It’s been just over a month since I was at Gatebil Rudskogen, but already my recollection of the Scandinavia seems very much like a dream. It is a place indescribable by words, one filled with cars that seem more like pipe-dream-double-dares than reality. I can imagine no other place on earth where absurd concoctions like a NASCAR powered R34 could possibly exist, therefore it’s only fitting to be the birthplace of the ultimate motorsport hybrid.
I had heard rumors long before the event of this car that was lurking somewhere in Scandinavia that used to be a full fledged JGTC racer. I even read a brief snippet about it on this very site. But nothing could have properly prepared me for what lay in store at Rudskogen. I finally stumbled upon the freshly rebuilt car in the paddock area, under a canopy that Rob Bullough and I ducked in to avoid the downpour of rain that had just begun to fall.
We walked around the car and I started pointing out little bits here and there to Rob, one of them being the roll cage. One thing you’ll notice about this and most extreme race cars (DTM, WRC etc) is that, contrary to popular Internet lore, the roll cages are not right next to the roof. In fact the top of the cage hangs quite low, an effort to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.
It wasn’t long before the gentleman tinkering inside the car looked up and introduced himself as Mr. Jarle. He seemed to have heard our conversation and was quite keen on showing us more of the car. He began telling me a little more about the setup and that’s when things got really interesting. As it turns out Mr. Jarle is an expert tuner who specializes in DTM engines.
A few minutes later I was introduced to the owner and driver, Radni Molampour. Strangely enough I think he was just as excited to be talking to someone from Speedhunters as we were to learn more about his amazing car! For the next forty-five minutes or so Radni walked me through just about every millimeter of the car and filled me in on how it went from a racer to a rust bucket to the ultimate Frankenstein GT.
The first question you have to ask when you see a car like this is how in the hell did he even get a hold of it? Well it all started back in 2009 when Radni was building a totally insane fully carbon Supra. One of his contacts in Japan from whom he was getting parts for the Supra told him that there was a very special car that would be for sale soon, but it wasn’t officially on the market and there would very little time to make a purchase as it was a highly sought after car.
“When I received the pictures I didn’t understand what kind of car it was” Radni says. “I didn’t even know the history of JGTC in Japan, but my Norwegian friend Ronny Skogen told me ‘this is a chance you will only get once in your life, don’t blow it.’ So I took his word for it and bought it without thinking twice.” And like that, Radni was now the owner of what is probably the most extreme S-chassis on earth.
But it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows from there, when the container finally arrived in Norway it contained a car covered in battle scars and signs of neglect. Initially Radni cleaned up what he could, threw an SR20 in the car as it came without an engine, and headed to the track. He could tell right off the bat that there was loads of potential for the S15, but it needed some help.
In the winter of 2010 the car was completely stripped to the chassis and examined. “Everything on the car was in need of repair. The wheel bearings were damaged, the spherical bearings had too much clearance, the brake calipers and hydraulic lines were dried out. The shocks, brakes and differential were all leaking and the sway bars were rusted solid to the point where they wouldn’t move! Being the perfectionist I am I wanted the car to be 100%”
Sparing virtually no expense, each component was either restored or duplicated one at a time. Since practically the entire car is made up of one-of-a-kind parts which can no longer be ordered, much of the car was painstakingly replicated by Henning Finnstad who was able to machine all of the pieces necessary to get the car back to race worthy condition.
With the chassis tightened up and the bodywork coated with fresh paint the last piece of the puzzle was deciding what engine to use in this beast. “I had a wild race chassis but the real engine was missing, and NISMO wasn’t about to sell me one. The SR20 we built gave me a lot of headaches so I knew that wasn’t going to work either. Luckily I met Mr. Jarle at one of the GT races in 2010 and he said he ‘had the perfect engine for my special car.’”
In the end a 2.5L Opel Calibra DTM V6 would be just what the doctor ordered. At first Radni thought it was too crazy, but after a little convincing from his brother he settled on the engine and began the process of installing it into the S15. Now I know the thought of a German V6 in the holy grail of Silvias might make some of you sick, but let me point out a few facts for your consideration.
In comparison to the JGTC SR originally installed in the car, the DTM motor is: 33% more powerful, 14cm (5.5″) lower (thus lowering CG even further), 12cm (4.75″) further back in the car (improving polar moment of inertia) and 114kg (251lbs) lighter. I think that’s what you call a win-win-win-win scenario. In fact the engine sits so low it’s actually quite difficult to see it at all, even in person.
When you combine that level of race engine with this level of race chassis you get something vastly unruly. Even though this chassis is over decade old and “only” a GT 300 car, it’s one of the most extreme designs I’ve ever shot. Virtually each inch of the car has been extensively modified with extreme care. One look anywhere on the car, even the trunk, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
In the rear there are three coolers, for oil, transmission and brake fluid, which have been crafted into the cavity with precision. Fed by a pair of carbon fiber ducts on the rear window, air is forced through to cool and is then expelled under the car where the hot air can further aid the aerodynamics.
Needless to say the inside of the car is also a sight to behold. Obviously I was there to see the car in person, and I took the photograph above, yet I’m still dumbfounded by the cockpit. I could sit here and stare at it for minutes on end, each nook and cranny is filled with something curious. The heel up plate, the center console, the roll cage gusseting, it’s all incredible.
I can remember looking at photos and watching in car videos of cars from this era and being flabbergasted by the interiors, but in particular the steering column pods. With the driving position changed so radically, the steering wheel and displays all have to follow suit. Rather than just leaving everything sitting there exposed, the pod is finished with a radical piece of formed carbon. Delicious.
When you move in closer you start to realize how much is actually going on here, all arranged in a beautifully chaotic manner. While it’s not quite F1, this view isn’t many knobs, buttons and switches off.
Just below is a peal set which I am told is unique to the car. As with most everything else that surrounds them, the pedals look entirely over engineered. And if you’re wondering what that canister to the right of the frame is, it’s one of the three AP Racing air jacks.
Opposite of the driver is the electronics mainframe including the relay junction and fuse block as well as the ECU. I would imagine that setting up the wiring network was one of the more difficult aspects of the build considering the car was never meant to accept this engine.
Behind the driver things are complicatedly simple, if that makes any sense at all. While the electronic accoutrements are kept to a minimum, the cage starts to get very complex in the rear and I can’t help but wonder how much of it is for safety and how much is literally part of the chassis. As you could see in one of the photos above the cage protrudes through what would normally be a floor pan where it joins the suspension below. Tricky.
By the end of the shoot my face was thoroughly melted by this one off machine. In a list of impossible things that would never happen in a million years, finding one of only three JGTC Silvias ever built in Norway, with an Opel DTM engine obscured somewhere in its bay, would be very close to the top. It’s this kind of mayhem that has thrown Scandinavia onto my radar and I can’t wait to see what else they’ll come up. In fact Mr. Jarle assured me that if I come back next year, he’ll have something else special for me…
Only time will tell.
2000 Nissan / NISMO S15 JGTC GT 300 Silvia (chassis 002)
2.5L Opel / Cosworth DTM V6; dry sump; Bosch coils; custom intake ducting and plenum, custom exhaust; Premier fuel system with NISMO fuel pumps
ENGINE MANAGEMENT / ELECTRONICS
EFI Euro 6 ECU; AIM Strada Pista digital dash
Xtrac 6-speed sequential transmission w/ magnesium housing and dry-sump lubrication; Geartronics F1 paddle shift system; NISMO differential, driveshaft; Mocal rear-mounted transmission and differential coolers
SUSPENSION / CHASSIS
Auto Staff Performance Development JGTC roll cage and chassis modifications; NISMO adjustable suspension arms f/r, steering system, sway bars f/r, uprights; AP Racing air jacks; Bilstein shocks and springs
AP Racing front calipers, brake bias lever, brake pads; NISMO rear calipers, brake pedal system, brake system heat exchangers, floating rotors f/r
WHEELS / TIRES
18×11″ Magnesium center-locking wheels; 270/710R18 Dunlop racing slicks
Sparco steering wheel; Cobra racing seat; NISMO carbon panels and cooling ducts; OMP fire suppression system
Complete NISMO JGTC bodywork (bumpers f/r, hood, fenders f/r, doors, side skirts, rear decklid, rear wing, front splitter, rear diffuser, Lexan windows, lightweight headlights, ; OEM S15 taillights
450hp @ 11,800 rpm / 290lb-ft @ 9000 rpm
@GregoryStr Its still my :) not sold, its getting shiped to Japan i August 2013. Its going to do some laps true Team Techno First at Tsukuba.
I think I just died a tiny bit deep down inside of me... This is just epic, and some of these photo's you have taken of this car are unbelievably beautiful dude... Wow! o_O Kind of a pity regarding the motor not being Nissan, but hey, it is still a very cool motor for a very cool car so its all good in the end...
Thanks for sharing this with us all, and thanks to Radni for keeping such an amazing car alive!
Hell of a car!
Speaking of JGTC and Silvias, here is a cool moment, 3 x S15 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb0-BdrU37Q&hd=1#t=03m26s
staryjaponiec Awesome! The car making the pass (Unisia Jecs) is the car in this article.
I was just going to ask that question... thanks Sean... Unisia JECS car, eh? cool... Current tire sponsorship aside, it would be cool to see it back in its original livery... maybe one day in its future life ?
ericbauer It was one of the stipulations upon buying the car that it could not retain its original livery or Radni would be sued. It's kind of a long story, but he also went through quite a struggle to even obtain the car. Nismo/Nissan tried several times to buy it back from him lol.
What I would do for JGTC car...damn. Awesome write up man! Hey, what would be the best way to contact ya buddy? I have some big news I want to share with you that I know you will be interested in.
Thanks for all the kinds words ;D Its nice that you guyslike the car ;D
We got Dunlop as new tire sponsor in 2012, ( 2011 We had Hankook ) since we had the car under testing/ rebuilding, we didn not use time on the color;D We focus more on the enigne / gerabox and the rebuild. In 8 days it will come a video from inside and outside, then we have rent Rudskogen raceway to do some testing before the last Gatebil Event. Then we will drive alone, and the sound will get better.
Sean :Jarle is making a new exos, that makes more sound, Only 87 desibel in 5000 rpm,is alomst like a electric car no:D And thanks a lot for a very nice cover Sean ;D tha car MR Jarle wants to show you, its just " crazy" ;D
Rick: I cant wait to come to Japan in February ;D
Radni Molhampou Hey Radni! I definitely can't wait to come back and see what you guys come up with next... I can only imagine, and I wish you the best of luck developing the car and your driving skills!
I've got to get me one of those................ In another life...............Jaw on the floor.........................
I noticed something funny (by no mean offence), the car is running a hankook livery but it runs dunlop tires?
240z lover Ya I don't know the story there, perhaps a sponsorship which has ended or never came to fruition...
any videos of this thing in action in its current state? this machine is engineering masterpiece!!
This is one of the most insane car builds I've ever seen... Why? Because Gatebil! This is one of the best features on SpeedHunters, it just made my day! Mad props to the owner and builder of the car, and to you Sean, for this amazing article! Thumbs up big time. Make sure to be back next year, to see the next surprise from mr.Jarle, it'd bet it would be equally insane, or why not even more. :)
VecTT I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed it. I'll keep my fingers crossed in hopes that I will return to Norway next year :)
Very cool feature! But.... one question, if those engines are so valuable, why did they managed to get a DTM engine?
RB26DETT From what I have heard a couple people lost their jobs shortly after the acquisition of these engines...
P.S. I have seen quite a few GT300 spec machines for sale over the years, guess thats up to the more private nature of that class. I think the WEDs Altezza.IS has been making the rounds recently too.
It's a little difficult to explain, but usually you have a shop / factory or whatever you want to call it, that builds the chassis and supports the cars. Then you have the manufacturers which are involved for R&D and technical support, and typically will supply the engines. Then you have a customer team which is actually racing the cars, obtaining sponsors etc. When all is said and done the chassis are usually property of the shop that built them and the engines go back to the OEs. Again this isn't always the case, and there are certain cars that are 100% factory and also 100% privateer. It just depends on the car, series and a number of other factors.
Very cool car to cover, yeah I remember the first article too...was always hoping to see "what engine" went next. I have only heard the formula based/DTM Alfa V6 in person and they sound GLORIOUS. I am sure this Opel derived one sounds no less similar. Curious though, I would have thought they would have been able to order a TODA SuperGT SR20 that would be superior to their off the shelf part unit they tried before. I remember seeing a couple tuners in Japan claim they were using that engine before. One that comes to mind was from either the Straight 6 shootout BM or Option did some years ago.
Nice article and great details!
Stunning car, excellent feature Sean. Possibly one of the best feature ever posted on SH!!! Great job Sir. Thanks for sharing it
JDMized Thank you sir, it's my pleasure. When you come across something this cool it would be a sin not to share it!
KipMontgomery The car was originally being built to compete in a Scandinavian GT series, but after it was completed the other competitors deemed it illegal because they were scared to race against it! #banned
Like it all bar the motor. As long as the old SR is lying around somewhere for future restoration purposes ... :)
And of course it's going to be 33% more powerful, it was the GT300 class after all.
thriller The car was never shipped with the SR, it's literally impossible to get those engines. Once they are removed from the cars they go back to the respective owners (Nissan / Toyota / Honda) and go off into the vault. The engines are worth more to the OEs to sit and rot in their warehouses than the possibility of their competition getting a look at the inner workings.
Oh whoops, I read that and then it just went straight out the other end of my brain. Apologies.
Still, I'd like to know more about the 'headaches' caused by the SR20. I know of a fair few people in Aus that have a fairly reliable 500hp out of the SR20. There's one guy that's on ~750hp with a VE head. I imagine that even that would cost less than an ex DTM engine.
I'm certain it was considered by the builders, just interested in a little more tech info is all.
BTW don't mean to nitpick. Was one of the best written/shot articles I've seen on here for a while
thriller Ya I'm not entirely sure what the extent of the problems were, but from what I understand they were having issues blowing head gaskets. Perhaps Radni will chime in.
Glad you liked the article!
sean klingelhoefer thriller Problem was in Norway the shop Radni was using was building him SR20 engines but they didn`t really have the know how.......hence 4 SR20 engines later and one blown prototype turbo Radni got annoyed and went searching else where, Its not down to the SR20 engine being inferior, but the way its built. We built some engines that had 700hp+ for drag, engine lasted 7years, Radni doesnt need to run anywhere near that power, he just wanted 350-450hp but the shop in Norway couldnt provide it. I remember the homemade drysump was the cause of many engine failures, as the crank was drawing the oil away from the oil return pumps. Still spec of the new engine was far superior to even Nismo SR20 engine, so its a better package anyway.
This is just insane!! Nothing like a racing car boys..best car I've ever seen on Speedhunters! I'd love to hear that engine now.. :)
Fede I'd love to hear the engine without the enormous Gatebil silencers. If you notice the large metal boxes that run the length of the side skirts on the car, those are the massive silencers to get the car to comply with the sound regulations.