When Awd Just Won’t Do: Bensopra Gt-r

This white R35 GT-R is probably one of the most easily recognized Japanese demo cars of 2012, a car that over the years has been displayed at Tokyo Auto Salon through its, very ambitious, development process. This was supposed to become Ken Nomura’s next D1 Grand Prix drift machine, a beast capable of unleashing a 1000 HP punch and custom built by the guys at Blitz. It was by pure coincidence that, when searching for a car to base his wild aero conversion on, Ueta-san of BenSopra found out this GT-R had been quietly put up for sale.

It couldn’t have come at a better time because going wild, in every sense of the word, is what BenSopra is all about. Even if the company has only been around for little over a year it has taken the whole JDM aftermarket by storm, and as Ueta-san tells us, this is only the beginning. Why Blitz dropped the RWD R35’s development is still unclear…

…but at least all that work wasn’t wasted because Ueta-san drifts this beast at every opportunity he gets. But let’s take a closer look at what makes this particular GT-R so unique…

…something that is, in part, revealed once you swing open that massive front cowl that completely replaces the R35’s front bumper, hood and fenders.

To transform Nissan’s supercar slayer into a dedicated drift car Blitz first addressed the VR38DETT, knowing that a lot more power was needed to make it competitive in D1. The all-alloy V6 was stripped down and fitted with CP forged pistons along with Carillo H-section connecting rods. Development on the GT-R started in early 2008, so at the time Blitz was going into uncharted territory, not like these days where the R35 tuner market is in continuous expansion with anything from stroker and turbo kits available to suit power levels anywhere from 800 to 1,000+ HP. Blitz chief mechanic, Abe-san, did all the work himself, rebuilding the bottom end with the aforementioned upgrades. The heads followed, and seeing the abuse valvegear takes in drifting with drivers often bouncing off the rev limiter while sustaining drifts, JUN valve springs and retainers were dropped in along with a wilder set of camshafts.

A rather ambitious turbo upgrade followed, where the stock IHI blowers were swapped out for a pair of Garrett GT3082Rs, top mounted on custom-fabricated exhaust headers. The externally gated turbines provide enough boost to generate a nice and even 1000 HP with an equally impressive 100 kgm (723 lb/ft) of torque on tap.

The position of the air outlets on the front cowl are there to release some of the engine bay heat caused by the bigger, and higher positioned turbos.

Lots of custom piping was required to plumb the Blitz twin-entry intercooler in place, routing the compressed intake charge to the stock intake plenum. With more boost there is obviously a need for more fuel and along with a Fuelab high-pressure fuel pump a set of 1000 cc/min injectors were required to keep the VR’s thirst in check. One of the biggest hurdles that Abe-san encountered was getting around the electronics, not so much the engine management side of things which was taken care with a custom-wired-in Motec M800 ECU, but more so the rest of the brains including the transmission’s ECU…or lack of it rather. That’s because the Borg-Warner dual-clutch transaxle gearbox was removed and the whole driveline rebuilt around a Hollinger 6-speed transmission. Getting rid of the transaxle meant a new rear end was needed and Abe-san ended up adapting part of the rear subframe from an R34 GT-R, including its diff housing, now running a Nismo 2-way LSD, driveshafts and suspension arms/layout. Not surprising it took so long to complete the car right?

Aside the fact that it was sad to see Abe’s creation not making it into D1, at least the car has found its calling. The conversion to BenSopra demo car was done in time for the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year, where it impressed the tuning industry both in Japan and around the world. Even before he created the car Ueta-san wanted to go wild, wilder than anyone had ever gone before with an R35 and as you can see here we can safely say that has been truly accomplished. The final look is the result of careful design, penned by a professional aerodynamicist with experience in Super GT, to bring an evident race-car feel to the R35’s exterior.

The receded front fenders are a great example of the GT influence…

…merging into heavily profiled skirts…

…before joining the riveted-on rear overfenders and the rest of the conversion. Seen from this angle the BenSopra kit oozes aggression in every way, and if that rear diffuser section isn’t going to grab your attention…

…the rear GT-wing with its massive stays, seamlessly sprouting from the middle of the bumper, definitely will.

The GT-R sits on 10.5Jx20″ Enkei GTC01s, shod with a set of prohibitively expensive Yokohama A005 slick tires 280/710R20 all round. 60 mm hub-extenders are used at the rear to help fill up those big widened fenders…and when he wants a bit of more aggression Ueta-san sometime throws in a few extra spacers as well.

The car has already gone through a few different set of graphics, now sporting the simpler BenSopra logo as seen on the drifting shot further up in the post.

The level of finish in the interior is of the highest standard, simple but effective, starting off with the Bride bucket seats – which replace the heavy electric stock chairs. Seeing there is no need for any of the audio, navigation and cruise control functions the standard airbag-equipped steering wheel has made way for a much more suited Nardi item.

All instrumentations, electronics, A/C, audio and anything else that wasn’t needed was eliminated, adding to the 300 kg that was shed through the RWD conversion. A Racepack IQ3 is used as the main dash instrumentation, doubling up as a data logger…

…and joining a pair of Blitz gauges neatly integrated inside two of the air vents.

Custom made dry carbon covers the whole center console…

…where all the auxiliary switches are laid out, everything from the fuel pump, headlights, wipers and hazards.

The way the gear selector for the Hollinger has been beautifully integrated into the stock transmission tunnel is testament to Abe-san’s work, from the carbon trim to the billet shift itself. It’s definitely something that nobody would expect to see in an R35!

The car is still very much a work in progress, currently sitting without an engine in the newly opened BenSopra HQ in the hills above Kyoto. Ueta-san has achieved what he set out to do with this initial first step in the car’s development…

…but as he tells us we will have to wait a little bit longer to find out what is next on the cards for his RWD R35.

BenSopra

Specs:

Engine: CP forged pistons, Carillo H-section connecting rods, JUN camshafts, JUN valve retainers, JUN valve springs, GT3082R top mounted turbochargers, BenSopra exhaust system, Custom intercooler piping, Blitz intercooler, Fuelab high-pressure fuel pump, 1000 cc/min injectors, Motec M800 custom wired ECU

Transmission: Hollinger sequential transmission, ORC triple plate clutch, ORC lightweight flywheel, R34 GT-R rear end, Nismo GT Pro 2-way LSD

Suspension & Brakes: KW Clubsport adjustable suspension, Top Secret adjustable front top upper arms, Top Secret adjustable pillow ball lower arms

Wheels & Tyres: – Enkei GTC01 10.5Jx20”, 15 mm spacers front, 60 mm hub extenders rear, Yokohama A005 slicks 280/710R20 (front & rear)

Exterior: Full Ben Sopra aero kit comprising of: Front bumper & bonnet cowl section, Front lip spoiler, Bonnet hinge conversion, Front fenders, Side skirts, Rear overfenders & fender conversion, Rear bumper, Wing stays, GT-Wing, Rear diffuser

Interior & Chassis: Bride race bucket seats & seat rails, Nardi steering wheel, Racepack IQ3 data logger & dash display on dry carbon dash panel, Dry carbon center console and MFD-delete, Custom switch panel, Dry carbon transmission tunnel trim, Hollinger shift lever/knob, Blitz water temp gauge, Blitz boost gauge, Blitz SBC boost controller

-Dino Dalle Carbonare


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31 comments
Kim
Kim

the same car tested and driven by nob taneguchi...  i guess blitz dropped it because the glitch and problem the car have with durability; blown turbos and stuffs.

joshchaos
joshchaos

lol @ DANGER: High quality Products... love it.

Terry Lee
Terry Lee

I've never like the R35 instead of R34 until I see this one.

RemingtonBox
RemingtonBox

Rediculous!  This is why I follow Speedhunters... cool features that come out of the woodwork with an incredible story behind them

AaronVenable
AaronVenable

WTF is going on with that passenger floormat, lol

Robo_No1
Robo_No1

I had to see this thing in action for it to really make sense. In the pictures at shows/events it all looks a bit over done and pointless, I mean why ruin the king of AWD, why take an understated car like the R35 and add on a huge (kinda tacky looking) body kit?

 

Then you see it on track and it looks totally bad ass. Its like a full blown GT car built for fun, and that makes it all right for me.

SamBoase
SamBoase

very cool car for sure but all that engineering and no air filters??

Option86
Option86

Passion doesn't even begin to describe the work put into this build. I'm glad to see it come together so well!! Nice pics Dino.

LouisYio
LouisYio

The fighter jet wing is totally making it a pain to put groceries into the trunk.

Kotetsu
Kotetsu

Beast... I'm looking forward to seeing this in action...

MattAtDoyle
MattAtDoyle

No wallpapers of that fantastic interior?

MattClarke
MattClarke

I feel this GTR will be remembered in the JDM history books but also forgotten and cursed to never really reaching its full potential. Whatever that may be. I am probably wrong though. either way, Great GTR.

gripchallenged240sx
gripchallenged240sx

So clean! I'm amazed how well the bumper-mounted wing works with the overall design too (personally, aftermarket wings on ANY newer Nissans just does nothing for me.) Would've loved to see this compete in D1 for sure.

Devirus
Devirus

nice conversion, godzilla!!!!!

RawrJjong
RawrJjong

@MattClarke I definitely agree with this and that's why I feel like this BenSopra GTR really has a special charm; it's like one of those legendary cursed cars. People will keep trying to reach its full potential but it will never come into being

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