By on August 15, 2012

A few years ago, we drove the Switzer P800, a Nissan GT-R that put slightly over seven hundred horsepower to the wheels. Switzer has since gone on to sell dozens of P800 kits; in fact, your humble author worked with Switzer for the summer of 2010 in an advisory capacity to help sell even more of them. If you’re going to drive a GT-R, you might as well drive a really fast one, right?

Switzer’s customers weren’t satisfied with 800 horses at the crank, though; they wanted a thousand at the crank. And once that was done, they wanted a thousand. At the wheels. Getting to that level wasn’t easy.

A long blog post by Switzer’s Jo Borras describes the process. It wasn’t exactly painless:

But before my adventures for the day were over, the transmission went into limp mode… They discovered a broken 4th gear in the box. A broken 4th PPG gear, as my car had the full gearset.

…The car immediately stalled when started up. I tried it a few more times to no avail, and finally decided to feather the throttle for a few revs to see if that would help. Bad idea, the car noticeably rocked when I did this, and it quite frankly scared the shit out of me. We spoke to Switzer, reviewed the install and refill procedure, then reinspected…and found a cracked transmission case. A hairline fracture in the case with some fluid dripping out.

On the 3rd big pull 2nd through 5th gear, with my cousin frantically telling me to slow down because there was a bend in the road, I let off. I pressed the brake and looked behind us for any sign of the Escalades headlights, but could only see a cloud of white smoke.

…Unusually, the drivers side bank was unscathed, but the passengers side bank had catastrophic damage including a hole through the head which drained all the coolant through the exhaust system.

You get the idea. This is big-boy territory, so if you’re the kind of otaku who starts crying through your Goth mascara and “cutting” again in your Mom’s bathroom because one of the taillights in your FR-S has condensation in it, owning a thousand-wheel-horsepower supercar ain’t for you.

Just how fast is a Switzer R1K? Let’s see:

YouTube Preview Image

9.38 seconds at 155mph, on a track that looks awfully slick.

Here at TTAC, however, we’re more interested in how a car performs on a track with a few turns between the start and finish line, so we’ll put in a request and see if any R1K owners want to let us beat the piss out of their car perform some professional testing. Something tells me this car could be even faster around a road course than a Mustang V6!

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21 Comments on “If You Want To Make A Thousand-Horsepower Nissan, You’re Going To Have To Break A Few Transmissions...”


  • avatar

    This seems like my kinda bag, is this an available kit, or is it a modified kit? But now that I think of it, I could probably buy a 1000 rwhp supra for less money. Screw limp mode.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    1000HP Skylines are nothing new. I remember seeing quite a few of such R32′s in the early-mid 90′s.

  • avatar
    ott

    Okay, I’ll be the first to ask the obvious question… How does it stack up against the Veyron?

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    Go Switzer! Now that’s a tuning outfit I like to see. While it’d have been nice for the car to work out of the box, the support experience would probably have enhanced its value to me.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This article reminds me of the episode of Top Gear where James May drove a Bugatti Veyron on Bugatti’s test track.

    Although there were no broken transmissions, May actually did a good job explaining how the difficulty level of designing a reliable car increases once a manufacturer gets into this horsepower territory, both from a mechanical and physics perspective.

    At anything approaching 1000 wheel horsepower or 250 mph, let alone beyond those figures, the stress on land vehicle components becomes quite brutal, and the weight of the air against even the most aerodynamic vehicle becomes crushing.

    It was fairly educational by Top Gear standards.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO0PgyPWE3o

    • 0 avatar
      Georgewilliamherbert

      “At anything approaching 1000 wheel horsepower or 250 mph, let alone beyond those figures, the stress on land vehicle components becomes quite brutal, and the weight of the air against even the most aerodynamic vehicle becomes crushing.”

      People who design airplanes consider this obsession with “how had 250+ mph is” somewhat quaint.

      It’s not really that hard; it’s just math. Making bodywork strong enough that it isn’t dented by people bumping or sitting on it or hitting it with shopping carts makes it stronger than airplanes that operate up to 200 mph…

      Yes, dynamic pressure goes with V^2, yes. I know that. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_pressure ) I also do space launch vehicles (big honking rockets) and reentry vehicles. It’s just not that hard for cars at car speeds.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        It’s hard if you want to keep the weight sane while doing it: except that volkswagon couldn’t be bothered to do it.

        It’s hard if somebody made a first cut at the design on a napkin somewhere and refused to consider any changes.

        It is easier than trying to sell customers an aerodynamic shape appropriate to the car’s speed/mission. Car buyers want something that looks aerodynamic, hate things that actually are.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        It isn’t just strength. At airplane speeds, heat & drag are a real problem.

        I know designing a nose is sufficiently hard that Boeing has designed the rest of the front end of some of their planes around existing noses from other planes so they wouldn’t have to redo the work.

      • 0 avatar

        apparently “people who design airplanes” don’t understand that there are actual space constraints that cars have to work in. there aren’t any 20+ mile straightaways for a car to hit 250MPH in, it has to be done in a reasonable distance. the more limited the space in which you’re trying to hit 250MPH, the quicker you have to reach 250MPH. the cars that hit 250MPH in the standing mile for instance, they have significantly more power than necessary to hit 250MPH, but it takes that much HP to hit 250MPH in only 1 mile.
        airplanes also don’t have to worry about BRAKING. nor do they have to worry about tire wear. or rolling resistance. or limited fuel supply as well. or the dimensional constraints of car.

        if REAL “people who design airplanes” consider achieving 250+MPH in a car “quaint”, then they’re extremely short sighted. while it’s been achieved MANY times over at bonneville, it certainly isn’t “easy”. especially when joe blow modifying his car in his garage(or switzer in their shop) doesn’t have the monetary backing of a major corporation(or government contract).

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Seems like there are no easy ways to fix this, are there? What sort of transmission swaps are available for this car?

    With high-HP American cars (Corvette, Mustang, etc.), there are plenty of manual transmissions you can swap into it… are there similar DSG options?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Although Nissan claims this is a very unique car, there are very similar Nissan and Infiniti cars, with very similar engines, that use a 6-speed manual. With cars like this the electronic compatibility issues may exceed the mechanical compatibility issues with regard to something like a transmission swap.

      Instead of seeing a 370Z/G37 transmission in a GT-R I would rather see see a totaled out GT-R engine in a 370Z or a G37 sedan.

  • avatar
    joborras

    Keep in mind, also, this was a customer/development car, and the lessons learned there have been put to good use in the many R1Ks that have come since – which did NOT have to go through this.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Reaction time seemed slow off the line, I bet it was quicker than nine
    seconds if he hooked up better as well.. Thing is stupid fast..

  • avatar
    mattfarah

    I recently had the pleasure of testing Switzer’s “Ultimate Street GTR.” Though I won’t go through everything here, as my video review comes out in a few weeks, the package was impressive to say the least. Though the upgrade cost $86,000, it made 880 WHP on pump gas (91) and 962 HP on race gas. The clutches were as smooth as stock, and I did three full-bore race launches with it back-to-back, and it held up just fine. Actually, fine is an understatement, as it lit up all four wheels through halfway into third gear. It was incredible. It was this particular owner’s daily driver and only car, and off-boost it felt as tame as stock, while under boost it was an absolute animal that was faster than anything I’ve ever driven, save for the Hennessey Venom GT, and it would even take that off the line.

    The problem with even 1000 HP GTR’s, which Jack identifies early in the article, is that the owners ALWAYS want more. And I can understand that, because, while a Ferrari 458 or Porsche GT3RS is brilliant to drive in stock trim, and I could drive one forever without it losing that “special” feeling, GTR’s, even ones with four-digit horsepower figures, never feel that special. Sitting in one feels like any other (nice) Nissan or Infiniti product. Driving one, while fast on the street and on the track, doesn’t tickle my spine the way a well-sorted 911 or Ferrari does. I’d imagine people who buy these cars for their capabilities start to feel the same way after a while. They add horsepower, get the adrenaline rush from acceleration, and then it wears off and they have to go bigger. But, because it’s a GTR, they will never, ever get there.

    The owner of the car I tested just had the build completed 2 months ago, and was already talking about more power. Even he got over the car in just 8 weeks.

    It’s one thing to campaign a big power GTR in an event like One Lap, which was dominated by them last year. It’s a perfect car for that; perfect for that little mess-up you have to cover for when you aren’t familiar with the track. Comfortable enough for a long road trip, able to put down great lap times in all conditions. But I understand why they will never make sense for some people, because, even when pushed to the limit of horsepower and running 9-second quarter miles, they still aren’t all that fun.

    Maybe I’m jaded.

    At the end of the day, I’m glad Switzer blew up a few development transmissions because the production package is robust, smooth, and usable every day. Never thought I’d see the day when people are using daily drivers with 1,000 HP, but that time has come.

  • avatar
    probert

    I was thinking of a couple of hood stripes on my versa 5 door but the cvt might blow.


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