Translation by Kenta Ogawara (Tokyodrive.tv)
Tokyo is a sea of concrete and lights, a sprawling, electric ocean of beguiling flamboyance, dotted with gravity-defying buildings, and lined with endless stretches of nighttime glow. The city brings forth the neon futurism of Tron and has all the allure of what lies ahead, the city of tomorrow. But this bizarre, hypnotic landscape is at odds with its populace, a homogenous group living in contradiction to the city they've built. It's a never ending battle between the bright lights and uniformity, the atypical going against the conventional. It's Tokyo at its very core and it's an appropriate way to describe tuners, performance parts manufacturers, and fabricators Blitz and their latest project-the first R35 Nissan GT-R to be converted to rear-wheel drive and swapped with a manual gearbox. This Blitz GT-R was born, in part, from this drive to be different.
Established in 1981, it was nine years ago that Blitz first started to reinvent the Nissan Skyline, with their D1GP-spec ER34 Skyline that battled AE86 Corollas and Nissan 180SXs throughout the D1GP drift circuit, famously driven by Ken "Nomuken" Nomura [see sidebar]. It was considered an odd campaign, seeing that Skylines aren't the most lightweight and nimble of cars to use for drifting, on top of the fact that theirs had four doors. But it didn't stop Blitz from building the car and subsequently winning in it. In its second season, the car placed Third in the final standings.
Still, it was surprising when Blitz debuted a Nissan GT-R at the 2009 Tokyo Auto Salon, billing it as the first rear-wheel-drive GT-R ever made, and disclosing their plans for grip-track domination with it. Why would anyone want to lose the traction of an added two drive wheels and the ATESSA-GTS system? Why lose the balanced weight distribution of a rear-mounted, twin-clutch transmission that could shift far faster than any human driver? It was the talk of the show for these reasons and more-chief among them, because while other tuning companies were struggling to tune the GT-R with basic upgrades, Blitz had reinvented a car that was barely a year and a half into full production, which many would argue didn't need reinventing. And they claimed they made it better in doing so.
The first thing to mind is that the R35 GT-R's VR38DETT engine is governed by an extremely finicky factory-tuned ECU. Compounding the problem for tuners is that it's also in constant communication with its rear-mounted, twin-clutch, paddle-actuated transmission. Additionally, the car's chassis relays information to its active differentials and dampening-adjustable suspension, while also sharing information with the ECU via CAN-bus protocol. Rather than hack this mess of pre-programmed governance wrought with seemingly unlimited failsafes, Blitz decided to scrap it all and build the car according to a more proven-and user definable-method: replace everything with proven parts.
The all-aluminum, twin-turbo, VR38 V-6 was retained for its mechanical advancements, and mated to a Hollinger sequential transmission-the same unit used in Blitz's R34s of years past. And here's where the fun began. Because of slight differences in the casting of the VR38 block and placement of its crankshaft, a new bellhousing had to be cast, entirely from scratch, to mate the engine to its new transmission. Also, since the GT-R's stock transmission resides at the rear of the vehicle and is one with the differential, a Nissan R200 differential from an ER34 Skyline GT-R (along with select ER34 subframe components) had to be swapped onto the R-35; the one in this case was reinforced with a Nismo GT LSD Pro unit. And since the area of the R-35 that would normally be referred to as a "transmission tunnel" in fact never housed a transmission, the Blitz crew had to massage (hammer, cut, weld) the area to accept one, along with adding a third pedal in the GT-R's cabin. All of this, Blitz believes they were the first to do.
Familiarities continue with the footworks-special DG-5 coilovers at each corner, tentatively labeled "R35 FR"-and engine management duties: now a combination of a Motec M800 ECU and a military-spec wiring harness fabricated from scratch, right here in the good 'ol U.S. of A. But the engine bay remains comparatively stock, aside from a Blitz intake pipe, suction kit, wastegate actuator, exhaust system, and blow-off valve, which all act to increase responsiveness and raise output to approximately 572 hp at 7,300 rpm. Internals and turbochargers remain stock, but as Blitz' Satoshi Yamaguchi reveals, "We'll be changing the turbos, pistons, and connecting rods soon enough."
"We are planning to try 'Max Speed Attack' at Autobahn in Germany," Satoshi explains," We will try for 400 km/h." He continues, explaining how the Hollinger transmission and R200 rear-end allow more flexibility over gearing than the GT-R's OEM equipment, along with better control over power production and delivery. The additional two drive wheels wouldn't be needed as long as traction is maintained at lower speeds, and losing them-along with the stock automatic transmission-would serve to limit parasitic drivetrain loss. Ditching that ATESSA-PRO system might not prove to be such a bad thing, huh? "After Max Speed Attack, we may campaign Blitz FR35 GT-R in time-attack competition," continues Satori-san, "and then D1 Grand Prix is possible, with Nomura as the driver. He drove the car for the first time after we made it RWD, and was surprised how clean it drifted. Nomura himself is hoping to see R35 Drift Spec be completed."
Despite the disparity from which this GT-R was born, Blitz's message is pointed that they are not bound by limits nor connected to the established mainstream. They provide far-reaching trends, which are solidified into an identifiable and self-generating phenomenon. Like their GT-R masterpiece, they transcends the rigors of the traditional form and adopt a higher sense of perspective; they embody the battle between bright lights and conformity by being vastly different from the rest, overcoming struggles with identity by creating their own. This is part of the reason we're eager to see what the future holds for Blitz . . . the other is to see Nomuken drift this R35!
Listening to the sound of blow-off valves while inhaling exhaust fumes
"We import and export marketing services, planning and manufacturing of automotive parts."
BLITZ Nissan GT-R R35
Output: 572 hp @ 7,300 rpm
Engine VR38DETT MoTec M800 DBW4 SKM ECU; Blitz intake pipe kit, suction kit, actuator, Super Sound blow-off valve, CSR front-mount intercooler; mil-spec wiring by Naoto Negishi
Drivetrain Hollinger six-speed sequential transmission, pedal, shifter; Nissan R200 differential casing, subframe, suspension components; custom driveshaft, mounts, chassis modification; NISMO GT LSD Pro limited-slip differential; Ogura ORC 709 R35SPL clutch
Suspension DG-5 R35 FR Special coilovers
Wheels/Tires 20-inch BRW Profile 09 Mag Metal Silver wheels (20x9.5 +38mm offset front, 20x10.5 +18mm offset rear); Dunlop SP Sport tires (255/40-20 front, 285/35-20 rear)
Brakes Blitz MR-VS high-performance brake pads; proprietary fluid
Exterior Custom carbon-fiber rear diffuser, painted hood; MSR graphics, applied by Manabu Suzuki
Interior Bride seats; Key's Racing Fossa Magna steering wheel; Blitz racepak IQ3, racing meters; custom carbon fiber center console, shifter cover, gauge enclosures, ignition block-off, fuse box, electronics housing, aluminum racing pedals; relocated Odyssey battery
Electronics Blitz SBC i-Color SpecR metal black
VR38DETT Vs RB26DETT
Which One Would You Rather Have?
Whether they're revving to 11,000 rpm or cracking 1,100 whp, we're used to seeing the R34 Skyline GT-R's RB26DETTs modified to the hilt. But it seems like today's VR38DETT replacement killer in the R35 GT-R is closing in on the RB's records with every blink of an eye. Chew on some stock numbers, theorize about the pros and cons of each, and fantasize about building a dream engine of your own:
|CONSTRUCTION:||Aluminum block and heads|
|CONFIGURATION:||DOHC per bank, VVEL (intake cam only), Four valves per cylinder|
|ASPIRATION:||Parallel twin-turbocharged, intercooled|
|BOOST PRESSURE:||10.2 psi|
|OUTPUT:||478 hp @ 6,400 rpm|
|434 lb-ft of torque 3,200-5,200 rpm|
|FUEL CUT:||7,800 rpm|
|First 4.06:1; Second 2.30:1; Third 1.59:1; Fourth 1.25:1; Fifth 1.00:1; Sixth 0.79:1; Final drive 3.70:1|
|CONSTRUCTION:||Iron block, aluminum head|
|CONFIGURATION:||DOHC, NEO-VVLFour valves per cylinder|
|ASPIRATION:||Parallel twin-turbocharged, intercooled|
|BOOST PRESSURE:||10 psi|
|OUTPUT:||276 hp @ 6,800 rpm|
|293 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm|
|FUEL CUT:||8,200 rpm|
|First 3.83:1; Second 2.36:1; Third 1.69:1; Fourth 1.31:1; Fifth 1.00:1; Sixth 0.79:1; Final drive 3.55:1|
Blitz ER34 Skyline vs Blitz FR35 GT-R
Blitz' OG drift machine, its white, four-door ER34 Skyline Sedan, appeared on our cover with the always-sexy Mercedes Terrell in July of '04, just as Japan's D1 Grand Prix invaded U.S. shores for the first time. Then driver Ken Nomura (Nomuken)-often dubbed "the most crowd-pleasing driver in Japan"-reached near-household status among Stateside fans as the issue dropped, for drifting a 460whp, Blitz K5-660R-turbocharged example of a car every American kid wished his parents could hand him down, which Japanese kids' parents regularly would.
Before that, it was Blitz's R348 GT-R that graced our cover, back in December '02. Built solely for top-speed racing in full street trim, this monster made the most power of the three, with a single Blitz K5-850R turbocharger feeding its RB26DETT to 850 whp at 9,300 rpm, and 709 lb-ft of torque at 7,500 rpm. Current D1GP front-man Daijiro Inada ran the car to 343.35 km/h on the German Autobahn in 1999, at the time clocking the fastest speed ever officially recorded by a production car on a public road. It was rumored to have gone even faster on Japanese highways, but the Blitz crew is no longer impressed. They're building today's FR35 GT-R to eclipse 400 km/h. Visit www.importtuner.com for more.