July 21, 2020 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos: Joey Yepez

Tuner: Gone in 8 seconds

Still the fastest GT-R in the Philippines

Speed. That was all it took for Jonathan Tiu to get hooked on drag racing that started during his high school days. Since then he’s been a top contender with numerous cars and drag racing championship titles under his belt. However, his most noteworthy feat came a few years ago when he posted an 8.806 second time slip aboard his fully prepped and blindingly quick 1,318 horsepower, Nissan GT-R. In fact, this is regarded as the Philippines’ fastest ever recorded quarter mile time that’s backed up with four consecutive 8.8-second passes that should put any doubts to rest. Of course, this is something that didn’t happen overnight with just a bunch of speed parts from abroad, but rather a culmination of his years of experience on the drag strip and using the rights parts. Others see drag racing as simple and easy, but you and I very well know that’s not entirely true as Jonathan quips, “I once saw a phrase saying “Anyone can drive a fast car but only a few can drive a car very fast.” It looks simple enough especially on a stock car, but can I assure you that when you get serious and heavily modify the car anyone will feel the difficulty driving and correcting due to torque steer etc. But its fun.”

Responsible for the record setting, 8-second, quarter mile time slip is his drag-prepped GT-R known as “Tiunami” as he recalls, “I think it was around May of 2013 when I bought this 2012 GT-R that I saw on an online ad. Since the front end was wrecked, I checked it out together with my friends who will be fixing it just in case we buy it and build it as a racecar. After deeming that was repairable, I struck up a deal and bought it. I then started buying things to make the it look like nothing happened to it, which I must say that my friend did a great job.” While the stock 3.8-liter, VR38DETT engine would be like a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) when it comes to launching the GT-R, but when it comes to drag racing, showing up with a Howitzer would seem like child’s play. As such, Jonathan sought the biggest cannon in the form of a 4.4-liter, AMS Performance crate engine with an Alpha 14 turbo kit. Due to its extensive development of the VR38DETT engine, U.S.-based AMS Performance has been at the forefront when it comes to building world record setting GT-R’s for drag racing. Just recently, the AMS Alpha GT-R with over 2000-plus hp just made a record setting 6.93-second run in the States which speaks volumes about their expertise when it comes to making GT-R’s fast, very fast.

The AMS performance crate engine uses a CNC machined aluminum engine block that’s been strengthened and uses a billet stroker crankshaft. In addition to an increase in bore size, they also come sleeved and the whole rotating assembly comes balanced, blueprinted and the works. According to AMS, the increased bore, stroke and compression ratio gives the engine more low-end torque which helps reduce the turbo lag. The crate engine also includes the AMS Alpha CNC ported heads and custom camshafts. As far as boost is concerned, the AMS Alpha 14 turbo kit guarantees maximum power through the whole RPM range and does not follow the “Bigger is always better approach”. It also features cast stainless steel construction for durability. This is for good measure because; changing the turbo’s on any GT-R requires literally pulling down the whole engine just to gain access. With over 1000 horsepower from the engine, it’s just too much for the stock transmission to handle. As such, a heavy duty Sheptrans Stage 4 rebuild kit now resides in the stock housing. If you read through what goes on inside one of these kits, it’s almost like putting together a whole full race engine with almost every part replaced with high-end aftermarket parts. From the PPG gears, right down to the Dodson thrust bearing circlip; it morphs into one fortified piece of equipment for changing gears. Still semi automatically of course and not until the engine reaches in excess of 2000 horsepower as Jonathan points out.

Utilizing a piggyback ECU from Syvecs, this unit seems tailor-made for the GT-R’s plethora of electronic wizardry as Jonathan attests to, “The Syvecs can do anything on the GT-R, even a 2 wheel choice for burnout purposes.” More importantly, it allows for the boost and traction control to be adjusted via wheel speed sensors, throttle position sensors, GPS and more. Toby Lee from GT Auto flew in from Malaysia and did all the Syvecs ECU tuning. With over 1000 horsepower at his disposal, the question here would be how do they plan on laying all that power down effectively onto the track? “My tuner does data logging and after analyzing each run, he adjusts accordingly which gear needs power.” Recalling his record setting run, “During the first shakedown pass at Clark Intl. Speedway, we achieved 9.5 seconds without launch control and some issues but still won 2 classes. On the next round, we got the launch control working and surprisingly, we managed an 8.957 second run. It was a conservative pass and we were unable to back it up so it wasn’t eligible for a record. Feeling very optimistic that we can reach the 8’s on the next race, we finally managed to run four 8.8 second passes with the fastest being 8.806 seconds at over 160 miles per hour which now stands as the Philippines’ fastest quarter-mile record.”

The good news is that the quest for lower et’s isn’t over yet as Jonathan has a new motor that’s now making 1,600-wheel horsepower. Completely rebuilt at his personal shop, the stock block was prepped and sleeved; using Darton sleeves and fitted with Mahle pistons. It also features an Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) CNC prepped race cylinder heads using a bunch of Ferrea racing stuff and paired with custom camshafts. Advertised as the largest turbo kit available for the GT-R, it is rated to make as much as 2000 hp. Also made by ETS, it uses 2 HTA Super 99 Turbochargers with custom TiAL vband inlet/outlet turbine housings. Jonathan notes that the highest power they got using this turbo kit was a staggering 1,800 wheel horsepower that’s also tuned by Toby Lee using a Syvecs ECU and an ECUTek transmission flash. Huge amounts of boost pressures require lots of fuel courtesy of a Magnus mechanical fuel pump system that feeds 12 (2000cc) Grams fuel injectors on a custom Boost Logic intake manifold. Currently, this engine has pushed the GT-R to an 8.5 second quarter-mile time, but since they weren’t able to do a back up run, it wasn’t considered as official.

As to breaking his own record, “The car definitely can go faster this time but our problem is always traction. Comparing our tracks with the ones especially in the U.S. it’s really sticky all the way to the finish line.” I totally agree as it always seems to be any racecars dilemma when there’s so much horsepower, but I’m positive that they can achieve this goal of running 8.5 or even lower. Maybe even an 8.0! What’s unbelievably wild is that this GT-R represents cutting edge technology with the latest drag racing parts it uses. Save for the engine and fuel requirements including the drag wing and the parachute hanging out back, it could pass as street legal. Even the suspension remains all stock save for the Penske coil overs and the rear titanium adjustable rod end. Pretty awesome for something that has over a thousand horsepower and can trip the quarter mile in 8.5 seconds.


2012 Nissan GT-R R35

Jonathan Tiu

JCT Racing

Engine #1 4.4-Liter, AMS Crate Engine

Engine Mods AMS Performance 4.4-liter, Big-Bore Crate Engine AMS Performance Engine Block, Billet Stroker Crankshaft and Forged Pistons AMS Alpha CNC ported heads and custom camshafts. AMS Alpha 14 Turbo Kit, AAM Triple Pump System, Greddy Throttle Body, Boost Logic (12 injectors) Intake Manifold, id2t (12 pcs) Fuel Injectors, Greddy Throttle Body, Motul 300V Motor Oil,

Engine Management Syvecs ECU tuned by Toby Lee of GT Auto Malaysia ECUTek Transmission Flash by Toby Lee

Performance 1,318 Wheel Horsepower, 1,019 ft-lbs of torque on E85 Fuel 8.806 second quarter mile e.t.

Transmission Six-speed dual clutch semi-automatic transmission Sheptrans Stage 4 Transmission Rebuild Kit

Driveline Driveshaft Shop Pro Series Front and Rear Axles Motul LSD Oil

Rollers Enkei PF-01 Wheels M&H Racemaster Frontrunners (P275/45R18) Steel Wheels (15×10) M&H Racemaster Drag Slicks (10.5/28.0-15)

Engine #2 4.1-Liter, Nissan VR38DETT Engine

Engine Mods Stock VR38DETT block fitted with Darton Sleeves, Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) CNC Race Cyilnder Heads w/Custom Camshafts, Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) Super Race Intercooler, Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) Super 99 Turbo Kit, Boost Logic Intake Manifold, 12 pcs. Grams (2200cc) Fuel Injectors, Greddy Throttle Body, Magnus mechanical fuel pump system, Magnus dry sump system,

Engine Management Syvecs ECU tuned by Toby Lee of GT Auto Malaysia ECUTek Transmission Flash by Toby Lee

Performance 1,600 Wheel Horsepower on E85 Fuel 8.578 second quarter mile e.t.

Transmission Six-speed dual clutch semi-automatic transmission Sheptrans Stage 5 Transmission Rebuild Kit

Driveline Driveshaft Shop Pro Series Front and Rear Axles Billet Housing (front) Differential, Quaife (Front) LSD, Motul LSD Oil

Suspension Penske Coilover Shocks, Titanium adjustable rod end (Rear),

Brakes Brembo/Nissan Calipers and Rotors (Front) Wilwood Calipers and Rotors (Rear)

Rollers Enkei PF-01 Wheels (18×9) M&H Racemaster Drag Radials (P275/45R18) Steel Wheels (15×10) M&H Racemaster Drag Slicks (10.5/28.0-15)

Safety Sparco EVO Racing Seat, (4-Point) Safety Harness, Fire Extinguisher, 6-Point Roll Cage,

Exterior Carbon fiber doors, fenders, hood, Rear drag wing,

Kudos To Toby Lee of GT Auto (Malaysia), Extreme Turbo System (ETS), AMS Performance, Sheptrans, Carlos Gono of Motul Oils, JCT Racing Crew, Friends and family who supported us

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