- Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos: MJ Digital.
If you lined up the crème de la crème of Japanese performance cars past and present, the R35 would come out on top in every test. It’s the most supreme example of Nissan’s engineering prowess, and the flag bearer for Japan at the elite end of supercar territory. It’s as close to perfection as we’ve seen from any Japanese automaker. So how do you improve on perfection? That’s the battle that Heasman Steering & Suspension have been fighting for the last three years. How do you take an R35 to even higher levels of performance?
Their working project is this menacing GT-R in our photos here. We spoke with Brad at Heasman Steering and Suspension to find out just what has gone into making this an even more potent track package for their customer.
“The owner bought the car from Nissan brand new in 2009, and never intended to go this far. He did a few simple things at first like exhaust, tune, discs and pads. Then he took it to Bathurst for the five-day Drive Bathurst event in 2009. The car went well and it was all downhill with mods from there.”
Heasman’s have extensive experience with race cars of all types, building and maintaining competitive cars from many codes of motorsport. They can handle anything from a basic track-focused wheel alignment all the way up to a complete race-ready overhaul of your suspension and steering setup for those who want the ultimate result.
“Back when we started, because the car was so new, there were no other GT-Rs to look at to see what others had tried or to see any problems people had experienced with products, etc. No-one had really modified theirs as much as this.”
“Initially it was a bit of a daunting task trying to get one of the best handling cars in the world to handle better, but we put the Bilsteins in it, bigger sway bars, adjustable arms, played with the wheel alignment, and it responded very well to the mods.”
It’s easy to skip over the details when Brad says they “put the Bilsteins in it”, but these are far from the regular shocks you would expect to see in an R35; they’re Bilsten MDS (Modular Damping System) coilover shocks. Made from aluminium they reduce weight and improve cooling, each corner features an independent rebound and compression adjustable shaft, which is why you’ll see two dials on the strut top below.
“We also added the front splitter, raised the rear wing up, modified the endplates on the wing and added the front canards. It made a good difference to the car at high speed. The owner was happy with how it felt, so now it’s just a matter of getting the setup right for each track we go to and making sure we keep Miles happy with how the car feels.”
Obviously Brad and the boys at Heasman Steering and Suspension are doing something right, because Miles has been clocking up records all over the place. “Last year it got the fastest ever time for a road-registered car around Bathurst. It did a 2:15:00 lap, and then drove all the way back to Sydney. It does a 1:13 around Sandown, which is the same as the rear end of the V8 Supercar field!”
Miles has also taken it on the new Sydney Motorsport Park ‘Long Circuit’ at Eastern Creek. It mustered an impressive 1:58, which will become more relevant as that full track is raced by more people over the next year. Brad says, “I have ridden as a passenger in it at Phillip Island and Sandown. It is like nothing else I have ever been in. The acceleration and grip is just a joke!”
Croydon Racing Development have been at the helm to push more power out of the GT-R. They’ve called upon some of Japan’s finest aftermarket tuners (and a few from Australia) to get the R35 to where it is. Key to the epic output they’ve achieved is the HKS GT800 turbo kit, named for it’s ability to produce 800hp from the VR38. The motor was torn down and upgraded with the necessary forged HKS internals. The included 95.5mm pistons are OEM replacements so they can be installed in the cylinders without modification to the plasma coated walls.
COBB software takes care of the tune, and an Aussie-made MoTeC digital dash looks after data logging. More Australian-made mods can be found in the engine bay with a high volume oil sump from Willall Racing in South Australia. The custom roll cage was also made and installed here in the land downunder.
You can’t achieve the lap times of this GT-R without signifcant weight reduction. Carbon doors from Top Racing HK helped with that, as did the Top Secret carbon bonnet and custom HRE wheels. Wrapping those incredible wheels are Michelin slicks.
Despite stripping a good chunk of weight out of the car, a hefty brake setup had to be fitted to get the car pulling up properly. AP Racing ‘J Hook’ rotors and Carbotek XP 16 pads are about as good as it gets. Also fitted is a Willall Racing water spray brake cooling system.
“At the moment it’s running 470awkW. If we go any higher with boost the gearbox starts slipping. Right now we’re waiting on a HKS gearbox upgrade so we can turn the power up all the way! That’s really all the plans for the future. The owner doesn’t want to do any more to it, just keep it running and try to get a lot of track time in it next year.”
– HKS GT800 turbo kit
– HKS pistons, rods, cams
– COBB tuning software
– HKS spark plugs
– Willall Racing high volume oil sump
– HKS intercooler
– HKS blow off valve
– HKS transmission cooler
– ID 2000cc injectors
– GReddy XL titanium exhaust
– Top Secret oil catch can
– Willall Racing transmission fluid
SUSPENSION & BRAKES:
– Bilstein MDS custom adjustable coilover shocks
– Eibach springs
– Dodson adjustable camber arms
– Forged Performance sway bars
– AP Racing J Hook rotors
– Carbotek XP16 brake pads
– Willall Racing brake spray kit
– Braided brake lines
WHEELS & TYRES:
– HRE custom wheels
– Michelin racing slicks (F: 28/71/18, R: 31/71/18)
– Top Secret carbon bonnet
– Top Racing HK carbon doors
– Aeromotions rear wing
– Power House Amuse front splitter
– Killer Customs roll cage
– Recaro seats
– Sabelt harnesses
– MoTeC data logging digital dash
– 470awkW (630awhp)