Nismo GT-R GT3

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Nismo’s Nissan GT-R GT3

When tuning your own car it’s a good plan to take influence from other top cars, but it’s a risky business as just because somebody else has done something doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best way to do it. One way to be almost assured of choosing the best way is to take your tuning influence from a race car, as they have had insane amounts of development and testing; if they are doing it, you know it works.

The thing is though, a lot of race cars these days are so far from the road going version they’re just not relevant enough to take influence from, and we’re sure a lot of you turned the page and thought to yourself; “Why the hell is a carbon body race car in Fast Car?”. Well wonder no more, as unlike most world class race cars, the Nismo GT-R GT3 really is just a modified version of the Nissan GT-R production cars you see on the UK’s roads. The sceptics among you are probably still thinking; “Yeah right, I doubt there is any standard parts left on this beast”, but even we were amazed how closely related this thing is to a standard road car. There’s no carbon fibre space frame chassis here, the shell is straight off the production line at Nissan, and things like the chassis rails, sills, floor pan, suspension turrets, inner arches, screen pillars and bulkhead are totally standard; which in fact is more than we can say for a lot of modified road cars we know and love.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The ‘surprisingly standard’ theme continues under the bonnet, where the engine looks pretty standard, as to be fair, it is. The Nissan GT-R road car comes with a 3.8ltr twin turbo VR38 engine pushing out 545bhp, and this car comes with the very same engine, albeit with a quoted power of “500bhp+”.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The reason for the vague power  figure is because in GT3 racing they have what they call the ‘Balance Of Performance’. This basically means, in an attempt to keep the racing close, the organisers can at any time choose to restrict power on winning cars, and allow slower cars to up their power levels. The guys at JRM who build these cars for Nissan’s motorsport arm Nismo, fully admit they could easily make the car so much wilder in every aspect, but the ‘Balance Of Power’ rules means they can’t go too crazy, but the potential is there should they be allowed to.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

GT3 rules also mean while the engine and turbochargers have to be standard size, there’s no problem with monkeying about with the turbo internals, and while exact specs are secret, it’s safe to say they are pretty special inside, and more than capable of pushing out big power if the race organisers decide to allow it! Power is only one part of tuning though, reliability is another, which is why despite almost factory power levels, the engine runs two huge intercoolers, a big alloy rad, and a huge oil cooler too.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Another big difference compared to many tuned road cars is there is no show under the bonnet of this car either, it’s all go. No fancy hose connectors, no polished parts, just good old rubber pipes and Jubilee clips; things that JRM and Nismo know can withstand even a solid 24 hours of hard racing with no problems at all.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The final thing worth mentioning about the engine is the exhaust system, which in all honestly sounds flippin’ incredible. With heat-wrapped 2.5-inch exhausts from each turbo travelling along the inside of the side skirts and exiting under each door, the GT3 is not only pretty damn loud, but the rapid-fire pops and bangs on the over-run make a WRC car sound tame; it really is the best sounding GT-R we’ve ever heard. Some things on this car are far from standard, most notably the absolutely awesome looking bodywork. Before you start to wonder, no, the carbon Nismo wide body kit is not available for sale at any cost! “We get calls and emails on adaily basis asking to buy the kit” Mark from JRM laughs, “But it simply isn’t available; thankfully there is plenty of bodywork and tuning options available via our sister company, Sumo Power”.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Every exterior body panel, including the roof and doors, are made of carbon fibre, and while they keep the original GT-R looks, they seriously pump up the styling thanks to the massive arches, aggressive bumpers, a vented bonnet, rear diffuser, huge front splitter, and one of the biggest rear wings we’ve ever seen. The amazing looks are why they get so many requests to buy it, but the real reason for the bodywork is pure performance. The lightweight bodywork helps this car weigh almost half a ton less than the standard GT-R, every vent and duct helps channel cold air to and away from all the vital components, and the front splitter, rear diffuser, and rear wing are just three of many parts that help push the car to the ground with enormous downforce, so much so that the rear wing is attached to the chassis; if it was attached to the boot lid like most cars it would simply crush the lid down at speed! And those wheel arches? Well they are to house a set of very serious wheels and tyres…

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

The GT-R road car wheels are massive, 20-inches in fact, but this is for looks reasons rather than performance, and because of this the GT3 car has more conventionally sized 18-inch rims. Smaller diameter they may be, but they are ridiculously wide; 13-inches wide front and rear! Proving the bigger isn’t always better when it comes to alloys, we think the 13×18-inch Volk Racing VR G2s the GT3 car runs looks far better than standard rims, and when it comes to grip, the lightweight Volks wrapped in 310mm wide racing slicks are on a whole different planet. Even removing these wheels are a piece of cake, thanks to a giant centre wheel nut replacing the usual fi ve studs, and no need to struggle getting a trolley jack under the low body kit either; simply plug an air line in to a fi tting on the back bumper and the car instantly jumps high off the ground on its ultra-trick air-jacks.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan
Behind the super-wide alloys are brake discs that are the same size as the standard GT-R items at a pretty huge 380mm, but the front calipers are Brembo racing units with the thickest brake pads we’ve ever seen. On the rear the calipers are actually totally standard; like we said earlier, if it’s good enough for a top race car, it sure don’t need changing on a road car!

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

While this car has an amazing amount of similarities to the standard road car, one big change is it’s no longer four wheel drive; every last bit of power is channelled via a carbon propshaft and rear mounted sequential gearbox to those huge rear tyres.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

Despite the lack of four wheel drive, the GT3 can launch, corner, and brake far better than a standard GT-R, even in the slippiest of weather conditions. This is thanks not only to the aforementioned upgrades, but also two things a lot of people hate on tuned road cars; ABS and traction control. The reason for this is while standard ABS and traction control setups are intended to stop doddery old ladies crashing in the wet or accidentally doing rolling burnouts, this car has super fast reacting motorsport systems. These are fully in-car adjustable via dials on the dash, enabling the driver to adjust the amount of help he gets from them depending on track and weather conditions. This means he can drive as hard as possible without worrying about either the electronics interfering with his driving, or falling off the track when on the limit.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

With similar power to the standard GT-R you might think the GT3 accelerates about as quickly too, but in fact it’s far faster. While the production GT-R weighs 1750kg, thanks to a serious diet this car weighs just 1300kg, that’s not much more than a Corsa VXR; and we’re sure you can imagine how fast a 550bhp Corsa would be! Another way of looking at it is the standard GT-R has about 314bhp per ton, but despite having no more power this beast has 423bhp per ton; more than even a Ferrari F50.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

So, despite being unable to buy the body kit, having an engine that’s nearly standard, not being road legal, and costing around £375,000 to buy, this is still, without doubt, the coolest god damn Nissan GT-R on the planet, and the perfect one to take influence from when tuning your own car. Do we all want one? Hell yeah! Now, where’s that lottery ticket…

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

 

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

TECH SPEC NISSAN GT-R GT3
ENGINE
‘Production based’ Nissan GT-R VR38DETT 3799cc V6 engine with variable cam timing, twin standard size turbos with uprated internals, standard blue injectors, standard twin electronic throttles, twin 2.5-inch titanium side exit exhaust system with two straight through silencers per side, Samco turbo inlet hoses, high capacity twin front mount alloy intercoolers, top mounted oil cooler, PWR alloy radiator, single AFM conversion, Pectel SQ6M race engine management, ATL race fuel tank, solid engine mounts, lightweight race battery, oil breather system and catch tank, adjustable fuel pressure regulator, in-car adjustable ECU with four maps.

TRANSMISSION 
Rear wheel drive conversion, Hewland six speed sequential transaxle dog engagement gearbox, semi-automatic steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, lightweight carbon fibre prop shaft, lightweight drive shafts, ultra-light flywheel, quad-plate Sachs racing clutch, rear mounted transmission oil cooler, in-car adjustable traction control with 7 position controller.

SUSPENSION
Ohlins TTX race coilovers, adjustable bladed front and rear anti-roll bars.

BRAKES 
380mm racing brake discs front and rear, Brembo 6pot front race calipers, standard Nissan GT-R rear calipers, race brake pads front and rear, AP Racing in-car adjustable brake bias controller, Bosch Motorsport M4 in-car adjustable race ABS system with 12 position controller, carbon fibre brake ducts in front bumper and rear arches.

WHEELS+TYRES 
13×18 Volk Racing VR G2 centre-lock wheels front and rear with 31/71×18 Michelin slick tyres.

EXTERIOR
Production Nissan GT-R steel chassis, complete carbon fibre bodywork, including doors, wide front and rear arches, front and rear bumpers, vented bonnet, roof, front splitter, and rear diffuser, carbon rare mirrors, Plastics4Performance polycarbonate lightweight windows, quick release bonnet and boot lid with aero catches, three way adjustable carbon fibre rear wing, rear wing supports bolted directly to chassis, race air jack system, carbon rear window strengthening bars, ATL twin race fuel fillers.

INTERIOR
Full FIA weld-in six point roll cage including door bars and roof reinforcement, Nismo GT Pro III carbon racing seat with cool air ducting system, flocked dash, Motec digital dash, height adjustable steering column, fully heat shielded floor pan, ducting from bonnet vents to standard interior air vents, carbon fibre trim panels, reverse lever and brake bias control on carbon centre console, dashboard mounted dials for ABS, Traction control, and ECU maps, AP Racing race pedal box, four point bolt-in rear bulkhead brace.

Nismo GT-R GT3 Nissan

 

 

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A 1500HP GT-R STREET CAR THAT RUNS 8S

Getting a 3700lb (1675kg) Nissan Skyline GT-R down the strip in eight and a half seconds flat on its very first outing since an intensive, yet short lead build, is not any way, shape or form an easy proposition. But behind the wheel of MGAWOT II, New Zealand-based but internationally-renowned Nissan RB-series engine builder Robbie Ward has just made it look effortless.

If you know anything about GT-R drag racing you’ll probably recognize Rob’s name. If not, you should recognize his company’s, because for the last decade that modest workshop in a small city at the center of New Zealand’s North Island has been turning out some of the quickest and fastest Nissan RB-engined street and drag cars on the planet – many of them for international customers. The Bayside Blue BNR34 – unofficially dubbed MGAWOT II – is arguably their greatest work yet. It’s certainly the most powerful Skyline to have ever emerged from the RIPS (aka Rotorua Import Pro Shop) lair.

I caught wind of the Skyline-based drag project earlier in the year, not long after RIPS blew everyone away with its original MGAWOT machine – the company’s own Nissan Stagea station wagon which ran a 9.0-second pass on its very first pass down the strip and high eights ever since. MGAWOT II promised that and more, and during the course of last weekend RIPS delivered on its word in more ways than one. Not only did it a turn an 8.64 ET and a new NZDRA national class record on its debut run off the trailer, but it backed it up with a succession of 8.60s, then an 8.57, and finally an 8.51 at 162.5mph for the IHRA drag national class record too.

For the sake of anyone wondering, MGAWOT is a play on megawatt, which in power terms equals 1000 kilowatts, or 1341 horsepower. Truth be known, MGAWOT II has a little more than that, and more impressively makes its power on off-the-pump E85 biofuel. Equally remarkable, just seven short weeks ago the GT-R was nothing more than a rolling body fitted with a roll cage and a parachute. It arrived that way from the UK, but now, a couple of days after its debut racing weekend, it’s locked up in a shipping container and on its way back.

It’s not the first Skyline that’s been sent halfway around the world for Rob and his team to work their magic on and it’s unlikely to be the last. When it comes to RB engines – custom-engineered RB30s to be precise – RIPS has an enviable reputation. But it didn’t come by chance. Rob isn’t the sort of guy to ever shy away from a challenge, and he certainly doesn’t do things by halves. Too much power is seemingly never enough for this guy, and if that custom humped vent on the hood doesn’t speak volumes in that regard, lifting it up certainly will.

Like all of RIPS’ high-power builds, MGAWOT II’s engine is RB30 based. In this instance though, it’s pushed out to 3.2 litres courtesy of a Nitto Performance Engineering stroker kit featuring a 4340 billet steel crankshaft, 4340 I-beam rods, and a set of JE/Nitto forged T6 2816 alloy pistons. Not only do the upgraded internals give the engine the strength it needs to handle high horsepower loads, but they also allow to it to rev more freely, and to a 10,000rpm-plus altitude.

Of course, to achieve those big numbers you need a cylinder head that’s equally up to task. RIPS’ close associate Kelford Cams got that job of delivering a race-prepped and fully-flowed head from a brand new RB26 casting. On the subject of flow just look at that beautiful hand made intake plenum that the compressed air blows through.

Then there’s the turbo: a Garrett GTX47-series compressor sitting on a custom-built tubular manifold and running a pair of Turbosmart PowerGate60 wastegates. To give you some reference for size, that heat-wrapped pipe running out the back measures five inches in diameter. Large? Yes. Scary? A little…

If the engine was methanol-fueled and not destined to be street driven, the package could have sufficed without the need for an intercooler, but seeing as it’s designed to run on E85 and will soon be put back on the road in the UK (yes, you read that right!), a custom-built water/air charge-cooling system has been employed.

The set up pumps ice cold water stored in a custom designed and fabricated 50-litre boot mounted tank, through hoses to the ARE intercooler behind the front bumper. According to Rob it’s working perfectly to keep the intake temperature in check. The 18-litre tank on the left-hand-side hold the fuel, with a trio of Bosch Motorsport 044 pumps feeding the supply to the engine through six 2500cc injectors.

That’s not the only fuel the engine feeds on, though.

RIPS has always been a big fan of N2O, and while the Nitrous Oxides Systems set-up has the ability to deliver multi-port shots in the future, it currently only operates a small fogger nozzle for a 75hp hit that’s primarily used to bring the engine up on boost.

Remember what I was saying about attention to detail? It’s evident wherever you look, right down to CNC engraving on most of the custom-made items. The Tali Lomu insignia came at the request of the car’s owner – a huge rugby supporter with an immense respect for one of the sport’s most revered players of all time. New Zealand All Black great Jonah Tali Lomu, himself the owner of a couple of fast GT-Rs, was well known for his ability to steamroll anyone who got in the way of his 6 foot 5 inch, 280lb frame, so it’s a fitting name for a car that’s been designed to mow down the competition on the 1320.

With a conservative 1500hp on offer the RB32 definitely has the credentials to get the job done, but what surprised me the most though is how civilized the overall package is. Off the trailer all it took was one twist of the key to fire the engine into life from cold start before settling at a raspy, but even idle. Maximum effect, but minimal fuss.

That mantra follows through to the driveline, where alongside reliability, ease-of-use and driveability are key design traits. Unlike previous builds where OS Giken OS88 six-speed sequential gearboxes have traditionally been RIPS’ transmission of choice, MGAWOT II benefits from a ProMod-style two-speed, manually-shifted automatic that’s been significantly modified to integrate with the GT-R’s four-wheel drive underpinnings. The idea behind the auto transmission, which was initially developed in the Stagea, was to remove driveline ‘shock’, where immense torque loads plus a hard launch can equal expensive breakages. In a complete turnaround from the accepted norm, this GT-R catapults off the line smoothly, and even more surprisingly with just 6psi of initial boost pressure.

Getting the car out of the hole and on its way to a eight-second slip is a simple proposition Rob tells me. Looking at the left side of steering wheel, the top button purges the nitrous system while the bottom one engages the transbrake. On the right-hand side the top button activates the Leash Electronics Bump Box, while the bottom button triggers the N2O.

To heat the rear tyres before a run, a manual torque split controller alters the drive from full four-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive and can be adjusted to anywhere between.

After the burnout, the lever with the blue button is pumped back and forth to reinstate pressure back into the system and four-wheel drive for the launch.

That Bump Box I mentioned a couple of pictures back is a useful device in a set-up like this. To trigger the second set of staging lights, a driver normally has to be off the gas pedal to inch forward and fire the beam, which only leaves a split second to rebuild boost in time for the lights to drop. With the Bump Box, a microprocessor in conjunction with the transbrake does all the work, allowing the car to ‘bump’ into stage without the engine having to come off boost.

On the subject of boost, this is the first time RIPS has employed a CO2 system in one of its cars. The technology, which utilizes air regulators, is perfect for this application where boost control is critical, and pressure needs to increase as the car makes it way down the strip.

That said though, with its current Link G4 Xtreme engine management system tune the big RB’ is only operating at around 85 percent of its ability according to Rob.

It doesn’t take a genius then to work out that this car has a lot more in it yet, and that’s before you even start thinking about removing weight, like its heavy electrics-equipped steel doors and factory dashboard from the equation. It’s also running old circuit-spec coilover suspension, and the list goes on… Seven second potential? Without a doubt.

In the meantime however – if its debut performance is anything to go by – the Skyline should be at the top of the game when it hits up the Street Class of Santa Pod’s Jap Drag Racing Series, which coincidentally just kicked off for the 2013 summer season at the same time MGAWOT II was being shaken down in a far away land.

Given New Zealand and the United Kingdom’s geographical divide, chances are I’ll never get to see this car run again, and that saddens the inner GT-R worshipper in me. At the same time though, I know for a fact that this won’t be the last fast Skyline from RIPS, and that said, I can’t wait to see what Robbie and his team cooks up next. MGAWOT III? Watch this space…

 

Brad Lord
brad@speedhunters.com

 

New Zealand Sport Compact Drag Racing on Speedhunters

Other Skyline stories on Speedhunters

 

Nissan Skyline GT-R BNR34 ‘MGAWOT II’

Numbers
1500hp; 0-400m: 8.51 @ 162.5mph

Engine
RIPS RB32 build, Nitto Performance Engineering 3.2-litre stroker kit, JE/Nitto forged pistons, 4340 billet steel I-beam rods, 4340 billet steel crankshaft, RB26 DOHC 24V cylinder head, Kelford Cams cylinder head race prep/flowing, Kelford Cams camshafts, custom tubular exhaust manifold, Garrett GTX47 turbocharger, two Turbosmart PowerGate60 60mm wastegates, five-inch exhaust, ARE air/water intercooler, custom boot-mounted ice box, 18L custom fuel cell, three Bosch Motorsport 044 fuel pumps, braided fuel lines, RIPS plenum, RIPS throttle body, RIPS adjustable fuel rail, Turbosmart adjustable fuel pressure regulator, 2500c injectors (E85), RIPS/Ross Performance dry sump system, NOS nitrous oxide system, ViPEC engine management system, CO2 boost control system

Driveline
RIPS modified ProMod 2-speed automatic transmission, adjustable torque split, transbrake, limited slip differentials (front/rear)

Suspension/Brakes
Tein adjustable coilovers front/rear, Nissan BNR32 GT-R calipers/rotors, parachute

Wheels/Tyres
15-inch Advan RG alloys, Mickey Thompson 26.0/10.0-15 (front/rear)

Exterior
NISMO front bumper, Do-Luck rear bumper, custom turbo vent

Interior
Full rollcage, Jamex drivers seat, harness seat belt, Sparco steering wheel, B&M Pro Bandit ratchet shifter, Leash Electronics Boost Leash boost controller

 

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