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Old 04-02-2009, 09:35 PM   #1
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Default 640 hp Hennesey R35 GTR

Now that we know Nissan will not be bringing the GT-R SpecV to the U.S., we at Road & Track went looking for a fitting substitute, one that properly enhances the performance of the car without disrespecting its spirit and besides, not many people could justify the steep $160,000 price tag of the SpecV. Call it fate, but just as we were about to throw in the towel, an email arrived from Hennessey Performance Engineering, whose all-conquering Dodge Vipers have graced many pages of past R&T issues. Turns out, he had just finished his own special GT-R, one called the GTR600, and wondered if we were interested in driving it.

If it seems odd that John Hennessey, owner and founder of Hennessey Performance Engineering, is now also tuning Japanese cars, let us remind you that he got his start tweaking Mitsubishi 3000GTs nearly 20 years ago. And it was clear after driving the Hennessey GTR600 that he's still familiar with Japanese cars.

The first thing Hennessey worked on was on the twin-turbocharged V-6. The factory turbochargers were modified with new 47-mm compressor wheels, with boost set at 17 psi. There's also a long list of new parts (under the company's SUMO brand) that includes the exhaust system, ECU, intercooler piping and wastegate actuators. All this results in 642 bhp at 6400 rpm and 611 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 using premium gasoline (Hennessey claims that it'll pump out 700 bhp with racing fuel and boost turned up to 21 psi).

Slideshow >>

And man, does this make a difference at the dragstrip. The launching system limited engine revs to just about 2700 rpm with VDC on or off. Take your foot off the brake pedal, and you could swear the GTR600 is about to go airborne as it leaves the line. The GTR600 hit 60 mph in a scant 2.9 seconds and reached 100 mph in 6.5. The quarter-mile mark goes by in10.8 sec. at 130.4 mph. Hard to believe, but this thing made the GT-R SpecV feel slow...With race gas and the boost turned up, the GTR600 hit 193.8 mph in the standing mile, said Hennessey, and it hit 150 mph in just 14.3 sec.

The amazing part? Hennessey has kept the GTR600 easy to drive around town. He chose not to tweak the suspension too much, lowering the car an inch or so, but keeping ride quality smooth, There's a KWs suspension coilover kit that improves body roll through tight corners. The GTR600 failed to outperform the SpecV on our handling tests primarily because it wore the less-sticky Bridgestone Potenzas instead of the Dunlop SP Sport 600. The GTR600 circled the skidpad at 0.97g and raced through the slalom at 73.2 mph.

Hennessey Performance Engineering has started taking orders for the GTR600 (call (979) 885-1300 or go to hennesseyperformance.com). The cost of Hennessey's tweaks with installation included is $38,800. Add that to the base price of the Nissan GT-R, and you get a total price of $118,090. Not bad for a car that makes the $160,000 SpecV seem like it's slow.
Fast, yep.
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:54 AM   #2
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I wonder if their 1 year warranty will cover the transmission since the Nissan one is pretty much out the window.
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Old 04-03-2009, 03:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 5vz-fe View Post

I wonder if their 1 year warranty will cover the transmission since the Nissan one is pretty much out the window.

Warranty was the first thing that came to mind when I read this.

For Audi R8 owners who think their car lacks power & therefore seek aftermarket tuning (including forced induction mods), there are a number of tuners who offer 2 year warranties on all mods. I wonder if the GT-R aftermarket will offer similar options...
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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Looks like quite a few Texas cars have taken the "fastest" titles over the last few years - we do Japanese better than even the Japanese do it

And with regard to aftermarket tuner warrantees, many are stout in word but weak in application.

Too much leeway for the warrantee provider to use the "you raced it" denial.

I would think if youjust spent $50,000 upgrading a car you just paid $120,000 to get early, the $20,000 repair bill of a broken tranny is something you accept you will have to cover.
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:12 AM   #5
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Impressive but indeed I wonder how the transmission will cope with that torque There's already problems with the stock engine that lead to cancel the launch control on the 2009 MY ...
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