In this day and age, we’re used to seeing aftermarket companies produce what they call “demo cars.” The point of these cars is to showcase the company’s best offerings in one complete package, but, unfortunately, some of these demo cars just end up making a round or two on the show circuit and never really see any use. I am happy to report that Buddy Club does things differently. The GT-R it has produced not only looks awesome — clad in its full carbon body — but it can turn some seriously quick lap times as well.
When we first spoke with Kevin Feng of Buddy Club USA about the GT-R, it sounded pretty cool on paper, but the details were hazy. We knew the car had been around for a while, and the rumors said it’s wicked fast on track. Either way, it sparked enough interest to drive out to the Buddy Club headquarters in Ontario, CA, to see for ourselves. Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised — not that we had expected less than the best.
At first glance, the GT-R is very eye-catching. Even with its black and gray racing graphics package, Buddy Club has managed to pull off a clean and simple look. The best part is that it doesn’t look ostentatious, even though every body panel that can be replaced lays home to dry-carbon-fiber substitutes. The large vents in the front bumper help aid in cooling duties, while the rear diffuser keeps air flowing smoothly at the high speeds this car reaches on the racetrack. By utilizing dry-carbon-fiber body pieces to replace the factory hood, front bumper, fenders, side skirts, door skins, rear wing, rear diffuser, mirrors and even the roof skin, Buddy Club has shaved a good amount of weight from this heavy car. We like how the company has shied away from outlandish canards and GT-type rear wings; for a car like this, the subtle yet fierce aero package simply looks awesome. A nice finishing touch is the set of massive 20-inch Volk VR G2 wheels — the dark semi-gloss finish, Formula Silver, as Rays calls it, fits perfectly with the theme, wrapped in ultra-grippy R-compound Toyo R888 tires.
It would be silly to assume this car would have so much emphasis placed on performance on the outside, while remaining stock where it really counts. Buddy Club has taken it a step beyond simply slapping on a set of off-the-shelf production coilovers and calling it good, the GT-R is equipped with a fully upgraded suspension department, starting with a one-off set of custom-valved monotube P1 Racing dampers. These 15-way adjustable dampers work together with 7kg springs and upgraded front and rear sway bars help keep the large (albeit, heavily lightened) car nimble and responsive, and it’s all finished off by a set of Buddy Club’s own specially designed bushings to significantly stiffen the package.
The interior of Buddy Club’s GT-R is understated and function-oriented. A set of P1 Limited Edition carbon-fiber bucket seats and P1 Racing harnesses hold driver and passenger firmly in place, while adding a bit of style to the otherwise stock interior. These seats look really good, with the red stitching and custom “R” embroidery, they look right at home in the GT-R. The suede material also matches the center console perfectly. The beauty lies in the subtleties of this car; nothing is too crazy-looking or out of place, it’s all there for a reason, and the reason is simple: haul some serious ass.
Buddy Club knew the GT-R is an extremely capable car straight out of the box, but it would need more juice to really bring the heat. The decision was made to turn to trusted tuning shop AMS Performance for its Alpha Series billet turbo upgrade kit as the core of the power package. These stealthy custom-machined OEM turbo housings shroud a Garrett GT ball-bearing centersection, which is able to produce more than 900 hp, given the proper tuning and supporting modifications. To get the most out of these new snails, the heads of the 3.8-liter powerplant have been ported and polished, fitted with a complete valvetrain upgrade (springs, guides, retainers and valves) and a set of beefy Buddy Club camshafts and a special thin head gasket. All of the piping and the intercooler itself are prototype Buddy Club designs — this car is, after all, the test mule of sorts. All said and done, the package is claimed to be worth more than 800 hp.
Sadly, we didn’t get to experience the car’s power firsthand. Maybe the next time Kevin and his gang decide to hit a track day, they’ll give us a call. What I can say, however, is that having been in the passenger seat of another 800+ hp GT-R not too long ago (“AMS Alpha 9 GT-R,” May ’11), I can say with certainty that experiencing that sensation again is very high on my personal to-do list.
Specs & Details
'09 Nissan GT-R
Engine Nissan VR38DETT twin-turbocharged V-6
Engine Modifications Buddy Club ported & polished heads, camshafts, modified cam gears, valves, valvesprings, retainers, head gasket, intake, 63mm throttle bodies, exhaust manifolds, downpipe, up-pipe, front-mount intercooler, Racing Spec II Ti exhaust, Racing Spec radiator, radiator hoses, thermostat & 850cc fuel injectors; Bosch fuel pump; NGK spark plugs; AMS billet ball bearing turbochargers
Engine Management Buddy Club–tuned ECU
Drivetrain OS Giken transmission fluid
Suspension Custom 7kg Buddy Club P1 Racing coilovers, 36mm sway bar (f), 16mm sway bar (r), suspension bushings
Interior Buddy Club P1 Racing LE seats, Racing Spec seat rails, P1 Racing harnesses
Exterior Custom clearcoated Buddy Club dry-carbon complete aero package (front bumper, hood, fenders, door skins, side skirts, rear diffuser, roof skin, mirrors), racing graphics
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Volk VR G2 wheels 20x10" (f/r); Toyo Proxes R888 tires 285/35R20 (f/r); Buddy Club brake pads (f/r)