It was about three months ago, on my last trip down to the Kansai area of Japan, that I realized I was standing in front of THE car of 2013. As Ueta-san of BenSopra ran the plans he had for his 180SX-based project by me, it quickly became obvious that there wasn’t going to be one single car at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon that would come close to matching the sheer awesomeness of this machine. Needless to say, I was right. BenSopra did it last year with their GT-R, this year it’s the turn of the Nardó Special 380SX.
After what must have been a very long drive up from Kyoto, Ueta-san and his mechanic arrived at the Trust HQ just outside Narita last Thursday, the day before the start of the Tokyo Auto Salon. They had just finished the car the night before and rather than heading straight to the Makuhari Messe they were kind enough to meet me at the Trust so that Sean and I could shoot this impressive creation.
Once the car was unloaded from the transporter there were still some small touches that needed to be made, including applying a few stickers on the car like this custom made 380SX one. The car would then be stickered up at TAS that night by Art Factory, the guys that do about 90% of all the graphics for Japanese tuner and drift cars.
Miura-san has also driven all the way up from Kyoto, skipping a night of sleep in the process. Riding 6 hours in his very firm FR-S had given him serious back pain, but there was no time for rest, the one off BenSopra aero he had created still needed some work. The front bumper needed to be bolted to the splitter and the carbon fiber rear diffuser assembled and fitted to the car.
It all took some time but Sean and I were patient because we knew we would soon have full access to the car that will go down in history as the most extreme Japanese tuner projects ever created.
Of course what makes this car very special is that it combines a very fresh aero treatment…
…with one of the wildest engine swaps ever attempted on a Nissan RPS13.
The whole engine and drivetrain was literally ripped out of the ex-Blitz R35 GT-R that BenSopra based their 2012 project car on and then custom fitted into the much smaller 180SX engine bay. As Ueta tells us it was all a big, three-month long headache, but thankfully they had the masterminds at Trust to lend a helping hand. After creating the custom engine and transmission mounts to hold up and position both the VR38 and the Hollinger sequential transmission in place…
…it was over to Trust for a lot of custom work. The engine was firstly refreshed and fitted with a Trust 4.0L stroker kit and then dropped back in place in its new home.
With two big TD06-25G blowers and a planned V-mount intercooler/radiator set up there was a lot of work that needed to be done…
…and it all started off with a pair of custom fabricated stainless steel exhaust manifolds to position the turbines…
…in a top mounted layout, right next to the two banks of the engine. The external Trust wastegates are right under each TD06, within easy reach if the spring needs to be changed. More custom piping followed, this time aluminum that would plumb the whole intake system to the…
…horizontally positioned twin-entry intercooler. To allow this to fit the front section of the chassis and radiator mounts had to be cut away, a custom subframe fabricated up and bolted in place at the same time as the chassis was prepped prior to the build.
This is Toru Kawashima from Trust, the man responsible for all the custom work and fabrication, seen here holding up a “Nardo Special Edition TK-001″ plaque he made up for the 380SX!
Once the intake charge has been compressed and cooled it’s throttled through these billet 90 mm mechanical throttles, supplied by Osaka GT-R specialist Full Stage,
…and directed into the engine by the Trust larger capacity intake manifold. If by now your are wondering what the point of all of this is, well there is a reason this 180SX chassis needs the 1100 or so horsepower it is currently running. In a few months this car will be driven by Ueta around the famous Nardó high speed ring in the south of Italy where it will be attempting to get as close as possible to the 400 km/h mark (248.5 mph). The event is being organized by Option Magazine who has also invited tuners like Phoenix’s Power and Top Secret to join with their fastest R35 GT-Rs.
As you can imagine when the throttle is pinned to the floor this tuned VR38 has a pretty massive thirst for high octane fuel, which is contained in the 40 L ATL fuel cell…
…fished out and appropriately pressurized by a pair of Bosh Motorsport 044 fuel pumps.
It is then sent via braided lines to the Trust/GReddy fuel rails and onto the 1000 cc/min injectors which will be pretty much maxed out through all of the high speed attempt.
This fuel pressure regulator keeps everything in check. A pair of Trust 13-row oil coolers keep the big V6 within operating temperature…
…while this custom made Full Stage oil separator tank catches all those nasty blow-by fumes.
During the shoot the car was set to a more show-car stance ride height, easily achieved through the custom air-suspension that Full Stage built for the project.
These, much the Roberuta air-cups that a lot of people use in Japan, feature a regular adjustable coilover damper layout with a top-mounted air bag to allow the car to be lifted and dropped by a couple of inches.
Ueta says this suspension will allow the car to be far more stable at high speeds to help with stability around Nardó.
This is of the nicest angles to appreciate the BenSopra overfenders that Miura devised for BenSopra, having a similar rear recess that exposes the tires as done on the FR-S aero.
The wheels of choice for this project are satin black Enkei RS05RRs, measuring a massive 11J across at each corner, 18-inches in diameter. They run Advan A050s semi-slick rubber, 295/30R18 all round, which will hopefully hold up to the abuse of multiple high-speed attempts.
Ueta is confident the car will be able to reach some pretty impressive numbers in Italy, thanks to its custom gearing, potentially being the fastest car there.
A little peek through the driver’s side window reveals a very race-oriented interior. Aside from the custom carbon dashboard that BenSopra created, the 380SX has no trim to speak of…
…as it was all removed and thrown in the trash when the chassis was sent to Saito Roll Cage prior to the build actually starting. There it received a multi-point cage created to not only boost torsional rigidity, but also offer high levels of safety if the worst was to happen.
Ueta purposely didn’t fit the rear gate and side windows so that people at the Tokyo Auto Salon would be able to have a good look inside and appreciate all the work that has been done to the shell.
Ueta will sit in the Bride Zeta III bucket when piloting the car…
…and will be able to keep an eye on a ton of parameters and read out through the AIM digital display. There are two wideband lambda readouts, one for each bank of cylinders, the easiest way to notice if any potential problems with the engine arise.
The custom carbon-look center console is where all switchgear has been laid out on…
…including Trust’s new Profec boost controller which looks like something out of the future!
Engine management is handled by this Vi-Pec V88 stand alone ECU which has so far been set up with a base map. Ueta would have loved to have all fuelling and ignition maps sorted out for when the twin TD06s will run full boost but there isn’t a roller or hub dynamometer out there that can read the actual torque numbers the tuned VR churns out. They have seen 120 kgm (867 lb/ft) on one dyno but then error messages followed as the system maxed out. They are left with no choice but to finalize and fine tune the mapping on the street.
It was truly fascinating listening to Ueta talk about the car and what he hopes to achieve with it. In the short year and a half BenSopra has been active he sure has made a big impact on the Japanese tuning world!
I couldn’t stop looking at the 380SX, sitting there with its massively wide stance, almost awkwardly styled hood that just barely clears the massive twin-turbo V6 that sits under it…
…and of course that raw rear end.
The rear spoiler with the big centrally mounted stays has become a defining factor of both BenSopra and TRA Kyoto and along with the carbon multi-piece diffuser will help keep the rear end firmly pressed onto Nardó’s black top as those rear A050 attempt to unleash the 1100 plus HP. The BNR34 rear end is equipped with an ATS carbon LSD that should help get the best out of the sticky tires.
Along with all the work under the hood Trust also fabricated a one-off, full-straight exhaust system which exits centrally through the diffuser. I though the BenSopra R35 was loud until Ueta started driving the 380SX around the Trust HQ!
The rear bumper wasn’t completed in time for TAS, leaving the chassis exposed. I actually quite like the way the car is at the moment, it somehow looks more functional without a bumper!
To give a little contrast to the flat white body the roof was wrapped in carbon-look vinyl. The large Speedhunters sticker is there to help with performance of course.
The next days will be crucial for Ueta and his mechanic, they need to finalize the set up and engine mapping before the car is loaded onto the container and shipped off to Italy.
If for some reason they won’t make he will have to wait for the next Option event that will be held there.
Knowing Ueta, if the car won’t make it to Nardó I’m sure he will hit a few tracks here in Japan and drift the hell out of it! After what he has told me time and time again, the cars he has so far built have been done for pure fun, so why not enjoy them!
Engine: Trust 4L stroker kit, Trust exhaust manifolds, Trust TD06-25G x2, Trust external wastegaes x2, Trust custom straight through exhaust system, Trust custom piping, Trust custom V-mounted twin entry intercooler, Full stage mechanical throttles, Trust intake manifold, ATL 40L fuel cell, Bosh 044 fuel pumps x2, custom surge tanks, braided fuel lines, adjustable FRP, Trust fuel rails, Trust 1000 cc/min injectors, Trust 13-row oil cooler x2, Fulll Stage catch tank, Trust radiator, Vi-PEC V88 ECU
Transmission: Hollinger 6-speed sequential, ORC triple plate clutch, BNR34 rear end, ATS carbon LSD
Suspension: Full Stage air-cupped adjustable coilovers
Wheels & Tires: Enkei RS05RR 11Jx18, Yokohama Advan A050 295/30R18
Exterior: BenSopra X TRA Kyoto full aero, BenSopra one-off hood
Interior: Saito Roll Cage custom multi-point roll cage, spot & seam welded, Bride Zeta III bucker seats x2, BenSopra carbon dashboard, AIM digital dash unit, custom center console, custom switchgear, GReddy Profec B boost controller, custom gear shifter, hydraulic e-brake
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Pictures: Dino & Sean
we need videos and sound of this monster going flatout. this car is awesome, so much awsome
omfg that must be a fukin beast! to drive. i wish i had ten mins with it. weird engine choice though for drifting
bigbenlee1992 it's being built for top speed, not drifting... he only mentions he'll probably drift it if they don't make it to nardo in time.
206 comments on one post. love it or hate it this car has to be the most popular car in speedhunters history. LOL. i love the idea and what they are trying to accomplish. I wish them the best of luck and hopeful nothing goes wrong. Even though they are having fun crashing at 240 mph can really mess up your day cage or not it will f*cking hurt. Hope NISSAN is paying attention to this rwd gtr (basically what it is)and build one too. Because this post generated alot of interest in such a vehicle. I like it without the rear bumper too. It looks raw. i like raw. Anyway excellent car and article. Does anyone have a clue how much is a VR (just the engine) cost in dollars? i m just curious
Heard something interesting today from the horse's mouth so to speak. The entire fuel system for this car came from www.kinokuni-e.com
Few will know why, but those who have seen their A/N fittings in their hands and know the differences in quaility will...
Nice to see little details like these.
speedhunters_dino Miguel Newera What a strange coincidence... and they sell tow straps too!
Words on the street suggest this car was not ready to be shipped to Nardo. Not the people involved in this project will have plenty of time to fix some of those aero flaws :)
JDMized Yes looks like they won't be going. I'll pass your message on to Miura-san regarding the aero.
I'd love to join in the controversy on this car but i can't make out the pictures! Quite often the images on SH appear heavily pixellated on first opening the page and i have to key shift+A to bump the display resolution. Fine. But i've noticed that a few of the recent posts refuse to impove res, no matter how many times i do shift+A. It's frustrating 'cos no matter what else might be said Mr D C, i'm sure the car & photos are gorgeous... i just can't see 'em properly. Any ideas how to fix? Thanks.
tenpennyjimmy That's really weird... have you tried using another browser? Sounds like it could be browser zoom...
sean klingelhoefer Thanks for getting back to me Mr Klingelhoefer. So far tried Firefox and Rastafari, no joy. It's a shame 'cos i had some killer points to make on the debate - was going to sort the whole thing out for you guys ;) Peace.
tenpennyjimmy sean klingelhoefer That is very strange. Is it a firewall problem maybe?
:o this car is nuts!! love how raw the rear of the car looks!
please tell me someone is going to be covering the event!
Not sure if I missed it or not, but is it AWD? I assumed it was with the swap from the R35, but not too sure.
KStyle EricSeanDelaney It's the swap from their R35 but that driveline was based around a Hollinger sequential and an R34 rear end, so it's RWD :)
What a crazy build, personally I don't think they will achieve 400Ks, but this is a really unique build none the less. Very cool.
Who knows if they will, I think as Ueta pointed out, the fun will be in finding out if it will or not
speedhunters_dino Oh for sure. It will be awesome to see what they achieve. It's a completely insane build and it made me do one of those head tilts dogs do when they dunno wtf they just saw haha.
As for 400ks though...just a hunch from looking at the shape of the body and some of the open gaps in the front area of the car...it just looks like it has too much drag. I could be wrong and I might eat my words later on, but it just looks like it has enough drag at 200 + mph those gaps are going to be taking a lot of wind resistance in my opinion. Not to mention I don't recall seeing any car break 250mph (correct me if I'm wrong please) with a fixed angle wing that isn't retractable or can change its shape at speed.
One things for certain though: there better be video of this monster at Nardo!
Like many have said we have to wait and see til project is completed, I think they have adequate power on tap, it comes down to the aerodynamics now, power weight ratio is great but more importantly is finding the balance between coefficient of drag and down force. A lot of people harp on the Bugatti's power but its more its shape and down force that play a key roll
Here is a car that had a chance to break the record, but didn't, and those guys are engineers.
JDMized Thanks for your continuous condescending comments Alex. They in no way bring anything to the discussion people are having on here as usual, but since you continue to regurgitate assumed knowledge from your years of experience in Japan, working as a race engineer or whatever you want us to believe your background is, there is one BIG thing you actually seem to completely miss out understanding. Unlike race teams and exotic tuners from Germany, BenSopra like a ton of shops in Japan aren't engineers, they are tuners, mechanics that have tested their theories over the years, building cars, breaking them, blowing them up, crashing them or whatever. With your vast experience in everything JDM-oriented you should know the spirit a lot of these shops have, the "let's see what the hell we can do with this car and have fun along the way" approach. If they get results or break records while doing so, it will be a bonus, but for the most part they get on board projects for the ride. Surely that's a good enough reason to have a bit of fun with your car? Of course that's, as you keep on putting it, purely my opinion...but if you don't like it that's perfectly fine with me :)
speedhunters_dino JDMized LOL "race engineer" race cars CRASH because of these people too
NormanCarpio JDMized Of course that is true too, but it's not what Alex wants us to believe lol
Folks, here is the fomula to top speed: Assuming no aerodynamics modification, standard car with say 220 HP top 220 km/r. then with 1100 HP the theoretical max achievable is: (1100 HP/220 HP) to the power 0.33333 then multiply all this by 220km/hr = 376 km/hr.
Any comment / remark?
James Cortez Your theory is sound but the numbers are out slightly - Stock 180SX with 205PS & quoted top speed of 230KM/H with 1100PS = theoretical top speed of 402.662KM/H. Obviously this doesn't take into consideration an awful lot of things...
PaddyMcGrath Paddy, read my words carefully, I said "say 220 HP". I don't know how much power the stock 180 sx exactly it puts out. If it's true at 205 HP then yes 1100 HP will, theoretically, give a top speed you quoted. With that size rear wing..... it takes some km/h away at the end... drag
James Cortez PaddyMcGrath i see no sense in these theories... what about different weight, different wheel size, different gearing, aero...
James Cortez PaddyMcGrath Also, aerodynamic drag increases with the square of velocity. Cd=(2Fd)/(rho*V^2*A) Basically, given the same frontal area, if V doubles drag goes up by 4x. If V triples, drag goes up by 9x. This renders this type of, "If 200 hp gets me to x, then 1000 will get me to y" calculation using simple ratios highly unrealistic.
PaddyMcGrath Paddy, this formula on max speed applies if everything else remains the same (weight, aerodynamics, friction etc). That's physics they teach in college! My college, OU
James Cortez Unfortunately if it was that simple it would be well...that simple. There are so many more things that come into achieving a top speed than what you said. Gear ratios, tire sizes as someone above me mentioned, co efficient of drag, frontal area, altitude, air speed...
If it was as simple as you said I think we would all be well paid F1 aerodynamicists.
The best thing about this car for me is the original concept by Kei Miura. Ie without that bonnet/hood. Note that unless they are one and the same the Fuel cell is a Fuel Safe cell and not an ATL fuel cell. There seems to be a general belief that this car/kit was created to break 400km/h. I don't think this is true. Rather it was an opportunity to use a spare motor and to update the rocket bunny kit with some ideas from his (Miuras) FR-S.
Hella flush and hella fail, to much form and not enough function. There is 0% chance of this going 400kmph they might as well of said they where Intending to take it to the moon. Cool car I'd love to own it. It's great reading all the comments, apexdna and jdmized and a few others at least seem to have a basic idea on speed. I mean look at other cars competing for top speed records at Lamborghini in nz pushing 1400whp couldn't break 360 and down the Texas mile cars making more power aren't getting 400. Has anyone seen the surface at nardo, it's fucking shit if you wana go 400kmph choose somewhere a bit more safe and sensible. I bet the car doesn't even make it to nardo and even if it does I doubt it breaks 350 or even 330
You know those lambo's curb in at around 1500-2000 pounds more though, right? Power to weight bro. As a 700hp 240sx owner, I can attest to the fact that the car is light as hell. That being said, I haven't recorded speeds higher than 250kms/hr (A lot of that having to do with aero - or lack thereof)
AdamMcCorriston Are you serious? I have a 335i that has maxed at 250km/h with a factory engine producing maybe 280whp. I find that really hard to believe you can't get to 250k with a 700hp 240SX.
I should mention that was non GPS verified and speedo indicated. My 2nd Gen Miata got up to 132mph indicated with 142bhp also non GPS verified but speedo indicated.
Couldn't hold it for long enough to climb higher. I was watching my intake and water temps climb by the second. Also, this was on public roads, Haven't had a chance to get her on an airstrip or anywhere safe enough to do it. I'm kinda depressed now, hearing that your stock 3 would hit that. She pulls hard as fuck to 240. then she slows off a bit, but still climbs. Gearing is a factor too. I'm running an R32 GTR Diff, so my final drive suffers. but accells quicker. If I put a 300zx trans in and swapped my final drive it would make worlds of differance
AdamMcCorriston Good points, it all depends on what youre going for with your build. Top speed isn't a huge deal (to me) and to be honest if I had a 240SX with a good cooling system and 700bhp I would probably gear the car to top out around 170mph (if I had enough money to buy a customer trans for the application). Sounds like you need to look at your cooling system's flow and the size of your radiator etc.
If you're into designing and doing work yourself I would advise reading A. Graham Bell's book "forced induction tuning." lots of good information on cooling systems, formulas for radiator sizes etc.
A properly built 240 with 700bhp would be an absolute monster on the track. Are you running a turbo SR20 or are you working with a swap like an LS or something?
AdamMcCorriston Ahhh no sir, that's WHP. lol SR. tomei 2.2 stroker. but she's closer to a 2.3. 9.5:1 comp pistons,, 284 cams, half inch head studs, bully built race motor, spared no expense, Built and balanced by mazworx. T42 turbo, 2000cc Injector dynamics. 12k rpm redline. made 680 wheel @ 28psi and spun the dyno. We assume it would have hit higher than 7, but we didn't get it on paper. Since then It's been paired with a GTX38 at 16psi and wayyyy smaller injectors, and is making only 580,, but is much more streetable. HAve to ditch my Power FC and get a differant standalone to tune low end drivability - And - peak power. (right now i have to sacrifice one for the other due to limits in Apex'i and datalogit's software