The 1000hp GT-R built to reign
With eyes narrowed in a helmet, a ribbon of tarmac stretched ahead as jabs of throttle rise a burble to a howl, crackling against the jet of boost. Heart beating faster.
Lights are out. Rear quarters haunch and points the nose in the air as the front rubber scrambles to keep up with the tail and punch every pony into the tarmac. Fighting the steering as the car settles from launch and burns down the track, needles climbing as peripheral vision turns to blur.
This is Domenic Russo’s preferred location.
Dom is the kind of person who will tell you something like this, off hand. “Yeah, the GT-R is good for zero to 300 in 17 seconds.” Yep. 300 – 17 seconds. Hypercar territory. Dom owns Sydney’s Autostyle dealership retailing exotic, precious and collectable metal. He has experienced high speed in all flavours, and in places, most of us will only dream about.
The real measure of someone’s true automotive passion; give them free access to the world’s most desirable cars and see what they come back to. For Dom, it is the Skyline GT-R, and he has built some of the finest, fastest examples Australia has seen.
The reason? The unfair advantage. Something he found in the late 90’s when he began his lifelong relationship with the chassis he used to reign as king of the street.
“When they came out they were leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. They can make big power and still put it down on the street or the track. They are fast in a straight line and still go around corners. You’re untouchable.”
With over 1000 horsepower in a package that can cruise to the strip in traffic, lay down an eight-second pass and drive home Dom’s R34, is the latest in a succession of supercar shaming Skylines.
The caged, but still carpeted GT-R sports a 2.7 litre Nitto stroker kit with an enormous Precision single turbo, tuned with almost 20 years of GT-R building experience. The Skyline’s standard bodywork is subtly intensified with a purposeful dark silver wrap and front spoilers and lips, adding to an understated aggression. The car finds balance with a 6-speed Hollinger sequential gearbox, driveline, suspension and Brembo GT brakes.
“My goal is to have a car I can drive on the street and take to an event and compete with minimal changes. I love the feeling when a car comes on hard, and you’re really struggling to control it. When you have all four wheels spinning and you’re fighting the steering wheel, just trying to make the blur come through” says Dom.
At the heart of Dom’s GT-R obsession is, the RB26DETT. In full beast mode, the R34 makes 1400 horsepower and revs to 11,000 RPM. “It makes power in a very exciting way. You can make big horsepower with other engines, but they tend not to have the same frantic feeling.”
Building something this extreme takes experience, something Google couldn’t give you in the 90’s. Research involved meeting with people that were in the know. For Dom, building the GT-R’s Japan was ten years ahead of the curve, forcing him to pick up some basic Japanese and multiple trips to the airport. “Building the cars meant flying overseas and meeting with people. I also took a lot of risks. I built a lot of cars with a lot of different componentry we just had to work our way through it.” It’s with this kind of hard-won knowledge that Dom can oversee the creation of cars that reign supreme on the street of the track.
With plenty of high-speed kilometres still left to enjoy in the R34 and a stable of exotics awaiting his attention, Dom is driven by his passion.
“It’s the adrenaline, that feeling of the G-forces pinning you in your seat and the excitement of controlling so much power. Nothing does that better than a GT-R. Nothing sounds like a tuned RB26,” he said. “In a time when nobody seems impressed by anything anymore, I still love giving a passenger ride to someone who thinks they know fast cars, and watching them turn white.”