At the world debut of the Nissan Grand Livina tuned by Impul recently, we caught up with Impul President Mr. Kazuyoshi Hoshino. We spent 10 minutes with the former Formula One racer and now boss of Team Calsonic Impul and through a translator, we got his views on the new R35, his favourite race car, and the difference between Impul and Nismo.
Hoshino-san was once called the fastest man in Japan and drove a Tyrell in one of his two Formula One Grand Prix appearances – both in Japan. He has also won the Japanese Touring Car Championship and his serious world championship win came when he won the World Endurance Championship around Fuji (1000km) in 1985. A great racer with a great personality, Kazuyoshi Hoshino now manages his own Super GT team and has his son Kazuki Hoshino racing for him.
Mr.Hoshino San, you have been racing for about 40 years now, you have went on to establish Impul and work exclusively with Nissan, which would you say has been the best car to work with?
I personally like GT sports cars like the skyline GTR and the Fairlady Z. But i also like compact cars like the Nissan March, but the problem with the car is that in Japan it is regarded as a ladies car. Through Impul, we are trying to change that image to turn it into a car for everybody.
In the Super GT race series, which was the best car for you?
I have been racing for many years with the Skyline GTR, I have a lot of respect for it.
Which among the skylines were the best to race ?
I have great memories with the R32 GTR.
Impul is about performance so why choose to work with cars like the Latio or Grand Livina which are normal cars and are not performance based at all?
Impul has parts for supercars like the Z and the GTR, but we have to think about consumers and what they want and can use everyday. It’s like the Giorgio Armani brand, they don’t only make suits, they cant survive without other products.
So with the Latio and Grand Livina, why didn’t Impul work on the engine?
Development is difficult and expensive, so we work outside where its cheaper and more pleasant to the eye and the customer can see what they are buying. In Japan we have supercharger kits for customers, but this will affect the warranty and claims for the car. It will also affect the maintainability of the car.
Are these aftermarket parts available as an option?
No, they are offered as aftermarket parts. If they were offered as an option, they will affect the maintenance and affordability of the car. We currently have no intentions of offering the parts as an options.
Would it be safe to say that Nismo and Impul are alike in what they do?
No, we are not alike in what we do, Impul makes street parts and Nismo which is a 100% Nissan company makes race parts for the track and some street parts.
Whats the difference besides Nismo being owned by Nissan?
Nismo is an official parts manufacturer for Nissan motor racing. Impul on the other hand is a separate company, we concentrate solely on street parts and not racing cars.
Are there any official Impul stores in Malaysia ?
You can get Impul models only through Tan Chong Motors. We have chosen to do so because we believe Tan Chong Motors can maintain the quality.
Back to super gt.. Why choose to race the 350z in the 06/07 seasons?
We did so because we race Nissan cars and it was the car that Nissan handed to us to go racing in. It works like DTM where you have teams contracted to certain automakers like Mercedes, BMW and Alfa.
Through your experience as a racer, what do you think of the new R35 GTR ?
It’s a supercar for me and is among my favourite cars. It has everything, great handling, very powerful, and it’s very fast. I like it.
What can we expect for Impul’s 2009 season? Anything new?
Nothing new, we are expecting a win in the Formula Nippon series and of course win as much as we can in the Super GT. Malaysia will be a tough race.
Last question, who do you regard as your closest competitor ?
Nissan Grand Livina tuned by Impul
Special thanks to Alan of TCM for the interview. Visit impul.com.my for more information.