October 20, 2020 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos: Juanito Vinluan

Tuner: Ground Effects

Its all about getting downforce

Downforce as defined, “A downwards force created by the aerodynamic characteristics of a car which allows it to move faster through a corner by increasing the vertical force on the tires, thus creating more grip.” Why is it necessary? Mainly because of excess horsepower and to go even faster. Something that’s difficult to achieve due to limitations such as, how much power can actually be transferred to the ground and getting traction from the tires. To lessen this limit, a downward force must be applied on the wheels. Hence, the addition of all sorts of aerodynamic aids that works towards generating the all-too important downforce. Aids like the massive rear wing, canards, splitters, rear diffusers and so on that, if properly designed and placed on the car, will help make it handle better and stick to the track. These are mainly found on high-powered time attack cars, track/drag cars, and highly tuned street legal cars with way more than 300 horses. Just like our featured Nissan GTR that took Nissan aerodynamicists a year and a half to define its final shape on the wind tunnel. In fact, even the seemingly aesthetic ridges on both sides on the front bumper were placed to enhance the airflow passing through either side. But here’s the challenge though: can it still be improved upon. In the tuner world where everything is possible, the answer of course is yes.

Hailing from Japan that’s synonymous with aftermarket parts and wide over fenders, Varis has made a name for itself with aggressively designed aero parts and body kits. Given the immense popularity of the GT-R, it’s no surprise that Varis developed a complete body kit for it. The kit includes the front and rear bumper, wide front fenders with carbon fiber louver fins, side skirts, rear under skirt, center mount GT-Wing, diffusers, plus several carbon fiber pieces. Just looking at the vents and the way everything works to direct the air passing through it is just stunning. The carbon fiber louvers on the front fenders alone are design cues straight out of a JGTC car in Japan. A small, but serious design trait utilized on the top GT racecars in Japan that speaks volumes about their design ethos. Tasked to install and perfectly align the aftermarket Varis body panels was Alex Car Restoration headed by Alex Isip where they had the entire body re-finished in Suzuka Gray using Cromax colors.

Part of the reason behind the addition of the aftermarket aerodynamic kit is what’s lurking under the hood. It’s Nissan’s beast of an engine with twin turbos pushing close to 500 horsepower. But this one has been modded to put out more. Thanks to a GT600 turbo kit from noted tuning company HKS that bumps up the stock output to 600 horsepower and a massive 570 lb-ft of torque using the stock IHI turbochargers. What’s great about the kit is that it comes with all the necessary components from the pipes, the dual fuel pumps with fuel pressure regulators, right down to the HKS Racing Spark plugs. Given the tight confines of the engine bay, it’s barely noticeable except for the HKS hose couplings and the pipe. But should the need for even more power and speed arise; HKS offers a more powerful upgrade in the form of the more radical GT800 kit and the Godzilla-level GT1000 kit. Finishing the exhaust is a complete exhaust system from Japanese tuning house Mine’s that permits the GT-R to give off a distinct howl.

With the engine and bodywork taken care of, the build phase shifted its attention towards how the car sat in proportion to the ground. Addressing this need is none other than an AiRex air suspension kit to get it literally slammed. This modern digital air suspension system eliminates all the guesswork needed to operate as it comes with a digital remote. It even eliminates the need to install gauges, as it is capable of showing all the vital info available such as the air pressure, the pre-set ride height options and more. What’s more, it rides and performs just like a coilover. Rolling wide on 20-inch rims, these are the popular TE37 from Rays Engineering. The TE stands for Touring Evolution while the number 37 was taken from how much the 15-inch wheel weighed which was 3.7kgs. But unlike the past TE37 models, the TE37 Ultra has been fully reinvented to match the performance of modern high-performance vehicles.

Overall, this is one of those few modified builds where it appears as if it needs nothing. Reason enough for me to rank it high on my list of local GT-R builds. Being the recipient of the Best in Show trophy during the 2009 Transport Show really says a lot about this build. Years down the road, this wicked GT-R will continue to have a strong following with like-minded enthusiasts. Especially those who will go to great lengths just for the sake of getting downforce. After all, what good is having too much horsepower if it doesn’t handle well on the track?



Christian Pineda

Engine: VR38DETT

Engine Type: 3.8-liter V6

Engine Mods: HKS GT600 Package includes the following: Racing Extension and Center Pipe, Racing Center Pipe Intercooler Pipe Kit, Pre-programmed EVC (JDM Spec) Pressure Release Computer (PRC), Super SQV Blow-off Valve Kit Reinforced Actuators, Super Fire Racing Spark Plugs (M45HL) Premium Suction Kit, Fuel Pumps x2, Fuel Pressure Regulator Superior Finisher with GT600 emblem HKS Downpipe, HKS Y-pipe, HKS turbo manifold, HKS Suction Kit, Mine’s Full Exhaust,

Engine Management: HKS ECU Reprogrammed

Transmission: 6-Speed Automated Manual,

Horsepower: 600 WHP, 570 lb-ft of Torque

Suspension: AirRex Air Suspension,

Rollers: Rays Engineering TE37 Ultra in Bronze finish, F: 20×10, R: 20×12 Nitto NT05 Tires, F: 275/35ZR20, R: 315/35ZR20

Interior Mods: Bride Japan Bucket Seats,

Exterior Mods: Varis Complete Body Kit,

Body & Paint: Suzuka Gray Cromax paint by Alex Car Restoration

Car Awards: 2015 Best of Show Transport Show, Best Godzilla,

Kudos To: Alex Car Restoration, Emperor Motorsports, Magtroc, Cromax, Alex Car Storage, Alex Last Touch Spray Wax,

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