Nissan's tendency to build great cars with feminine names makes things harder for manly car fans when they're looking to build a seriously tough machine. Getting a car with a nameplate like Gloria, Cedric, or in this case Silvia, to perform with a bigger serving of manpower than the shameful moniker written across their lovely rear ends isn't just desirable—it's a necessity. Add the fact that building a track car with just the right mix of slick and quick is not a cheap exercise—if you're going to do it right. Getting anything like the correct combo of grunt and gorgeous takes a big budget, a tooled-up workshop, and a huge commitment—unless you're the Sutton brothers from the south Sydney suburb of Woolooware.
Andrew and Wayne Sutton have created one of Australia's finest Silvia S15 examples, fueled almost entirely by a passion for the model and a boundless enthusiasm to keep the car permanently improving. Looking at this time attack hero, it'd be easy to dismiss it as another track-themed showpiece—until you scratch beneath the surface.
"Both of us have been incredibly fond of the S-chassis lineup for many years, and not for the strong drift representation but for the car's ability to do the opposite and be of the most enjoyable track and race cars available with a reasonable budget in mind," Wayne says. This departure from big, smoky drifts of S15 lore into the world of grip, plus the faster lap times that come with it, has done nothing to reduce the duo's love for the S15. In fact, it's all they ever really wanted for the car. "To this day, if we had the opportunity to do this all over again, we would end up in the same model car and still remain just as happy with it."
This auto-love equation stems from the mighty SR20DET, one of Nissan's most tunable engines that delivers a far more usable power spread than the Skyline's GT-R. A bit more displacement does give it a helping hand, achieved with a 2.2L stroker kit from JUN, including crank, rods, and pistons with compression sitting way down at 9.5:1 and allowing the Precision turbo to blow 34 psi at the four-cylinder engine, adding up to an impressive 727 hp. We should also note, this car started out as a non-turbo SR20DE—the Sutton brothers have come a very long way with this motor! Kelford Camtech's 1mm oversize valves are fitted on both the exhaust and intake sides of NISMO N2 heads, with Pulsar GTi-R rockers and lifters joining the party.
Getting this sort of power flowing like it should, and not unzipping Nissan's block, was a complicated process, helped by some well-conceived underhood engineering. The rest of the oxygen comes via an HKS GT-series intercooler with matched Hypertune piping, throttle body, and plenum. On the fueling front, colossal 2,200cc injectors give the final squirt, with a Sard regulator and a Weldon inline pump and two fuel filters pushing it through from a Hypertune custom tank and into a matched fuel rail. Getting this huge volume of gas out is a full titanium exhaust system built by the Sutton brothers, starting with 90mm from the turbo via twin TurboSmart external wastegates. An Autronic SM4 ECU keeps this recipe for big boost and big power becoming one for a big bang.
It's all very well to have earth-shattering power on tap, but without the six-speed Hollinger sequential and matching driveshafts, SP Tech axles, NISMO LSD, and a combination of a Tilton triple-plate clutch and pressure plate, it wouldn't be getting very far at all.
Being set up strictly for track, the S15 is smashed toward the earth with Midori-built Aragosta three-way adjustable tampers using Eibach springs. The other main component to keep it stiffer than cadaver, but far more nimble, is a seven-point rollcage.
Sticking this sweet Silvia on the tarmac out of corners are Advan A050s, 295s all round. "We've been running them for many years and still love them more than anything as a single lap time destroyer," Wayne says. "We will continue to use them no matter what for this reason. As for the wheels, well Rays is time attack!"
The other key point of stickiness—the way in to corners—wasn't easy to get right. Wayne says getting the twin master cylinders to play nice with the big Endless brakes "sure is a learning curve."
The next step in the ever-more-impressive time attack package is the body kit. Designed by the brothers themselves, you can see the entire body is custom-molded. Everything is designed to the tiniest detail for better aerodynamics and airflow, for example the widened front bumper that features an enormous center air intake for improved cooling. A carbon front splitter and canards also weren't overlooked, adding to the aero improvements. While the GT-inspired fenders allow more tire for all four corners, there are also vents and carbon trim to aid flow. The rear is by far the most extravagant part of the equation with a massive rear diffuser, Voltex carbon wing, and articulated vents to help reduce drag. Other details include the carbon flat undertray and carbon doors, trunk, and hood.
"Every aspect of the car's tuning has its own particular reason why it is that little bit tricky," Wayne says. "And at the completion of it, you can sit there and think, 'I really should have gone about that in another way.' But that is some of the enjoyment, knowing you can do better, push harder, and go faster."
On the Attack
The Sutton Brothers' Nissan Silvia S15 is one of the real stars of the World Time Attack Challenge held in Australia. Built by Andrew and Wayne Sutton, the car has been created purely as a track weapon but has the looks you'd expect to see on the show floor at events like SEMA. Having made the jump from open class to the recently added Pro Am, the Suttons can do what they do best without having to bow to heavily regulated class rules. With Pro Am allowing the same freedoms as Pro class, the privateers can now try to milk as much power as possible from the S15-and the sky appears to the be the limit.
WTAC '13 Pro Am 2nd place
WTAC '13 Pro Am 1st place RWD
WTAC '14 Pro Am 2nd place
WTAC '14 Pro Am 1st place RWD