Steroidal, record-breaking monster R35
Richard Marshall's Milltek Nissan GT-R R35, built in partnership with famous tuning guru Litchfield Imports, showcases some cool new products and beats a few lap records and timed events doing so.
It's no secret that Nissan's R35 GT-R is a huge favourite when it comes to tuning platforms. Just like many iconic Japanese sports cars, and specifically Nissan's own R34 and forerunners, the current Godzilla took the world by surprise when it dropped the venerable RB26 for a completely new twin-turbocharged V6. The massive performance numbers were an immediate hit, but weight issues and the Origami styling were not to everybody's liking, though the complex electronics and advanced AWD system made mincemeat of most other supercars in the twisties, to the point where you could be fooled into thinking your physics teacher actually taught you Greek. Laughing in the face of physics, that's what this car is all about.
Coming to our orange Milltek GT-R, owned by Richard Marshall, let's get a bit of the background straight. The 50 year-old from Cornwall has been into cars since his late teens, modifying his Ford Mexico and RS200 to make them go faster and
handle better. He's been through a couple of Fords, but it was only when he left Cornwall in 1985 to join an Audi dealer in Bracknell, the desire for a fast road car started to blossom.
After leaving Bracknell and heading to Nottingham, Richard was faced with a complete work change that forced him to get away from the motor trade, and in the end started his own business. Having two children and a few family cars later, he bought an Audi RS4, and with a small amount of money behind him, decided that a family estate should be able to be used on track and top 200mph. However, in reality it never did. After many attempts to make the car faster over 10 long years, engine re-builds and re-mapping, Richard decided it needed replacing.
So what do you replace a 550hp five-door estate with? The only car on the horizon was the GT-R R35, which Richard had heard rumours about, but it was near impossible to get any information
out of Nissan. In fact, when he tried to put his name down for one, the local dealer didn't know what it was, and even when they got a small amount of detail, they would only put his name on a list and not take a deposit.
When the GT-R news broke, Richard had to move his name from the local dealership to Middlehurst's as they were able to supply the car for him. And he got his first GT-R in April 2009, in red. Following a 3000 mile tour of back road France with some like-minded guys in Ferraris and Maseratis, Richard had a feeling that, while the car was fast and hugely capable, the GT-R was doing most of the driving work for him.
Back in England, Richard sold the R35 when someone offered him a near irresistible price for the new Jap supercar. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and our man started to miss the GT-R almost immediately after he sold it off. Soon enough, the conclusion was
reached that the GT-R would be a better driver's car with more power, and in came another, silver example that would be at the receiving end of extensive mods.
First up was the exhaust system. Knowing people in high places is always a good thing, and even better when you're pally with Milltek's MD, Phil Millington. Very soon, the car was in their workshop trying out a combination of exhaust systems. Following on from the success that Milltek's had since the introduction of its modular Y-Pipe cat-back system, comes the latest innovation from the UK-based performance exhaust manufacturer, the Nissan GT-R 90mm Road/Race system. The system features a massive 90mm bore size, full-radius mandrel-bending technology to eliminate pipe 'squashing' that is common to many exhaust systems, full TIG welding to the highest standards and, four stunning ultra-lightweight 5" titanium tailpipes (available in either its raw 'Race' finish or soon-to-be-released Plasma-coated ceramic black). Apart from the performance gains, the sound produced is awesome and also allows for the addition of flames on overrun. How cool is that? After the exhaust was developed, Phil decided that the
''APART FROM THE PERFORMANCE GAINS, THE SOUND PRODUCED IS AWESOME AND ALSO ALLOWS FOR THE ADDITION OF FLAMES ON THE OVERRUN. HOW COOL IS THAT!''
Adding to the brilliant Milltek exhaust system was expert input from GT-R tuning guru, Iain Litchfield. The current state of tune sees bigger Garrett GT30R turbos that push power to a massive 750hp, along with 650lb-ft of torque. Other mods include Bosch 1100cc injectors and upgraded Walbro twin fuel pumps, along with an induction kit, front-mount intercooler, transmission intercooler, larger alloy header tank and upgraded coolant hoses from Forge.
best man for the engine mods was renowned GT-R tuning guru Iain Litchfield of Litchfield Imports. After meeting Iain Litchfield, it was soon apparent that mods to the car and engine had to be worked around Richard's driving style and, because of the disappointments with the Audi, he was not looking for a specific power output, instead a steady stream of power under all conditions - better to have 600hp all the time than 1000hp for a minute, right? Litchfield Imports, by the way, have a massive range of staged upgrade packages ranging from Stage 1 to Stage 7, or for those looking to take their car into the 800-1000hp+ range, a Stage 8+ kit!
The first conversion produced 623hp, which was everything listed, bar the larger turbos, which gave the GT-R performance where the driver input has to be better balanced. Next came bigger GT30R snails with billet compressor wheels that endowed the badass coupe with around 750hp and 650 ft lbs of torque. Naturally, the acceleration figures dropped in accordance, with 96km/h coming up in just 3.3 sec and 160km/h in 6.2 sec. According to Richard, the numbers tell only half of the story, as the mid-range punch from 190-260km/h is so frighteningly quick that you need to have solitude and a cuppa (later on, not in the car!) to comprehend that you actually did it that fast.
The 90mm exhaust system was designed very specifically to work with cars in the higher states of tune and has proven to provide incredible performance headroom and has remained 100% reliable on the race track at more than 800bhp+ on this very car. In addition to the 90mm exhaust system and to meet the needs of track-day enthusiasts, Milltek has also developed noise control tailpipes, which can be installed easily prior to a track event to make the system noise-compliant with any race circuits' regulations.
Other upgrades include Bosch 1100cc injectors and upgraded Walbro twin fuel pumps, along with an induction kit, front mount intercooler, transmission intercooler, larger alloy header tank and upgraded coolant hoses from Forge. Interestingly, while the car rolls on 20" BBS CH rims, sized 9.5J at the front and 10J at the back, wearing 255/40/20 and 285/35/20 high performance rubber, the suspension has been left bone stock.
In late September 2011, Milltek's Nissan GT-R took the fight to the regular Time Attack competitors at the recently refurbished Snetterton race circuit near Norfolk for the final round of the 2011 season. The main reason for the Time Attack expedition was to test the performance and durability of Milltek's 90mm GT-R racing exhaust system, and what better way to do it than fit it to long-term Milltek user Richard's awesome GT-R and blast it around Snetterton for the day.
Taking part in the Pro class alongside some of the fastest cars in country, the GT-R managed,
not only to use half a tank of fuel in just 50km, but most impressively, finished 2nd overall. The R35 was actually leading the pack until the last 3 minutes where it was finally bettered by the overall season winner Gavin Renshaw in a trackprepared Mitsubishi Evo IX.
New wheels and tyres later, the GT-R was seen snorting at Bedford Autodrome soon enough, trying to win the 'How Fast' challenge. And win it did, prying victory away from other impressively modified GT-Rs, RUF Porsches and BMW M3 CSLs.
The car happily pulls all the way to the rev limiter in sixth, which is 320km/h plus, yet still returns 515km on a full tank of fuel at normal speed limits. On the track at full tilt, eco-weenies cover your ears, the car uses one litre of fuel for every mile it tears apart, and there is very little that will keep up with it. Two maps are available - a 0.6 - 1.2 bar road map and a 0.8 - 1.5 bar race map. The race map has more timing and more power, while the road map emphasizes efficiency while
still allowing for some spirited driving. The maps are selected and switched using the cruise control 'Cancel' button on the steering wheel and then the boost is adjusted up or down using the cruise control 'Setting' button. As you use the 'Setting' button, the boost gauge on the screen will indicate the maximum level of boost - all this is down while the car is running or being driven.
The car has been wrapped in orange by Totally Dynamics to make it stand out at shows and on track, and there are still a few little development tweaks that Iain Litchfield has up his sleeve to make it even better. But is this the end of the road for the GT-R? Sat in the Recaro Profi SP-G race seat, Richard says, with a glint in his eyes, in order to get more horsepower, he would need an engine re-build and that, he affirms, will be saved for the next model year car. Watch this space.