Friday, July 8, 2011

Project Time Attack: Nissan S13 Coupe


In my previous blog post, I spoke of finding the right car to be turned into a time attack machine. After much deliberation and looking at several makes and models, I've narrowed the field down to one car and thats a 1990 Nissan S13 Silvia Coupe. 

My decision to go with a S-Chassis is primarily down to six factors, some of which were mentioned in the previous posting but will be further extrapolated here: 

  • Good, affordable rear-wheel drive base to build up from
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive (FR) cars have a natural tendency to oversteer. Controlled oversteers can technically help you set faster track times but can be very difficult to control.This naturally happens as the rear wheels are used for acceleration, while the front wheels steer the car. Rear wheel drive (RWD) cars tend to balance towards 'oversteer' which sees the front of the car pulling to the inside of the corner (whilst the rear comes out). As some of you might well know from seeing drifters work their magic, some opposite lock, combined with acceleration, can help nip this problem in the butt. Therefore, if given sufficient grip, RWD is near perfect for track  - proof of this being that every major motorsport event in the world uses the FR layout. Even current most popular all-wheel drive (AWD) car in the world today, the Nissan R35 GT-R, has dropped its AWD system in favour of a FR setup, as Nissan seeks to dominate proceedings in the Super GT series. 

  • Easy to get power out of the Nissan SR20DET engine
The SR20DET is a highly tuneable engine and its popularity is based on the motor's ability to produce power on the cheap. Also, the SR20's all alloy block, alloy heads, twincams, 16 valves and an intercooled T28 turbo, indicates that the engine possessed technology that was ahead of its time. This makes it a good engine to use in amateur motorsports.

  • Option to retro-fit parts from other Nissan models
Something I've learned and come to appreciate after months of GT-R ownership is that, Nissan parts are highly interchangeable. Not only does this feature exist between cars that belong to the same family tree but also with other Nissan cars that were made on a different production line. This is also inter-generational feature - S13 can for example, make use of newer parts that were a standard feature on later model Silvias like the S14 and S15. 

  • Massive amount of aftermarket parts
Testament to the popularity and longevity of the SR20DET, the engine enjoys tremendous aftermarket support and is fully backed by all major Japanese tuning houses. Even till present day, its easy to procure new aftermarket parts for an S13, as these items are still in production.

  • Huge supply of halfcuts and spare parts that are already in Malaysia
This has to do with the fact that the SR20 was used to power many of Nissan's cars since the early 1990s. Hence, a large supply of halfcuts and parts have made their way onto Malaysian shores. Production numbers of the S13 alone, is staggering - some 251,410 units were built from 1989 to 1998.

  • Proven track platform
Furthermore, the track capabilities of the S13 Coupe have been amply showcased at Sepang by Yoong (Ee Yoong Chern) and his HKS Garage R Hiper S13. The car lapped a best time of 2.26:5 at last year's Time to Attack Sepang and was ranked 4th overall. I got to know of Yoong through the Malaysian Skyline fraternity as he owns a R33 GT-R as well. You should see him drive it up Ulu Yam.

These following pics were taken prior to delivery of the car. I purchased the vehicle for a song and it came equipped with some goodies (widebody kit / S15 five lug conversion / R32 GT-R brakes / half cage though). The body is also very straight.

The S13 is currently undergoing a major make over - all of its consumables have been a changed, a JIC adjustable suspension installed, a new S14 gearbox bolted in, a Nismo GT LSD for the rear and lastly, 17" Work +5 offset rims with new tyres to help it steer better. I'm hoping it'll be ready for this weekend, so I could join a jaunt up Gohtong Jaya with the Italia Auto boys.

Ignore the drift, ricey bits. Those will be rectified in due time and a 2.2 stroker kit + Haltech ECU + cams + disco potato will be going into that SR20DET:

No comments: