what goes on under the shell, but it's still race ugly. I know all the teams want 1st place but what's the point if you lose your fans.
Andrew Brilliant
Andrew Brilliantlink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:42 PM
You should write to the rule makers about that. Ask them not to define dimensional limits around the MCA car so we dont all wind up with big wings sticking out the sides pretty soon as well.
Thursday, August 07, 2014 9:21 PM
I've been to the first two WTACs and thought they were great events. But even then I thought the MCA hammerhead was too much. After Nemo won, I started to get disinterested because of where I thought the direction of WTAC was going. If anything, I would write to them about reigning in the dimensional rules they currently have. In the States, I don't think anyone watches import drag racing anymore, which was pretty popular in it's day. There might be a lesson learned from that.
Andrew Brilliant
Andrew Brilliantlink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 9:36 PM
Back about four years ago I suggested to WTAC that they put in a "follow original body lines" clause along with some overhang limits that were pretty reasonable. I think, from their point of view, the problem was putting the genie back in the bottle would cost them effectively banning some well loved cars. People were already exploiting lack of dimensional limits to compensate for lesser budgets.

What I think makes this a totally opposite problem to US import drag racing is that with aero limits it actually drives up the cost and gives the high budget teams more power to dominate. You just need more precise and expensive wind tunnels along with more money for aerodynamic testing. That is in contrast to things like like creative thinking or in this case, less marketing compromises. I feel like that is also a big part of time attack, that money doesn't buy wins as much as it does in other motor sports.

I think its a complicated problem.
Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:31 PM
I don't see the problem... There are only a handful of cars with crazy heat sink looking aero... Yes they're the top cars so they grab the most attention... But most of the cars are much more "regular" cars. If that's what you like then look at the other classes

Honestly I like the whole do whatever you want approach. There's no other racing where the top class isn't closely regulated with a 17 volume rule book. To me, that's the draw of top class WTAC: here are 6 and a half rules and do whatever you want for the rest

I also find it pretty amusing to hear all these "crazy ugly aero" complaints when THERES A TURBO IN THE PASSENGER SEAT!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:33 PM
Its more like in the footwell.
Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:48 PM
I think one of the elements is that there is a disconnect from what the fans perceive to what the pit crews know. I don't know if they are doing market research at the events and I can appreciate that the teams don't want to spend a ton of time answering the billion questions fans might have. I as a fan have no idea how much each team has spent on their cars where as rival team members can probably see through the BS that other teams claim as they are in the same industry. The fans don't get a lot of inside gossip or know as much as the teams and promoters, because they don't like to give it out, so their view is going to be greatly different.

For me, I stopped watch import drag racing because they became tube fame dragsters with shells, which is miles away from the unibody cars they started with. And if that's the case then why the hell am I watching slow as fuck 7 second import dragsters when I can be watching 4 second funny cars. It's that simple from a fans point of view. I have no idea what the event holders were doing in the back ground but whatever they did, they lost me.

A "follow original body lines" sound great to me and I think the teams that don't have as much money should have a fighting chance to win. But there has to be a line where if that brick you are championing needs a ton of inexpensive aids to be competitive, then maybe that wasn't a good platform to start out with? I don't know, salary caps? We'll see how it plays out. I could be wrong, but WTAC is starting to lose me already. But maybe I'm in the minority.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Friday, August 08, 2014 6:02 AM
Well, where's the desired line? Still looking like normal cars from the outside? The problem with that is that to be at the most competitive part of the field, you'll eventually have teams doing things similar to the Garage Revolution RX-7 where every bit of unibody not required to be there by the rules is cut off, but then also relocating suspension and everything else to get out of the way of the aerodynamics. Essentially you have to start creating a prototype / DTM car that just happens to look like and share some components with a tuner car. Or what happens is that everyone with the budget to do so just migrates to something that's close enough in stock form that they can get the aero they need within the limits of the rules. Neither of those options is low budget and both obsolete a lot of really popular cars. Mind you, I think it would be cool to see something built that way, and looking at SCCA sports racers does provide examples of people doing pretty wild things with aerodynamics and bodwork on small budgets... but also a big giant can of worms for people with big budgets. Unless you're dealing with really experienced people, I'd wager there's usually a pretty good performance difference between best guess aerodynamics and something with CFD behind it.

I note for the record I'm not really fond of the way the splitters and fences and whatnot end up looking on the WTAC cars, but I get why things evolved that way and it's kind of just part of the WTAC DNA now. And as for maybe things not being good platforms to start with for the Pro class if they need so many aerodynamic boltons... what in the WTAC field *is* a good platform to start with looked at on that basis? Let's pretend I know what I'm talking about regarding aero balance up above... name any platform in the 2014 entry list that makes front downforce without a lot of addons on the nose. I sure can't.

Anyway, just trying to point out that I can see the dislike for the aesthetics, but I really do think "solving" it would raise a bunch of issues too.

Wish I had the budget to build a car of any sort - the way the rules are written, I can't help but think of something like a Lotus Esprit could provide a pretty good blank canvas.
Friday, August 08, 2014 7:40 AM
Man, I did not expect the comments to head this direction. After watching years of racing where a rule book was the limiting factor or where every entrant looks the same I think WTAC is a breath of fresh air.

We are talking about a sport that is akin to drag racing with corners. I think it is great that teams can be competitive with lower dollar cars. Who cares if you need an 8 foot splitter. It looks badass. The fact that nothing out there comes close to how creative WTAC cars can get is honestly my favorite part of the sport.
Friday, August 08, 2014 8:34 AM
I like the open rule book. Allows a shit ton of room for interpretation. Crazy aero and power to push it? Why the hell not?

If you implemented a "must follow the stock body lines" rule, someone with loads of cash might just buy a McLaren P1 and mop the floor with everyone. No way an EVO or BNR32 is gonna compete with what amounts to an open rule book race car with A/C and a stereo if everyone has to stay within the stock bodylines.
Friday, August 08, 2014 11:16 AM
I was going to say the same thing as Rockwood. I think I've seen a Ferrari or two at a time attack and with aero rules about following body lines I think you'd see more of those exotics and fewer cars that are based off of what the fans could actually drive.

The aero look doesn't bother me though. Having more freedom to do whatever it takes to go fast is pretty damn cool. And I have a feeling it'll evolve into something a little different every few years.
Nick B
Nick Blink
Friday, August 08, 2014 4:39 PM
It's called the "Pro" class for a reason, it's the top class with the most development. If you want to look like a regular tuner/street car, or don't have the budget to run in "Pro" run "Clubsport" or "Open" class. There's something for everyone.

I see these arguments a lot like the kids bitching about Formula Drift being all about power and big $$ and how they can't compete. Well it's the big leagues, if you can't compete with the big teams go to a different class, you don't deserve to be there just because that's where you think you should be.
Friday, August 08, 2014 10:33 PM
@ gstmike ... are you testing your TA car?

@ Rockwood There can't be a Ferrari or McLaren in WTAC, or anything like a supercar... there are SOME rules in WTAC. Few and far between.

Yea, there is an Open class for those who are not into the WTAC Pro class.

The problem I have with the Open class is the seq. boxes that are common place throughout the field... last years H-pat winner does not represent the up and coming open field and will probably be toppled this year by a seq. box equipped car; I really thought that having the H-pat winner last year was WTAC's opportunity to change the open class seq. rule, but they blew it. Having 10k-30k+ seq. boxes ruling everything at WTAC except Clubsprint is very lame. If the Open class had no seq. boxes, I would really enjoy the Open class.

With that being said, the Pro class IS Pro class. Within reason, the Pro teams/cars should run the craziest of the crazy. Just a bummer the Open class cars are also so damn extreme now.
Saturday, August 09, 2014 7:30 AM
Can you make Open class competitive power on a stock trans and expect it to last though?

Also, I'm ignorant to the rules. No super cars allowed? What about a vette? Those have pretty good aero stock.
Saturday, August 09, 2014 8:34 PM
I'm just saying that import drag racing was like that too in the beginning. Gradually getting more and more away from the production car to the point where you just have tube frame cars with shells, just to be more and more radical and to break records. When that happens will the connection still be there if all there is for that connection is an EVO painted shell. Even F1 has a ton of rules for diver safety reasons. People say why don't you just make steroids legal for professional sports because everyone is cheating and doing it anyways. And if you don't like it then go watch triple A.
Saturday, August 09, 2014 8:38 PM
Why not just have a Prototype class in TA and let them go nuts?
Sunday, August 10, 2014 7:50 AM
Not allowed to tube frame the cars now.

Prototype class would directly end up with what you're taking about: tube frame "Civics".
Monday, August 11, 2014 9:58 AM
@eeeen - Absolutely, cars been assembled and running for over 8 months. Testing is all I have going on as I have no event plans.
Monday, August 11, 2014 11:10 AM
@ gstmike Nice! Good to hear. Are there ANY event plans???? Will we see GST defeat their bad luck streak at BW13?

I am sure you are well aware, but the L has fans who want to see it. Please show that beast more, even if its just "testing". I know I want to see more of it. Seems like there was an updated aero package awhile ago, but I have only found 1 pic in a very long time.

As a long time L fan, its hard to keep track of the L these days.
Monday, August 11, 2014 11:54 AM
@eeeen - Honestly we have no plans currently outside of testing partially due to my focus on our new car but mainly due to budgeting issues.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 12:09 PM
@ gstmike Bummer, it sure seems like the potential of the L's current set up has not been fully realized. I hope you find some extra budget in the couch cushions.

A new car ? A new TA car!? :D I hope so.

... or are you talking about the Phoenix 86 ?
Monday, February 09, 2015 6:44 PM
You guys heading back over in 2015? would be great to see this or the new car belt out a few scorching laps.
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