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The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of the Fastest Nissan GT-R: Part 1

January 3, 2009


The end of 2008 brings to a close the first chapter in the story of one special Nissan GT-R that we’ve been following since early days here. During the last few months there’s been no other GT-R that could come close to it down the drag strip once it dipped into the mid 10’s consistently.

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It was somewhat fitting that on the last track event of 2008 it was to again break it’s own record and ultimately break itself when it’s transmission let go doing what it did best, launching hard at the drag strip.

Over 100 launches using the Nissan GT-R’s now infamous launch control, with approximately 30 of those resulting in a sub-10 second ET, took it’s toll. Recorded on video for posterity you can watch what it feels like to strip first gear in a new GT-R.

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Story continues after the Read More link below…

Samurai Speed Project GT-R Begins

So now we know how it ended but how did it all begin?

It all began back in early September 2008 when John picked himself up a black on black ’09 GT-R to add to his stable. Alongside his Lamborghini Murcielago the GT-R might not look as slick but he was instantly taken in by the Japanese supercar’s attitude and driveability.

Didn’t stay standard for long though. John’s first time drag racing resulting in some unsatisfying quarter mile times due to some typical Florida heat and a poorly prepped track encouraged him to upgrade with a Cobb AccessPORT. The AccessPORT is a popular first choice for new GT-R owners allowing them to bend the factory ECU to their will – an easy 60 horsepower with a canned tune.

That done the Samurai Speed GT-R made it’s first pass in the 11’s, the drag racing bug had well and truly bitten and the search for big horsepower was on. A HKS GT570 kit was sought and in short order was finally delivered and fitted. The net result was an increase to 633 hp and 746 lb/ft of torque. Big numbers – enough to deliver a 11.04 sec @ 129.55 ET at the dragway but also enough to get told not to come back without a roll cage fitted. So close to 10’s you could really feel the tension in the air.

So the necessary hoops were jumped through and a weld-in roll cage was fitted. A custom made cage adds a significant amount of weight to the car so to ensure it can make it’s way down the track a few more horsepower modifications were called for.

Power House Amuse make one of the finest exhausts for the GT-R, so that was an easy choice. A Harman Motive air intake was fitted up at the same time. A custom methanol injection setup was installed to prevent any leaning out condition at high RPM.

Back to The ‘Strip

With all of this done, 10’s were in the bag right? Not exactly, a lot more power does not always equal better times down the drag strip if you can’t get it to the ground. The standard tires proving that they just aren’t up to the task the search began for a suitable sticky tire replacement. With the clock ticking, a set of 18 inch Volk TE37s with Mickey Thompson drag radials were fitted and John headed back out to the drag strip.

This time the missing ingredient had well and truly been found. On the third pass of the night 10’s were reached, 10.998 @ 129.72 mph. By the end of the night a new quarter mile record had been set at 10.85 @ 128.8mph. Figuring out exactly how to drive the GT-R seemed to be quite a challenge. Nailing consistent 60′ times was not an easy task.

In the weeks to follow the times fell as the tuning was tweaked, different methods of boost control were tried and technique was improved. 10.80, then 10.55 and then finally 10.53 @ 128.27 mph with a 1.504 sec 60 foot time.

Next Steps

So the transmission finally gave in to the constant punishment of 600+hp launches and the car’s off the road until a solution can be found. Interestingly, timing wise, PPG in Australia has just completed their first gear upgrade. A beefier first gear will certainly help in the drag racing department.

Once the mechanics have the gearbox open to assess the damage a suitable path can be chosen on which way to go. And that’s what we’ll cover in part two of this special report. Stay tuned!

Thanks to Chuck H from NAGTROC for answering our questions on this subject and shooting the video. Further to that I think I can speak for a lot of the GT-R community when I say thanks to John Reese for putting in the time, effort and money to discover the factual limits of the Nissan GT-R.