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Best of the Best

Take a good look at Nizpro's awesome 200SX-R...

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

This article was first published in October 2000.

There're lots of modified cars around the place these days, but there are none like Nizpro's arse-whipping Nissan 200SX-R. This is quite simply the best breathed-on car we've ever seen - and we sure have seen a lot of 'em! Simon Gischus - the main man behind the Nizpro 200SX-R - had the vision for this awesome vehicle way back in 1995. He started things off screwing together a road/track package that was predominantly aimed at the high end of club racing. It was also an absolute bruiser of a streetcar. However, during late '96, someone made Simon a surprise offer to buy his one-and-only development mule - an offer that he could not refuse! The upshot of this was that he had the funds and motivation to start over again with the facelifted 1998 model. It was the ideal clean slate to apply the lesson learnt with SX-R Number One.

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At the same time, a new plan was also set down for the replacement 200SX-R - to get it low volume ADR approved and fully cleared for competition in the local GT-P Nations Cup series - the category for gun Porsches, Ferraris and the like. The latter is still pending, but is looking hopeful.

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With only 13 kilometres on the clock, this brand-spankers SX was immediately stripped down and hit with a myriad of go-fast mods. You could say this baby was taught to run before it could walk! First came one of the most important facets of the whole car - its elaborate roll cage. A lot of development went into constructing this all-new chrome-moly 4130 cage, which extends from back strut towers, throughout the cabin and to the front strut towers. Simon informs us that it makes a sh$% load of difference to chassis stiffness - not surprising.

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While Simon was brainstorming the layout for the cage, it was also the logical time to alter the position of the suspension mounting points (and, hence, suspension geometry). Except for the stub axle and bearing assembly, Simon informs us the front is now totally different to when it left the factory! Improvements that he made in this area include chrome-moly adjustable lower control arms, rose-jointed castor rods, height-adjustable steering rack mounts and a modified cross member (to suit the new control arm pick-ups). It's all proper racing stuff.

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For the time being, the car tackles corners with a combination of adjustable (bump and rebound) Koni dampers and King Springs on height-adjustable platforms. It's a reasonable base, however, this may soon change with some on-going suspension tuning. One thing that will definitely be changed is the wheel and tyre package. In our pics, the SX Racer is seen with its usual 17 x 8.5 and 17 x 9 inch Simmons rims shod in Pirelli P-Zero 245/640 255/650s - but Simon's currently in the throws of chasing down some monster 18s (which are a requirement for Nation's Cup).

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That intricate roll cage also required some tricky engineering inside the cabin. No less than five hoodlinings were consumed trying to make it all integrate nicely. Talk about dedication! And another beautiful touch (although often over-looked) is the car's amazing door trims. These elaborately moulded items have an X-shaped recess for the roll cage, and have been fully re-covered in the factory trim material - the job is so well done, some people can't even recognise that they're fabricated!

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On the other hand, some dead-set giveaways to the car's purpose are these Sparco EVO front seats, Willans 6-point harness and MoTeC ADL LCD dash. These are absolute requirements for GT-P style racing.

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While all the body preps were happening, the Nissan SR20DET mill was removed from under the bonnet and cracked open for a full performance build-up - in accordance to the regulations set for the Nation's Cup series. The 2-litre block was W-ringed for added durability, tidied up and then stuffed full of Carillo H-beam conrods and SPS forged pistons (for a 7.0:1 static CR). Interestingly, the bearings were kept genuine Nissan.

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Upstairs, the standard DOHC alloy head was match ported, a pair of Nizpro cams (with solid lifters) were slotted in, and a set of heavy-duty Isky Orange valve springs were also roped into the act. Those heavy springs were deemed a requirement since the SX-R will probably spend most of its time in the higher reaches of the rev range. Thirty-five mm Del West titanium intake valves (up from the standard 34.0-34.2mm diameter) and 30.0mm Inconel exhaust valves (standard size) complete the head package - and, in another testament to the strength of Nissan parts, even the standard head gasket was retained!

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The turbo system starts to boil with a stainless steel extractor manifold (with 3mm wall thickness), a high-flowing T04 hairdryer (running a 0.58 A/R turbine) and a front-mount Nizpro air-to-air intercooler (with a core measuring 650x450x67mm). Induction air is drawn through a free flowing K&N pod filter that's located inside the guard.

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Other noteworthy engine details include the removal of the factory EGR system, an oil breather system, 3-inch stainless exhaust system, 57mm throttle butterfly, reinforced engine mounts, raised oil pressure (500 kPa at 3200 rpm), a SERK oil cooler and a large capacity alloy radiator. Oh, and a Nizpro bonnet scoop and radiator shroud ensure good flows through the cooling cores.

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Engine management wise, the 200SX-R packs a top-line MoTeC M8 ECU that enforces an 8000 rpm limit. That's not heaps of revs for a racer - but with so much torque available, you don't need to spin it any harder! The computer's injector outputs lead to a set of four 125hp (at 5 Bar) JECS/Nissan squirters, which are fed by a Nizpro rail. Fuel (which is usually just pump Shell Optimax) is delivered by a Bosch 984 Motorsport pump, which runs at 4.5 Bar static pressure.

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During the extensive engine development, Simon tested the results of four different sets of cams and various injector locations on the in-house engine dyno. Results varied enormously, but the final cam grind and tuning session saw the SR pushing out an amazing 430hp on only 23 psi boost (still on Shell Optimax), and a giant-killing 535hp when the boost is wound out as far as safely possible. Yee-ha!

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The 200SX-R's driveline features a sturdy steel flywheel, twin-plate clutch assembly (AP modified) plus a 3.9:1 ratio R32 GT-R mechanical LSD (complete with GT-R driveshafts). And, in addition to improving straight-line traction, the action of this differential also has an effect on the car's handling, when compared to the standard viscous LSD. Amazingly, the gearbox and tailshaft are (again) standard Nissan.

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On the racetrack, that intimidating carbon-fibre composite rear wing (which is the same as SX-R Number One's) sticks the back end to the tarmac like glue. It generates a full 100kg of down-force (at 200 km/h), while a Kevlar front spoiler helps to balance out the overall front-to-rear stability. You'll note that a forward-facing splitter was trialled, but this was prone to scraping and patter problems.

And after the fitment of all this gear, you'd expect the SX-R to be bit on the porky side. Not so. It is actually 13kg lighter than the standard 1263kg 5-speed 200SX - a weight loss which is basically free performance! The lower mass is largely thanks to the removal of the standard rear seat and trim.

So how well does it all come together, you ask...

Well, during a recent track test day, professional race-driver Cameron McConville had a brief pedal of the SX-R and was very impressed indeed - something Simon was obviously grateful to hear! It was scorchingly quick, especially down the straights - although McConville said there was still some room for improvement in both the damper and braking areas.

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Simon wasn't all that surprised about the reported braking shortfall though. The set-up he's presently running (340mm Harrop discs and 4-pot calipers, and 300mm ventilated rear discs with GT-R 2 pot squeezers) was actually carried over from the first 200SX-R - which didn't have quite as much power or handling.

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Quarter mile times? Yep, she's a quick-un. How about an easy 11.8 second quarter mile (at 128 mph) with only 23 psi boost and plain ol' Shell Optimax unleaded? And, remember, this car isn't set up as a pure drag racer! Circuit tracks are, indeed, what the 200SX-R is all about - it's got the right combination of acceleration, brakes, aerodynamics and chassis balance. Simon tells us it powers out of corners like you wouldn't believe. Boost pressure hits 1 Bar at around 4000 rpm, and - if you're in the right gear - it can be throttle steered with ease.

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Needless to say, Nizpro has spent countless hours on the creation of the current 200SX-R. And - at long last - it looks like they may well be receiving Nations Cup GT-P accreditation. That means we might see the winged racer mixing it up with some of the fastest exotic machines in the world - and it'll certainly be set to cause a few upsets!

However, with or without the full green light, Simon is now taking orders for the SX-R and he says he'll build as many as there is consumer demand for. So far Nizpro have done eleven SX-Rs (3 in the same spec as this one). And - given the amount of development and the quality of the build - it's reasonable enough that the SX-R doesn't come cheaply. For a vehicle exactly the same as this, you'll need to be able to find $148,000 of loose change. Of course - while that is a fair wad of dough - the 200SX-R is undoubtedly the cheapest way to be chasing the Number One position in the GT-P Nations Cup series. Fingers crossed, that is!!!

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Rest assured, it's already Number One by us!


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