The car you see here is called “Goliath“, and – as of last weekend’s Moscow Unlimited Standing Mile event – it is the world’s fastest Nissan GT-R.
The Goliath project began late last year as an R1K-X – an extremely potent, but relatively normal build from Oberlin Ohio’s Switzer Performance. The shop has built a reputation on delivering reliable, record-breaking cars- this one, like Switzer’s other high-horsepower record-runners, was expected to deliver some 1500 bulletproof horsepower to a demanding Russian client. By Switzer’s standards, it was a conservative build … that is, until the client decided to ask Tym, “What if I want to push the limits? What if I don’t want to be conservative?”
THE WORLD’S FASTEST GTR
“It still amazes me,” says Tym Switzer, talking to me at the Feve, a local restaurant where the Switzer boys are regulars. “The cars are making over a thousand horsepower, and we’re nowhere near the edge. That’s- I mean, when we started doing this in the 90s, a 1000 hp streetcar was unheard of. Now? 1500 hp and people want more- they think they do, anyway, but very few people really know what ‘pushing the envelope’ means anymore. I spoke to the client, explained the risks and our policy of testing the limits of a package on our dime, not the customers’. We went back and forth and he ended up convincing us to move forward. Goliath became an exercise in tuning with the new Syvecs ECU. The other component to this exercise was to see how much power we could make on our engine program’s standard-bore/stroke 3.8L VR38 build that’s been so reliable for us over the past four, almost five years, now.”
The car was built, the dyno was abused, street tuning was quality-tested, and the car was sent to the client in Russia. Its first time out, running on a damp track with a slipping clutch, the car ripped past the speed traps a mile from the starting line at an impressive 225 mph after just 22.7 seconds.
“That was a good start,” said Tym Switzer, on the day. “We’re in good shape to meet our customer’s goals on raceday.”
When raceday finally came, the car was expected to run well- but wasn’t a favorite to win, which (on the surface) seems understandable. “It’s important to realize,” explains Tym, “this is still a 4000 lb. streetcar with a full interior, AC, stereo – it even has the stock seats. It’s a real, drivable streetcar, albeit at the limits of what most people would tolerate. The only ‘race stuff’ in the car is the fuel. In this case, it’s Q16. I’d have preferred to tune with something a little more ‘green’, like E85, but that would have been too hard for the car’s owner to source locally.”
Despite the car’s weight “handicap”, when the lights turned and the car’s Switzer-built VR38 started putting power to the ground through the Toyo R888 tires, the car rocketed across the Moscow Unlimited’s mile-long dragstrip at more than 250 mph! A new GTR record!
Much of this must be attributed to the powertrain management employed on the project. “Keep in mind”, says Tym, “that this is an 1800hp car in the hands of a non-professional driver. We have always tried to maximize performance while giving our customers the most predictable and controllable combinations possible. It’s not just about making the most power, there are plenty of those who can make good power.” This couldn’t be more evident than it is in the video from the event. “If you look at the ‘other’ closest GTR competitor, it’s quite easy to see how stable our car is in comparison. The ‘other’ car is literally all over its lane at the beginning of its runs in order to maximize its time – if all goes well. That’s a little more dangerous than we care to be, so you will notice that even though we sacrificed our ET in the interest of stability, the car accelerated straight and true even though it clearly had the horsepower advantage at the top of the course.” The Syvecs Engine Management makes all of that control possible on Switzer’s big power builds. “With the Syvecs SGTR system, we are able to manage all dynamics of the vehicle to our best advantage. We don’t have a rev-n-dump launch control, we have launch management.”
By the day’s end, Goliath had made four nearly flawless runs- each one at more than 245 mph. “We need to look at another round of clutch upgrades,” says Tym, always a perfectionist. “Still, having the world’s fastest GT-R is what the client wanted. It was a good day.”