The Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge (if you haven't heard until now) will put seven Source Interlink Media magazines up against each other in all-out competition for the title of Top Car. All cars will rigorously compete in testing such as 1/4 mile, trap speed, horsepower, power-to-weight, emissions, acceleration, braking, endurance, vehicle cost and lap time. Losing one category will mean no chance at taking the trophy home. Only a car that can compete in all categories equally will stand a chance. A road race car won't do so well in 1/4 mile or trap speed; drag car won't do well in emissions or endurance; and a super car like the GT-R won't do well in the vehicle cost or power-to-weight category. An all-around car, that's not fully-built towards one type of racing, will be the best-fit candidate. So who's our pick?
We bring you Cheston Chiu and his 2003 Nissan 350Z. Cheston's taking his time to build this car in every aspect, keeping it streetable yet competitive on the track. Being an engineer at Raytheon (aerospace), Cheston made sure all his mods had some sort of performance gain. The car is built with function over form in mind, but this is not an all out racecar. It still looks good enough to be taken out to any car show.
After playing with a few different setups on the VQ, Cheston felt the VQ35DE (non Rev Up) had the right mid-range power that he wanted. Adding in the Power Enterprise twin turbo kit, Cosworth intake plenum, JE pistons, Carrillo rods and several other things, the engine netted out just about 500whp. Making sure the power transfers all the way to the Toyo Proxes R888 tires, an OS Giken LSD and twin disc clutch were installed. We have to use one set of tires throughout all the tests, so any extra power might prevent the car from getting any traction.
Behind each of the Volk RE30 wheels sits StopTech calipers; six-piston calipers in the front, four-piston calipers in the rear and 355mm rotors in all four corners. The braking test should not be a problem for this Z. Also behind each wheel are two-way adjustable KW Clubsport coilovers. Corner weighting and alignment was done by 350Z specialist M-Workz Chasis Tuning.
Body kits aren't just for aesthetics, but they serve a greater purpose on the course. The long nose C-West front bumper, canards and side skirts were fitted to help manipulate air for higher stability at increasing speeds. A gigantic Voltex GT style rear spoiler also shows how serious this engineer is about physics. Putting the car on a diet meant a carbon-fiber hood and rear hatch. Losing weight is crucial to us for the power-to-weight test.
Building a car for one purpose is easy, building it for all-around performance isn't. With Cheston's 350Z, we'll be giving everyone else a good run. Stayed tuned for more updates as we approach the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge.