Ello Govnas, welcome to another classic Super Street banger! What we have in store for you today are two outrageous builds from England's world-famous Sumo Power. In one corner we have a hyper-wild S15 drifter and in the other an ultra-sick R35 GT-R prepped for battle in the FIA's premier GT series GT1. While each car is built on a different budget and used for different purposes they both pack a serious kick to the bullocks under the bonnet.
At first glance, Paul Conlan's pink S15 might look like a puffmobile but I can assure you that couldn't be further from the truth. Hailing from Northern Ireland, Paul has established himself as one of the best and most aggressive drivers in the European Drift Championship (EDC). To compete at the top level in any professional drift series these days means serious power and technical suspension setup - without these areas developed properly you might as well bugger off.
When Sumo Power decided to retire their 350Z drift car they wanted to find a suitable replacement and Paul's 2JZ-powered S15 fit the bill perfectly. Although already well-known in the European drift scene Sumo Power saw more potential waiting inside the Silvia. Shortly after the alliance was formed the then red Nissan was taken to Sumo Power's state of the art facility in East Sussex to undergo a serious working-over.
As any enthusiast knows Toyota's formidable 2JZ-GTE, aka Supra turbo engine, is already a beast from the factory but the team at Sumo Power isn't known for leaving well enough alone. As a technical partner with HKS, Sumo wanted to give an example of just how unruly the three liter straight six can get when packed full of premium JDM guts. Once the rebuild was completed in-house the engine was repositioned to improve weight distribution and then the chassis was taken over to Sumo's rolling road where the Supra heart sung to the tune of 480 brake horsepower.
With the engine sorted it was time to make the S15 a little lighter on its feet. The entire suspension was gone through taking careful consideration to every last component. Eventually the team was able to come up with an ideal top-secret setting making the car extremely nimble allowing Paul to drift circles around the other tossers on track. Aside from the new geometry a set of off the shelf BC Racing coilovers were strapped to the underbelly and have since seen plenty of shenanigans.
Most recently, the S15 smoked its Pirellis all the way to first place in the 2010 EDC final round at Snetterton thus proving the guys at Sumo Power aren't just some mad twats selling you parts in the mail but rather know a thing or two about building a JDM drift machine. Unfortunately, the win in the final round was only good enough for third place overall, narrowly missing second by a single point and thirteen points behind the season champ. But the corporate livery will certainly be back next year for another go at the title.
During the offseason the car will go back to Sumo Power's new 50,000 square foot facility to undergo further development. But much more action will be afoot in the workshop besides company run ventures, namely tuning customer vehicles and sales of thousands of parts. To get a better view of the core behind Sumo Power let's break for tea and crumpets and see how the company came to be the powerhouse they are today.
It all started back in 2002, when the company was founded with dreams of becoming a one-stop shop for Japanese performance enthusiasts. With massive stocks of parts no one in the UK could supply, the company quickly gained steam with sales of mail-order parts leading to many partnerships and official distribution chains. Fast forward to 2009, when the company was acquired by the JRM-Group, a company specializing in race and rally preparation, and you now have the new, all-encompassing, Sumo Power recognized around the globe.
This partnership with JRM combined with the cornucopia of parts offered by Sumo Power is a win-win for enthusiasts. Behind the doors of the new facility there's a lot for a geezer to get excited about including a full workshop, engine building, transmission re-building, chassis development, dyno testing, CNC machining, engineering, bodywork repairs, painting, fabrication and basic automotive servicing for virtually any car a customer could dream of. The trained technicians here are responsible for creating some of the fastest road, drag, drift and circuit cars in Europe.
Although Sumo Power welcomes any and all types of cars in their shop they tell us the most popular tuning vehicles they see are Mitsubishi Evos and Nissan GT-Rs with the R35 gaining in popularity recently. They haven't said anything about it but I have a feeling that the pair of FIA GT1 GT-Rs that are housed in the same facility might have a little something to do with their increasing customer base. As the old saying goes, "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" and winning is something the chaps at Sumo Power GT know a bit about.
Shortly after JRM bought Sumo Power and built the new facility, NISMO offered up an opportunity too good to pass up - a pair of factory supplied GT-R racecars to be campaigned in FIA GT1. With a great interest in strengthening their reputation in circuit racing JRM happily obliged and formed Sumo Power GT in January of 2010. To ensure Sumo Power wouldn't be caught with their knickers down NISMO also supplied a team of Japanese blokes to help spread out the support load.
Nissan Silvia S15
Owner Paul Conlan/Sumo power
Hometown Rye East Sussex, UK occupation professional drifter/#1 mail-order jdm parts supplier in the UK
Engine 3.0L turbocharged 2JZ-GTE; HKS pistons, camshafts, cam pulleys, metal head gasket, mushroom filter, intercooler, 680cc injectors, iridium spark plugs, SSQV blow-off valve; Garrett GT35 turbo; Sard fuel pressure regulator; Do-Luck silicone coolant, boost and ancillary hoses; custom lightened wiring loom
Drivetrain MA70 Supra five-speed transmission; HKS twin-plate clutch, two-way LSD
Engine Management HKS F-Con V-Pro; GReddy Profec B boost controller
Footwork & Chassis BC Racing coilovers; modified fully adjustable arms; custom rollcage, strut tower bars
Brakes Brembo calipers and rotors (front/rear); hydraulic e-brake
Wheels & Tires Rota GTR wheels; 235/40ZR18 front 255/35ZR18 rear Pirelli P-Zero tires
Exterior Vertex Ridge bodykit; vented carbon hood; high-level GT wing; Sumo Power pink/black paint w/vinyl graphics
Interior Sparco Evo 2 bucket seats; Luke harness (driver); Sabelt harness (passenger); OMP steering wheel; HKS chrono gauges
With the first race of the season less than four months away the team did a cracking job of getting the cars ready in time. The cars were based off vehicles designed and developed by NISMO during the 2009 season, which were already built to 2010 specifications with the intention of getting a jump on most of the field. Although the 2009 season results were a bit dodgy at best, NISMO gained a lot of data after a full year of competition and were eager to put this knowledge to the test in 2010.
The car is a masterfully-crafted piece of machinery with one goal in mind, shredding race circuits as fast as possible. In order to comply with FIA regulations and stay competitive, most of the things enthusiasts would associate with a road going GT-R are long gone. The VR38DETT and both of its turbochargers are missing, as is the ATESSA E-TS AWD system and the rear mounted six-speed flappy-paddle dual clutch automatic transmission. Don't fret, I think you'll rather fancy the replacements.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty lets take a moment to drop one in the loo and enjoy the amazing bodywork of this GT-R. The first thing you'll likely notice in the all carbon fiber NISMO body are all the openings waiting to suck, push, scoop, divert, expel, diffuse, manipulate and abuse surrounding airflow. Although it might seem a bit excessive, every last opening has been scrutinized via computer and actual track testing to give the GT-R the best aerodynamic performance possible, because in FIA GT1 the car needs all the help it can get.
Being the premier GT series in Europe, arguably the world, the field aside from the Nissan is comprised almost entirely of super cars. By direct comparison on track the R35 more closely resembles a brick than another GT1 competitor. All of a sudden the aggressive Nissan looks a bit quaint. Despite the car's size and shape it has proven to be a real contender thanks largely to its awe-inspiring power plant; the five-point five-liter V8 known better as the VK56DE.
Don't be confused; this isn't your ordinary run of the mill Nissan truck engine, this baby was built by engineers at NISMO. Breathing through dual carbon restrictors, this engine creates a rulebook restricted 600hp and massive 479lb-ft of torque which is transferred to the rear Michelins via one Ricardo flat-shift six speed sequential box, 5.5" triple-plate carbon clutch and custom driveline. More often than not this setup is good enough to make the GT-R the fastest contestant in a straight line, leaving the competition rather cross.
The interior, as with any racecar, is a bit starkers. On the drivers side sits a lonely carbon Kevlar Corbeau seat with its unmistakably green counterpart surrounded by carbon-fiber paneling in all directions. Where the passenger seat would normally reside sits a fire extinguisher, radio unit and the engine management system. In front of the driver is more carbon in the form of a steering wheel, dash board and transmission tunnel cover/switch panel respectively. Holding the whole thing together and responsible for the safety of the driver is an FIA certified rollcage.
As with the S15 I spoke about earlier, there's a whole lot of magic going on in the footwork department on this GT-R. In this area specs are a bit hush-hush but I can tell you that a whole array of custom adjustable suspension links tie the chassis to premium Sachs 4-way adjustable dampers. All four wheels house Brembo six-piston race calipers filled with carbon pads champing down on carbon rotors to bring the GT-R to a halt quickly. To further keep brake temps down each corner is fed by no less than two brake ducts.
There's no doubt about it, every aspect of this car is built to be competitive in the highest level of motorsport. It takes a lot of quid to go racing, but money alone won't get you wins. It takes a whole team of people working together to overcome obstacles and success doesn't happen overnight although it nearly did for Sumo Power. In the second event of the year, Silverstone plaid host to a homecoming for the UK team and the #22 car crossed the line in an astonishing third place behind two Aston Martins. However, after the cars were sent to scrutineering, both Astons were disqualified and Sumo Power were granted first place on their home track.
As the season played out, the pair of Sumo GT-Rs saw a podium in championship races several additional times but were never able to back up their first place finish at Silverstone. With the season completed, Sumo Power GT finished sixth overall with 135 points (5 points shy of fifth) in the teams championship. Considering Swiss Racing finished dead last with only 5 points while fielding nearly identical cars speaks to the abilities of the Sumo team. Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck, drivers of the #23 car, finished tied for ninth place in the driver's championship, well towards the front of the pack.
The team will certainly use their first year in GT1 as a learning experience and prepare to come back strong in 2011. Sumo Power admits the learning curve in GT1 is very steep but they are quite pleased with their results in 2010. Starting up a race team and making podium your first year out is a more difficult task than one might imagine and it's not something the racing world sees frequently. In the words of Alan Zini from Sumo Power: "we have certainly shaken the establishment (FIA) we think! Next year will be even better."
2010 Nissan GT-R GT1
Owner Sumo Power GT
Hometown Rye East Sussex, UK
Occupation FIA GT1 race team
Power 600hp (restricted)/479lb-ft
Engine 5.5L naturally-aspirated VK56DE NISMO race engine (full NISMO internals), carbon air restrictors, carbon-fiber engine cover, carbon-fiber engine compartment covers, carbon-fiber cowl, custom fuel delivery system, side-exit exhaust system; ATL FIA fuel cell
Drivetrain Ricardo 6-speed sequential gearbox; 5.5" carbon triple-plate clutch; NISMO RWD drivetrain conversion (FIA GT1 regulation)
Engine management Magneti Marelli ECU and data logger
Footwork & Chassis Sachs 4-way adjustable shocks; FIA certified rollcage; air jacks; NISMO fully-adjustable suspension links;
Brakes Brembo monoblock 6-piston calipers front/rear, floating carbon discs and pads; AP Racing adjustable proportioning valve; carbon/hose brake ducting
Wheels & Tires 18X13" Rays forged magnesium center-locking race wheels; 31/71-18 Michellin race tires
Exterior Custom NISMO bodywork (carbon-fiber front bumper w/dive planes and splitter, door mirrors, hood, fenders, side skirts, doors, rear quarter panels, rear bumper, rear diffuser, trunk, adjustable rear wing, full undertray, polycarbonate windows, carbon-fiber headlights)
Interior Corbeau FIA carbon Kevlar bucket seat; Takata harness; Autotel RR780 radio system; NISMO carbon-fiber transmission tunnel cover, rear cover, fuel fill cover, dash; carbon-fiber steering wheel; fan (for driver)