Claiming you have the fastest R35 GT-R in the country might seem bold, but holding records in three separate disciplines is the kind of rock-hard evidence that no one can dispute
There’s an unspoken understanding that the GT-R is the king of fast street-car tin. Roll up anywhere behind the wheel of one, and people automatically assume that you’re there to do business — fast-as-hell kind of business. But, when ST Hi-tec turned up to the local time-attack series, NZ Superlap, two years ago with its own R35 GT-R, nobody could have predicted quite how fast it would actually become, especially considering how sedate the car appeared at first glance.
It started life as a stock-bodied and -engined example, but this was never going to be a story of gradual increases in power, as the team behind the build at ST had a very clear goal in mind: to be the fastest. “We waited so long for the release of the R35 and knew that we had to own one … to us, it was the godzilla to beat all godzillas, and we wanted to make ours the ultimate monster from Japan,” Iain Clegg of ST Hi-tec says. And they weren’t talking about just winning a race or two, either. Nope, the crew wanted to be the fastest at everything. Lap records, strip times, street sprints — the lot, and to do it all while keeping the car 100-per-cent street legal. So, where do you even begin to achieve a feat like that?
ST has played with a series of dark magic combinations to make GT-Rs produce times that would numb your brain, and they’ve been doing that since the dawn of time. Their cars include the 900kW R33 that featured in NZP C Issue No. 242, and they have picked up a few gnarly tricks along the way and forged a reputation for being fast-GT-R heaven. To get the party rolling with the R35, the VR38 bottom end was fitted with a Brian Crower 4.1 stroker kit that saw a billet crank, CP pistons, and Carrillo rods crammed inside. You don’t stroke and forge a bottom end on a whim, though — it was done in preparation for the whole lotta boost to be pumped through. Initially, that boost came courtesy of an HKS1000 twin-turbo system, which would be strapped on to replace the factory examples, to crank out a whopping 745.6kW at the wheels.
While power was being sought under the bonnet, GT Refinishers was tasked with fitting the Chargespeed Bottom Line carbon-fibre kit, coating it in carbon clear for extra pop — it was later resprayed black by Peter Lineham at Lineham Spraypainting after a hard couple of years’ racing — while a Dodson Motorsport front bumper with custom air ducts and carbon-fibre bonnet diffuser were added up front, and a custom GT wing went on to keep the arse end planted.
Despite its kerb weight of 1850kg minus driver, the R35 proved extremely competitive in the team’s chosen Pro Street category of NZ Superlap, and Iain punched out times faster than some drivers in the ‘faster’ Pro category. Running Toyo R888 semi-slicks, the R35 lapped Hampton’s National circuit in a blistering 1m 10.196s, 1m 8.98s on full slicks, and the international circuit in 1m 41s. Most would then naturally assume that the car was only really suitable for cutting through corners and peeling off down gridded straights, but, as the guys have now proved, this potent piece of machinery is all about versatility.
In fact, the team was so sure it had what it took to attack the quarter-mile, that it booked a private test day at Meremere dragway with the intention of setting the fastest R35 pass in New Zealand. That was an ambitious goal considering we have a handful of heavily worked examples lurking in the shadows, especially as cool track temperatures looked to dampen their efforts when the R35 struggled for traction off the line while smashing through the first three gears, but it only took Iain a single run off the bat to tuck 10.056s at 147mph (236.5kph) pass securely under his belt — making the ST R35 the undisputed fastest R35 GT-R in New Zealand.
With a properly prepped track, the car would have no doubt dipped into the single digits. However, this feat was never attempted, as the car was kicked off the strip because it lacked a IHRA cage, and, although installing one would have been simple enough, Iain says, “What does a street car need with a cage?"
Most would be content with a 745kW car with lap and quarter-mile records under its belt, but ST was far from finished with the R35. The HKS turbos were losing chuff at the peak of the R35’s power range, so they needed to go. The team linked up with Motor Sport Engineering to develop a modified-specification Garrett GTX3582R twin-turbo kit with compressor housings that were 10 per cent larger. To support the kind of chuff that these babies would pump out — a cool 33.3psi — the heads were CNC-ported and packed with Kelford Cams 292/306-degree Ultimate Race camshafts, while the intake side of things received a custom GReddy intake plenum. With the latest MoTeC M150 wired in, the revised package netted an extra 320kW, and, to put that power to the ground, Dodson Motorsport was brought on board to back the vicious engine package with a factory six-speed transmission home to its best gear sets and clutches.
It wasn’t just the drivetrain that received a rework either. Ohlins TTX Nismo GT3-specification coilovers and adjustable front arms courtesy of Dodson Motorsport joined super-wide 315-wide Toyo semi-slicks, completing the new set-up that would dominate the 2016/’17 Pro Street class. Iain won all but round two — where a early switch to slicks unknowingly barred him from reverting back to the semis, meaning a less than ideal rest of the day — and smashed the class lap records at each track the series visited, with a 1m 07.828s at Hampton, 1m 34.472s at Taupo, and 1m 11.007s at Manfeild — thus earning the team the title of Pro Street 4WD Winner and Pro Street King overall. “Our car smashed last year’s Pro Street records by as much as three seconds, and ran without any problems the whole season. It’s testament to the hard work put in by the team and Dodson Motorsport.”
You can’t help but respect the times this thing cuts while still rocking full street trim — it boasts heated leathers, Bose sound, air con — the works — and proves the versatility of the GT-R platform, having beaten all others of its kind on New Zealand tracks and recently clocked in at a top speed of 315kph (311kph average speed) at the Thames Valley Car Club’s Flying Mile.
Iain tells us that, while this particular car is now to be sold on, ST has teamed up with Dodson Motorsport to build something even more insane that will take big swings at what AMS Performance has been doing overseas … a statement that has us very excited, as it should you.
Location: Mount Wellington, Auckland
Build time: Two years
Thanks: We have to thank our main sponsor Glenn Cupit at Dodson Motorsport, Steve Murch for the turbo work, International Motorsport, Toyo Tires NZ, Jason from NZKW, and the ST Hi-tec Motorsport team for 1000s of hours poured into race development
ENGINE: Nissan VR41DETT, 4100cc, V6
BLOCK: Nissan VR38DETT block, Brian Crower 4.1 stroker kit, Brian Crower 4340 billet crank, Carrillo rods, CP pistons
HEAD: CNC-ported Nissan VR38DETT heads, Kelford Cams 292/306-degree Ultimate Race camshafts, Kelford Cams valve springs and titanium retainers
INTAKE: GReddy custom intake plenum, Cobb three-inch intake, K&N filters
EXHAUST: Custom four-inch stainless system with V-band flanges
TURBO: Twin Garrett GTX3582R hybrid
WASTEGATE: Twin TiAL 44mm
FUEL: Six Xspurt 1000cc fuel injectors on bottom rail, Six Xspurt 1600cc fuel injectors on top rail, Aeromotive 2000hp (1491kW) and 1000hp (746kW) fuel pumps, surge tank, Tomei fuel-pressure regulator
ECU: MoTeC M150, Syvecs Nissan GT-R 4WD controller
COOLING: Twin GT oversized intercoolers, custom three-inch titanium intercooler piping, twin custom oil coolers
EXTRA: Custom alloy catch tank
GEARBOX: Dodson Motorsport six-speed GT-R GR6 transmission, straight-cut gear set, and heavy-duty shaft
CLUTCH: Dodson Motorsport heavy-duty front clutch and 1200hp main clutches
DIFF: Quaife LSD front and rear, billet front diff housing
EXTRA: Billet front shafts, Dodson Motorsport trans cooler and alloy transmission pan
STRUTS: Ohlins TTX Nismo GT3
BRAKES: (F) R35 GT-R Brembo six-pot calipers, AP Racing 390mm rotors; (R) R35 Brembo four-pot calipers, AP Racing 380mm rotors
EXTRA: Whiteline front sway bar, Dodson Motorsport rear sway bar, Nismo front lower arms, Dodson Motorsport adjustable arms
WHEELS: 20x11-inch forged two-piece
TYRES: 315/30R20 Toyo R888R
PAINT: Resprayed black by Peter Lineham at Lineham Spraypainting
ENHANCEMENTS: Chargespeed Bottom Line carbon-fibre kit, Dodson Motorsport front bumper with custom air ducts and carbon-fibre bonnet diffuser, custom GT carbon rear wing
SEATS: Factory leather
STEERING WHEEL: Factory
EXTRA: MSNZ-spec half cage
POWER: 969kW (1299hp)
TUNER: ST Hi-tec
This article originally appeared in NZ Performance Car issue No. 249 — to get your grubby mitts on a print copy, click the cover below