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Built to JGTCC-GT1 specification by Hasemi Motorsport in collaboration with the Works Nissan racing outfit NISMO, utilising carbon-fibre bodywork

Raced by the Japanese cult racing hero Masahiro Hasemi, aka ‘Mr. Skyline’, to second in the 1994 All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship

The final R32 Skyline GT-R built and raced by Hasemi Motorsport – truly an era-defining piece of history

Winner of the inaugural 24 Hours of Tokachi in 1994

Finished in the legendary Unisia JECS livery, which affectionately became known as the ‘Japanese Marlboro’ owing to its resemblance to the tobacco company’s iconic colours

Retaining its Works-built engine and preserved in the specification and livery in which it concluded its racing career in early 1995

Immortalised forever by the cult-classic racing video game franchise Gran Turismo

Only one private owner since 1994, who exhibited it in a well-known Japanese motorsport museum

Presented in operational condition and ready to return to the racetrack

Chassis no. BNR32-221613R

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Masahiro Hasemi. Utter the name to any Japanese motorsport enthusiast worth his or her salt and we’re confident their reaction will paint a picture of the reverence in which the decorated racing driver is held in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Hasemi began his career in the 1960s and ’70s, reaching a milestone high in the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, when he became the fist Japanese man to enter a Formula 1 race. He forged and solidified his legacy in the 1980s and ’90s, however, driving Group 5, Group A and JGTC Nissan Skylines. His deft skill and immense success with these cult-classic Japanese touring cars earned him the moniker ‘Mr. Skyline’. 

“Masahiro Hasemi’s deft skill and immense success with these cult-classic Japanese touring cars earned him the moniker ‘Mr. Skyline’.”

A veteran of five 24 Hours of Le Mans races, Hasemi was a dab-hand in long-distance endurance races, too, winning both the Bathurst 1000 and Daytona 24 Hours in 1982 and 1992, respectively. In the late-1980s, he founded Hasemi Motorsport and began building his own Skylines to race in partnership with the factory Nismo outfit. Championships victories scored under his eponymous banner include the 1989, ’91 and ’92 Japanese Touring Car Championships.

A phoenix risen from the ashes of the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship for Group C cars and the Japanese Touring Car Championship, the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC) was founded in 1993 to reinvigorate the country’s motorsport.

While the technological rulebook was nuanced and strict, imposing myriad limits on power and weight in order to (theoretically) improve the quality of the racing, the comparatively simple category system was conceived to attract a wider variety of cars, both from Japan and American and European series such as IMSA and the FIA GT Championship. 

Suffice to say, the formula worked. The grids were colourful (both spiritually and literally), the racing was intense and, thanks in part to the advent of the PlayStation era and, more specifically, the Gran Turismo franchise, its popularity transcended Japan and spread right around the world.

With national pride at threat from the European manufacturers, Nissan and its factory NISMO motorsport arm entered a fleet of three Skyline GT-Rs in the 1994 JGTC Championship, to be run by various privateer outfits. Two of those were evolutions of the old four-wheel-drive Group A Skylines.

The third, the car we’re now thrilled to be offering, was different. You see, the newly introduced rules for 1994, formulated primarily to slow the Skylines down, stipulated that modifications to the suspension systems of four-wheel-drive cars were greatly restricted.

To get around these rules, Hasemi Motorsport – working in direct partnership with NISMO – opted to convert its brand new GT-R to rear-wheel-drive, not only forgoing the weight of the additional driveshafts but also opening up the rulebook for interpretation. The modifications didn’t stop there.

The resulting space freed up by the rear-drive conversion meant the engine could be moved further back, optimising the weight distribution. And further weight was saved by a specially fabricated aero package crafted from carbon-fibre with NISMO’s assistance.

“The final R32-gen Nissan Skyline built and raced by Masahiro Hasemi was certainly his swansong from a technological perspective.”

And what of the engine itself? NISMO were able to help supply a Works Group A-specification REINIK RB26DETT engine, mated to a bespoke ECU accounting for the JGTC’s new restrictor rules and a six-speed Xtrac sequential gearbox. The final R32-gen Nissan Skyline built and raced by Masahiro Hasemi was certainly his swansong from a technological perspective. The stage was well and truly set.

Resplendent in the famous white-and-orange livery of the Japanese tech brand Unisia JECS in which the Hasemi Motorsport Skylines had dominated the Japanese Touring Car Championships in 1991 and ’92, this Nissan made its competitive debut in the All Japan Fuji GT Race at Fuji Speedway – the first of five rounds in the 1994 JGTC season.

Amid a wildly diverse grid comprising the usual JDM suspects in addition to a Group C Porsche, a Ferrari F40, a Lamborghini Countach and even an ex-WRC Lancia 037 Rally Group B, Hasemi demonstrated both his prowess behind the wheel and the raw pace of his new number-three Skyline by qualifying fourth. Agonisingly, a gearbox issue in the race cost him a points finish, but the field left Fuji well aware of the threat posed by ‘Mr. Skyline’.

Masahiro Hasemi finished second in the JGTC championship after a season-long battle with his archrival Masahiro Kageyama

Sure enough, round two at Sendai Hi-Land Raceway proved to be an utterly dominant weekend for Hasemi and this chassis. A true lap-of-a-lifetime put the Unisia JECS Skyline on pole position. And in the race, Hasemi picked up right where he left off, leaving the rest of the field in his wake and crossing the finish line a staggering 15 seconds ahead of the second-placed Skyline of his rival team Hoshino Racing.

As extra-curricular activities go, the inaugural 24 Hours of Tokachi in June of 1994 was a good one and a welcome distraction from the JGTC Championship. Hasemi enrolled veteran compatriots Yukihiro Hane and Hideo Fukuyama to share the driving duties, the trio racing with the lucky number seven on their Skyline – a positive omen, if ever there was one. And so it proved to be. In a showing of crushing dominance, the Hasemi Motorsport entry won the twice-round-the-clock affair by 10 laps.

This car was nicknamed the ‘Japanese Marlboro’ thanks to its distinctive white-and-orange UNISIA Jecs livery

For round three in August, the JGTC circus returned to Fuji Speedway, where Hasemi engaged in a battle with the Hoshino Racing entry of Masahiro Kageyama, who had emerged as the other key player in the running for the drivers’ title. Kageyama had the edge of Hasemi in the race, though a fourth-place finish garnered a welcome points boost. The penultimate round at Sportsland Sugo saw Hasemi narrowly pip Kageyama to a podium finish, teeing up a title decider in the final round at Mine Circuit.

“Second in the drivers’ championship was a mighty achievement for what was an experimental car in a new and fiercely-competitive championship.”

After 92 laps, Hasemi finished a whisper behind Kageyama, taking an admirable second in the drivers’ title and third in the constructors’ for his eponymous outfit. It was a mighty achievement for what was an experimental car in a new and fiercely-competitive championship.

This Nissan made one final appearance in round one of the 1995 season, Hasemi drafting in the car in place of his team’s new R33-generation Skyline, which was not completed in time. True to form, Hasemi put the car on pole position and finished fourth in a field comprising much more modern machinery. It was a fittingly emphatic end to a short but very sweet competition career.

Understandably rather attached to this Skyline, Hasemi had it comprehensively refreshed and proudly displayed in the lobby of Hasemi Motorsport’s headquarters. The car was acquired by its penultimate owner in 1996 and exhibited in the Racing Palace museum near Fuji alongside a number of historically significant competition cars.

Crucially, this race-winning Nissan has remained in the exact specification and livery in which it contested the JGTC season in 1994, retaining its Works engine, sequential gearbox, carbon-fibre bodywork and scrutineering stickers from the last race it entered.

The JGTC was immortalised by Gran Turismo and a generation of enthusiasts grew up virtually driving these colourful machines – a generation which is now maturing and in a position to acquire the cars which carved such an indelible impression on them. In Europe, certainly, the demand for and interest in JDM legends – both for the road and the racetrack – has already markedly increased.

Charmed by its beguilingly original condition and impressed with its entirely traceable and successful provenance, we acquired the car in California in 2022 and promptly transported it across the Atlantic to our HQ in Oxfordshire, where it is now located. We have had this Skyline thoroughly inspected and, importantly, started to confirm it is in sound operational condition.

Masahiro ‘Mr. Skyline’ Hasemi’s Unisia JECS GT-Rs, or the ‘Japanese Marlboro’ cars as they became affectionately known owing to their resemblance to the tobacco company’s iconic colours, truly transcend physical and cultural borders and are now veritable legends of motorsport history. This race-winning example, the final Hasemi-built R32-generation Skyline, presents a discerning collector with an ultra-rare opportunity to join a movement which shows no sign of dwindling.

Price Upon Application

 

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