04 August 2016
With the interview with Kawabata-san finished, it was time to spend a few questions with Shingo Nakagami, one of the people behind the mechanical aspects of the fire-breathing D1 GT-R beast.
Last year, you launched the Trust Toyo Tires R35 D1 machine. What was behind the decision to use this platform over others?
“We had built cars like the Silvia in the past, but the timing was right for a car like an R35 because we were already developing parts for the platform on multiple levels so it makes sense to use it in competition as well, right?” He continued, “I’m sure you know how special the GT-R brand is to people in general. Even though we did evaluate other platforms, the passion that embodies the GT-R brand was a major factor in the decision to run an R35.”
I wanted to know more about what was underneath the car itself, so I asked about the main mechanical merits.
“The engine is the biggest factor. Trust already manufactures a load of parts for the VR38DETT, but it’s equally important to realize that our current engine easily makes 1,000 reliable horsepower with the mods we have for it. For us to try and squeeze that out of an RB26DETT… it would have put way too much stress on the engine and reliability, as well as drivability, would have suffered as a result.”
While talking about engines, I was curious to find out whether or not they run different turbos for different tracks.
“Well, we’ve optimized the car for the full season now, having spent last year going through a range of different turbo sizes. Right now, we have a setup we can use pretty much anywhere, including tighter places like Odaiba. The turbos are actually smaller now, but more efficient and still produce the same power.”
Amazingly, even with smaller turbos than last year, the car can still make in excess of 1,200 horsepower! I wanted to know how drivability was affected as a result.
“Last year’s setup gave the engine a very peaky powerband and made it more difficult to drive, but these new turbos extend the torque curve and make it easier on the throttle at low RPM. Boost comes on much earlier now. The response is totally different and we even increased reliability as a result.”
So besides the engine, what else were standouts for the build?
“The R35 chassis itself is special. Despite being a little heavy, the rigidity is amazing; even when completely stock, which our car is. There’s absolutely no flex at all.”
In conclusion, I wondered what all this muscle weighed in at?
“It comes in at around 1,300 kilograms. Even with 1,200 horsepower, we don’t need to modify the chassis. You might be surprised to learn that even GT3-spec R35 bodies are neither seam- nor spot-welded!”
On behalf of PASMAG, I would like to thank the kind and generous people of Toyo Tires and Trust for their time and enlightening discussion. #pasmag
Contributor: Adam Zillin