July 07, 2021 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos by Nickey Jones Bautista

Nissan GT-R R35: Stand Out

The one and only Ben Sopra GT-R in Manila

Deeply rooted in Japanese car culture made famous by its legendary predecessors, the Nissan R-35 GT-R represents extreme automotive performance. It’s no wonder it’s referred to as ‘Godzilla’, which is arguably Japan’s most famous monster.

With a 500 hp, twin-turbo V6 engine and a state-of-the-art four-wheel drive system, it’s nothing short of being a monster on the street/track. Its already impressive capabilities don’t stop there, as the option to turn it into something even more wickedly monstrous is possible. A myriad of aftermarket tuning companies have been pushing its horsepower envelope even further along with more radical exterior styling options.

We’ve seen awesome GT-R builds sporting the Varis body kit and just recently the literally wide Liberty Walk body kit. The question now is where does it go from there and how do you top such epic GT-R builds? Well, look no further as T&T features the one and only Ben Sopra GT-R on our shores, where calling it wild seems like an understatement.

Owned by its president Kazunori Ueta, Ben Sopra is a company that specializes in building aero kits for high-end performance cars such as the the R35 GT-R and the Lamborghini Gallardo. During its debut at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon, three different R35’s was fitted with the Ben Sopra kit that caused quite a stir and instantly made it on top of every GT-R owner’s wish list.

Its most distinguishing feature is the one-piece clamshell front end that tilts forward to gain access to the engine bay. The lower half of the fenders are neatly sculpted and does not come with the front end. Underneath, perforated vents can be opened for either the exhaust or waste gate. At the rear are the blistered and sculpted over fenders that also mimic the front-end treatment as it abruptly tapers off at the rear to reveal the sculpted portion of the rear bumper. There’s also the huge rear under tray and diffusers out back with enough space for the pair of quad tip mufflers. The kit also comes with plenty of carbon fiber pieces such as the front splitter, flat side skirts and rear diffuser. Out back are aluminum brackets that emanate from the rear bumper that support the massive carbon fiber rear wing.

Overall, the Ben Sopra kit is chock full of details that all serve a purpose as Ben Sopra worked with aerodynamics specialists who also build Super GT cars to ensure that every part was aerodynamic as it was beautiful. All the services and engineering that went into developing this kit are responsible for its very hefty price tag. Then again, exclusivity has its price.

Having owned a broad spectrum of cars ranging from a Lancer Evo to 500 whp Civic, the owner of our featured car had a 370Z that he seemed content with. But at the back of his mind what he really wanted and dreamt for was a GT-R as he explains, “Ultimately, I got my own GTR-R, but thing is, the tuning bug kept me itching to modify it. What just started out as basic mods (Wheels, Intake and Exhaust) gradually blew up into one giant money pit.”

Not content with the looks, he then added a set of newer headlight and taillight set and decided to place an order for a Top Secret Body kit from Japan through Dolf Santiago of Emperor Motorsports. Little did he know that things were really going to snowball in terms of cost and mods the moment Dolf offered him his Ben Sopra body kit for sale since he already sold his GT-R as he quips, “The price of the kit was so high that it makes the rareness of the kit possible. Not everyone is willing to purchase the amount that Ben Sopra is asking for their kit. Luckily there was a price mark down when they offered the kit to Emperor Motorsports. I think I’m the only one outside of Japan and in Southeast Asia to have the Ben Sopra”.

Paint Plus was tasked to carefully fit the very costly body kit where they rolled the rear over fenders instead of cutting the sheet metal and drilled several holes on the rear fender and rear bumper for the wing brackets. Once they aligned all the panels, it was then re-spayed by Paint Plus and detailed by Detail Plus to an impeccable finish.

Completing the look are 20-inch, Volk Rays TE37’s in bronze color and shod with super sticky Toyo R888 Tires and H&R Lowering Springs. Power-wise, this GTR wouldn’t be complete without any performance enhancements, right? As such, there’s an HKS GT800 turbo kit sourced from Emperor Motorsports who also did the install. The kit includes a pair of bigger GT2 turbines with matching manifolds and wastegates. This bolt-on turbo upgrade together with other supporting mods will allow it to put out as much as 700 plus whp while retaining all the normal amenities like AC, power steering, navigation, etc. that’s expected from an R35.

However, it does entail that the engine be removed for proper installation. Aside from using the HKS F-Con ECU, there’s also the Cobb Tuning Accessport ECU upgrade solution for GT-R’s that allows for more aggressive ECU maps. But in this case, they went with an ECUTEK fully programmable ECU from Speedworks who’s also responsible for the tuning the GT-R. Currently they have managed a best of 663 whp, but this was done with a restrictive and small diameter 5Zigen exhaust and stock intercooler.

With the addition of an Armytrix Performance Valvetronic Exhaust and a larger front mount intercooler, it should now be more than capable of hitting 700 whp, just like the other two Speedworks tuned GT-R with the GT800 kit. If my first-hand experience of Dolf’s GT600 equipped GT-R before was mind numbing as to the amount of pull it had, so much more can be expected with the GT800 as the owner quips, “Its very far from the GT600 and farther from stock as it pushes you back even more as the boost builds up.” Overall, this GT-R is certainly a stand out in any car show and a dream build for any gear head. But for the owner, he considers himself just lucky to be able to have bought and built himself a Ben Sopra GT-R. Honestly, I don’t think this GT-R needs additional mods, but the owner is quick to add that he’d like to install carbon fiber seats. Hmmm, do I sense an HKS GT1000 turbo kit in the future or an AMS GT-R crate engine perhaps?



Engine:                            VR38DETT

Engine Type:                  3.8-liter V6

Engine Mods:                HKS GT800 Turbo Kit, HKS Downpipe, HKS Y-pipe

HKS turbo manifold, HKS Suction Kit,

Top Secret Hood Damper, Boost Logic Oil Cooler

Armytrix Performance Valvetronic Exhaust

Other Stuff:                    Weldon Fuel Pump and Fuel Regulator

Engine Management:   ECUTEK, HKS EVC

Transmission:               6-Speed Automated Manual,

Horsepower:                 663 whp (with restrictive exhaust and without a bigger FMIC)

Suspension:                   H&R Lowering Springs

Rollers:                           Volk Rays TE37 Ultra, F: 20×10, R: 20×12

Toyo Proxes R888 Tires, F: 285/35/20, R: 315/30/20

Interior Mods:               RSW Carbon Interior Panels

Bulletproof Automotive CF Shift knob

Exterior Mods:              Ben Sopra Full Body kit, 2015 Headlights/Rear lamps

Carbon Dry Japan Door handles

Body & Paint:                Fiat Blue Paint Refinish by Paint Plus

Detailing:                       Detail Plus

Kudos To:                      Dolf Santiago of Emperor Motorsports

Boying Lopez of Paint Plus

Edward Dela Rosa of Detail Plus

Leo/Ryan/Chris of Speedworks

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