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Mine’s Complete Engine for Nissan GT-R: First Impressions

January 30th, 2010

Regular readers will remember that we were fortunate enough to be able to pay a visit to Mine’s headquarters in Yokosuka, Japan recently. It was the Mine’s Meeting Event that we were invited along to to get the scoop on their latest parts including their amazing new dry carbon front bumper.

Some readers with long memories will also recall the brief update Mine’s released back in November 2009 about the first test day after completion of their very first Mine’s Complete Engine. It was great to read their excitement over the finished product which they had been planning, designing and building for quite some time. Moreover, I was intrigued to experience it for myself to see if the end result was as good as a sum of it’s parts. So lets step back to the beginning to talk about the Mine’s Complete Engine and what exactly it is.

To understand the complete engine you should first start with understanding the Mine’s tuning philosophy. Since day one, tuning has been about feeling for Mine’s, and one feeling above most others in particular – response. The ability to get up and go is valued above almost anything at Mine’s, and that includes raw horsepower numbers. So when tuning the VR38, a big displacement engine with small turbochargers attached, that is to say already quite perky, Mine’s have to go to extremes to improve. This is, in a nutshell, what they have done.

The engine is built from the ground up using lightweight components. The VR’s cast pistons are replaced with forged lightweight items sourced from Mahle. These are forged from aluminum silicon alloy and are coated to lower friction. These are also combined with lightweight pins to bring down the total piston assembly weight.

Next, the stock forged conrods are upgraded. For this task, Mine’s chose ultra-lightweight titanium I-beam conrods. Combine these with the lightweight piston assemblies and each cylinder is down 320grams of reciprocating mass, a saving of over 1.92kg (4.232lbs) spread out over the six cylinder VR38DETT engine.

Working our way up to the head now where the Mine’s Super Chamshaft Shore Pro are utilized. An ideal match for the turbos used, they help the engine breath better. You need to move a lot of air quickly to keep an engine like this happy so proper camshaft choice is crucial to the end result.

The Mine’s demo car is also obviously fitted with pretty much the entire Mine’s R35 GT-R catalog. We should touch on these modifications too to ensure everything is detailed properly.

Ensuring air can get to the engine to begin with is another big focus of the Mine’s complete engine. Painstaking attention has been paid at every stage and to get an full picture of what we mean. lets describe the intake airflow. Starting at the beginning; air enters the system at the standard airbox where it’s filtered with a Mine’s VX-Air filter. It moves along to the Mine’s Titanium Suction Pipe into the turbo compressor side where it’s compressed and forced into the Mine’s Titanium Intercooler Hard Pipe kit. Then it’s off to the intercoolers to be cooled and back out towards the engine again. It then travels via the OEM piping and hose setup properly reinforced to keep it from expanding or popping off by the Mine’s Induction Support and Clamp kit.

Finally, before it enters the intake plenum, it passes through the Mine’s High Flow throttle body which has been smoothed and tweaked in just the right ways to provide as little obstruction as possible.

Phew there’s a lot there but just about the only part Mine’s hasn’t improved in there is the turbochargers themselves, and we’ll get back to that later because we’ve some secrets to let you in on there.

Fuel delivery is just as important, so no chances are taken here either but in comparison the modifications seem simple and perhaps that is part of their beauty. The standard fuel pumps are upgraded with the Mine’s variety. They feed a set of twin upgraded Mine’s Fuel rails into six larger than standard 650cc fuel injectors. While these aren’t giant injectors, they are perfectly sized for the desired output.

Driving the whole thing at an electronic level is the Mine’s VX-ROM with Mine’s legendary tuning ability in full force under the hood.

So that’s how it’s put together, but how does it go? Well to say quick is putting it mildly. It’s a fair bit insane actually.

Shortly after our arrival at Mine’s workshop we had a chance to go for a spin in it. With Niikura-san behind the wheel we took off at a brisk pace out on to the freeway for a short thrash. I guess the first impression you really get is surprise, it’s also the look on your face when you’re told that the Mine’s GT-R is making around 650hp. 650hp shouldn’t be so instant, there should be some spool, some lag before the bulk of the power is delivered. Even if it’s imperceptible, surely it should be there? There just isn’t any time to think about that though as we quickly blow through another gear on our way out of town.

The real key to the Mine’s setup is the instantaneous usability of the power. That is what is most attractive and what would be addictive. The car seems connected more aggressively than ever before to the driver’s right foot. From low RPM in high gears, the GT-R already shines out as atypical for a turbo car but the Mine’s car redefines what is possible to do with the right selection of parts and know how.

So yes, the Mine’s engine in it’s current packaging in the Mine’s demo car is making about 650hp. It does not seem to stress the car at all and it feels like daily driver material when you’re not stabbing the throttle to experience the rush again. The transmission is mildly tweaked in this car with some one off coolers (two transmission coolers) and and a piston oil seal upgrade, the TCM is also upgraded with the latest code from Nissan but is otherwise quite standard.

So it can be well and truly concluded that Mine’s have reached their goal of a 600ps+ response master Nissan GT-R. We’d like to see it hit the track now to set and break some benchmark times. Mine’s current best lap with the Spec-X 6.0 kit at Fuji Speedway is 1:49.782 with Eiji Tarzan Yamada driving, we need to see what the new record will be and we’re assured that this test is coming soon.

So will that be all we see from Mine’s in terms of power modifications? Hardly! They’re already in serious development of a turbocharger upgrade that is set to easily crack 700hp while still maintaining the ultimate response of the standard setup. We’ll keep you posted there.

The Mine’s Complete Engine should be ready for sale in the early part of this year so look out for the announcement. Until then you can set your desktop to the top photo in this post to remind you to check back every so often…

Link: Mine’s Website (English)

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Mine’s Meeting Event: Mine’s R35 GT-R Dry Carbon Front Bumper Scoop Photos

January 17th, 2010



Tokyo AutoSalon
is not the only event in town this weekend and today was a perfect day for a visit to the Mine’s workshop for the Mine’s Meeting Event 2010. Just an hour on the Keikyu line out of Shinagawa, Tokyo, Yokosuka is situated at the opening of the Tokyo Bay on the Miura Penninsula. Coming direct from Tokyo you feel a slowdown in the pace of life but it doesn’t feel like the countryside yet. The kind of place you feel like you could strike a balance between work and life with a getaway to the seaside literally minutes away.

Personally I had not visited the Mine’s workshop until today but thanks to the help and hospitality of Sales and Marketing manager Noriaki Nagahama-san we arrived to find a buffet of legendary Mine’s GT-Rs at our fingertips in the front parking lot. There was the legendary BNR34 GT-R that has been lusted after by JDM car fans since 2002 and is still said to be very emodiment of speed, handling and response on the circuit. There was also, of course, the pair of Mine’s R35 GT-Rs, one for street and one all out dedicated circuit version.

This is where things got really interesting because that latter, circuit version GT-R, was known to be the first GT-R to feature the Mine’s Complete VR38DETT Engine built right on site in the Mine’s Engine Room by Technical Supervisor and head mechanic, Toshikazu Nakayama-san.

Something else was different though, it is subtle yes, but substantially different. The Mine’s Dry Carbon front bumper that we had been awaiting for some time was finally finished and installed!

The Mine’s Dry Carbon Front Bumper is a complete replacement front bumper featuring some significant upgrades over the standard item. First and foremost is the improved cooling design by way of more ducting and redesigned ducting. The basic lines of the GT-R’s front end remain but the cooling potential is increased firstly by opening the central horizontal section. This is quite similar to what Nismo has done when preparing the Nismo GT-R for the 2008 Tokachi 24hrs endurance race but in the case of Mine’s this section is not just cut out but also ducted to prevent air flow from being wasted. On the Mine’s version, once air enters the horizontal duct, it’s forced to move upward to the radiator.

Next improvement is a little easier to see and comes by way of pushing back the engine oil cooler ducting to begin just in front of the intercoolers. This has a twofold effect of removing the need for the factory intercooler ducting and increasing airflow to the intercoolers and engine oil coolers by having a more open inlet. The ducting to the intercooler is now handled by the same carbon panel which directs air to the radiators from horizontal opening. Quite ingenious in design really.

Cooling is not the only improvement made on the Mine’s Front Bumper, we also have an improvement to the aerodynamics of the car by both the larger size and improved integration of the Mine’s Carbon Canards. The shape of the GT-Rs OEM canard “lumps” has been redesigned to allow the larger bolt on canards to screw in from underneath. Low profile hex screws are used to then bolt the canards up. The result is an absolute seemless looking solution.

As the bumper is built to OEM size and specification, it will bolt up to the standard or aftermarket front underspoilers. Seen here it’s bolted up to the Mine’s Dry Carbon Front Lip Spoiler Type-II. Of course, as with all Mine’s gear, the quality of the bumper was also first rate.

Expect to see the availability announcement soon and with that will come pricing information. Right now neither the date or price is decided but we’ll let you know when it is.

The Mine’s Meeting Event is still on till the end of the day tomorrow, the 18th of January so if you’re in Tokyo feel free to get along to check out the cars in the flesh!

Oh and before you ask, yes we didn’t just LOOK at that new Mine’s Complete Engine! We’ve got more to come from today’s meeting in the upcoming days!

Link: Mine’s Website (English)

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