If You Want To Make A Thousand-Horsepower Nissan, You're Going To Have To Break A Few Transmissions
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:
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 [s]beat the piss out of their car[/s] 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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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.
I was thinking of a couple of hood stripes on my versa 5 door but the cvt might blow.