As the days of the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge drew near, we had to dial in a few things on our GT-R to ensure the best and most reliable performance possible. As mentioned in our last installment, owner Darin Ferraro wants to tackle the cooling issue first and foremost.
"The transmission cooler is a brand-new model from South Side Performance," Darin says. As the test mule for the new tranny cooler, Darin noticed temperature reductions of nearly 40 degrees, both on the street and on track. These reduced temperatures translate to a more reliable, long-lasting transmission as well as longer transmission fluid life (at $80 bucks a quart, the GT-R is an expensive date).
Another area where easy performance gains can be picked up was on the inside. Darin ditched the heavy factory seats in favor of a pair of lightweight Buddy Club P1 Limited Edition racing seats. The Buddy Club seats weigh in at 20 lbs apiece, whereas the factory units are a staggering 70 lbs each. A difference of 100 lbs total is noticeable in almost any vehicle, especially when the car is a hefty beast to begin with. Less is more when it comes to vehicle weight in this competition, so Darin also installed a set of 19-inch Volk RE30 wheels with sticky Toyo R888 tires in favor of the larger, heavier factory 20-inch wheels. The smaller diameter and lighter weight will translate to faster 0-60 acceleration and quarter-mile times, as well as a better score in the power-to-weight category of the competition. The 295/30R19 R-compound Toyos will help keep lap times up over the stock tires, while still providing street-friendly performance for the long drive to and from Buttonwillow. Every little thing helps, and because the spirit of the competition is that of the street car, we don't want to gut the interior or do any extreme weight savings, so our options are limited.
COBB Tuning also jumped on board and provided an upgraded AccessPORT, which offers transmission adjustments and other features previously only available through the Nissan dealer service center. Another change of plans comes in the form of the driver for the event - Gary Sheehan of COBB Tuning will drive for the time attack portion of the event, while Darin will perform the quarter-mile acceleration test.
From here, we have to simply wait and see how things go. Darin is extremely pleased with how the car performs and is ready to bring his best to the competition. Big thanks go out to Mike Arrastia at Paladin Advanced Automotive, ApexKings.com, COBB Tuning, HB Speed, Aeromotions, JRZ Suspension, Toyo Tires, Volk Racing, Password:JDM, Buddy Club and Fontana Nissan for all of their help getting the car ready for the competition.