Paul Dentice is the type of fella you root for in USCC. He doesn't run a shop or build cars for a living, doesn't have access to a catalog of parts for the "bro deal" hookups. Nothing against those competitors who do earn their daily bread in the performance trade, but we've got a soft spot for an unassuming enthusiast who simply loves the cars and has a 2004 Evo RS in the same stable that includes this 1994 Skyline GT-R (and if you were curious, Dentice makes his paycheck in the medical supply business).
And despite knowing the tendency of USCC contenders to bring in ringers, Dentice says he plans to pilot the Skyline himself in the quarter-mile and road course competition.
"I'm just going to have a good time and make sure my car doesn't break," he says. "It's just an honor to be invited. I have no intentions of destroying my car to try and win. To me, it's more important to drive my car home at the end of the day."
That may sound like a cop-out, and, frankly, we think Dentice underestimates himself and his car. For starters, he's spent considerable time (and no small expense) to fortify the N1 block, a stout race-prep variation of the factory RB26DETT. Not long after he bought the car, he stumbled on a good deal on the N1 long block and set it aside. When an oil pump failed after a track day at Buttonwillow, crippling the factory RB, Dentice fast-tracked the N1 build.
Adrian Villibrille of Valley Engine/Vildini Motorsport, with Dentice alongside watching and assisting, started with a Trust 2.7-liter stroker kit, substituting Carillo H-beam rods for the Trust pieces. They decked the block and head, added A'PEXi valvetrain components and HKS cams, before finishing with the HKS T51R ball-bearing turbo upgrade.
Taking a tip from friend and last year's USCC victor, Kim Johnson, Dentice sat down with XS Engineering's Eric Hsu for the final tune. Depending on boost and octane, Dentice says the GT-R puts down between 650-700bhp.
That kind of power should do nicely on the dyno and in the quarter-mile, the latter aided by the GT-R's all-wheel drive, but may go to waste on the road course. USCC's tight, technical circuit (Streets of Willow) doesn't favor big, slow-spooling turbos. When we suggest that he might be better off with a GT25/30 setup like Johnson's (and, incidentally, the first of three aftermarket setups Dentice has gone through), he agrees but remains unapologetic.
"Yeah, Kim's car is a much better setup for the event, more road race-oriented than mine," he says. "But I like the power. I like to be fast [on a big track like Buttonwillow] and still be bad on the street when I need to be."
As for his skills behind the wheel, Dentice is confident but not nave. He says he used to race motorcycles semi-pro and knows how to find the line. He goes to the track on weekends and talks smack on his father, the proud owner of a 660bhp Porsche.
He knows he'll probably take a hit in the emissions test and road course, but Paul hopes to make it up on the dyno, quarter-mile, and Gross Display of Horsepower. Maybe even get some car show points. He's not worried.
"I drive it every chance I get. If I need groceries, I drive it. If I go to the gym, I drive it. I drove it today and yesterday. I wanted a street car that I could take to the track on weekends. It's not my daily driver, but I try to drive it every day."
Paul Dentice's 1994 Nissan Skyline GT-REngine
Engine code: RB26DETT-N1Type: 2700cc in-line six, aluminum block and head, turbocharged and intercooled Internal mods: Trust 2.7-liter stroker kit includes micro-polished crankshaft and pistons. Trust rods swapped out for Carillo H-beam units, decked cylinder head includes HKS Step 1 256/264duration camshafts and A'PEXi V-max valve springs, retainers and keepersExternal mods: HKS T51 KAI ball-bearing turbo, A'PEXi/XS Engineering front-mount intercooler, HKS 3.5-in. intercooler piping, HKS external wastegate, HKS blowoff valve, A'PEXi intake, stock Extrude Honed intake manifold, HKS downpipe, HKS turbo manifold, A'PEXi N1 3.5-in. exhaust, SARD fuel pressure regulator, JUN oil pump, Nismo baffled oil pan, Setrab oil cooler, Garage Bomber oil catch can, Power Enterprise belts, Tomei metal gasketEngine management mods: A'PEXi Power FC, HKS fuel rail, Denso 755cc/min injectors, Nismo/A'PEXi in-tank fuel pump, Aeromotive A1000 external fuel pump and filter, A'PEXi #8 spark plugs, Nissan R34 GT-R ignition coils and ignitor, XS Engineering Power Pak
Layout: Longitudinal front-engine, all-wheel driveDrivetrain mods: OS Giken synchros, Exedy twin-plate clutch, Exedy flywheel, Nismo Solid Shift kit
Front: A'PEXi N1 Pro 52mm dampers, Nismo anti-roll bar, Nismo bushings, Nismo upper control arms, HKS Kansai Service strut tower barRear: A'PEXi N1 Pro 52mm dampers, Nismo anti-roll bar, Nismo rear strut tower bar
Front: 14-in. rotors, Brembo F50 four-piston floating calipers, Goodridge stainless steel linesRear: 11.8-in. rotors, Brembo R33 two-piston floating calipers, Goodridge stainless steel linesWheels/TiresWheels: 18x9.5 SSR Type-C RS, +15 offsetTires: 265/35/18 Advan A048(M)ExteriorTommykaira front bumper and grille, Nismo side skirts, Nismo N1 headlights w/8000k HID kitInteriorBride Zeta III seats, Nismo gauge cluster, Nismo steering wheel w/HKB hub, Cusco four-point roll cage
Editor's Note: Last time we had an R32 in the USCC, it failed to finish. This one may just have what it takes to last the course, even finish first. Possibly. The turbo's probably too big for the road course, but it should murder the quarter mile, and the ultra clean JDM interior may score points in the car show.