posted on June 24, 2013 00:00
Nerds Eye View- The Hawk Performance CRP Racing Nissan GT-R
By Mike Kojima
We were lucky enough to get a close look at the only R35 Nissan GT-R being campaigned in a North American professional race series at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Although the the R35 GT-R is being raced successfully in other countries it has not had much exposure in the USA. Hawk Performance has teamed up with CRP Racing to change all of that by campaigning a GT-R in SCCA's Pirelli World Challenge series in GT Class with driver Tim Bell behind the wheel.
The WC GT GT-R is very interesting technically, the car has a front mid engine mounting configuration with a rear mounted transaxle and has been converted to rear wheel drive, much like the Sumo Racing GT-3 GT-Rs being campaigned in Europe. CRP has come up with plenty of innovations in an effort to bring the big GT-R up to speed. These things make for a pretty interesting car, read on and check out what's inside it!
|We caught up with the Hawk Performance/CRP Racing GT-R in the pits at the Long Beach Grand prix while it was being maintained between rounds on the track. World Challenge has an interesting rules set where certain modifications are homologated on a car by car basis so some of the things you see on the Hawk/CRP car may not be legal on other cars. The car has a mix of some really trick things with some stuff that can apply on a grassroots level.
|The suspension is an interesting mix of stock and fabricated parts. The team was pretty secretive about some of the bits and the photos are a mix of stuff we took at Long Beach and at another race. We believe that the coilovers used are Penske 8760 3-way adjustable units. The dampers are built into custom height adjustable housings. Hyperco springs are used with Hydraulic load centering devices which isolate spring kinking forces from the shock shaft. The stock forged aluminum lower arm is used with the stock upright with a fabricated upper arm. All bushings have been replaced with spherical bearings. If you look closely, you can see something really interesting, no front axles! This GT-R is 2 wheel drive. Note the plethora of brake ducts. The GT-R is a big heavy car and street courses are hard on brakes. Air is fed to the center of the rotor and the middle of the calipers.
|The front upper arm is adjustable for camber and caster but the most interesting part is that the anti dive is also adjustable. You can see that the front mounting location of the upper control arm has several different mounting holes and the arm is in the position with the minimal amount of anti dive. We have always felt that the R35 GT-R has way too much anti dive in the front suspension geometry and it is cool to see that CRP Racing is working in the same direction that we would.
|The stock front anti sway bar is replaced with a Speedway Engineering tubular torsion bar type with adjustable arms. A racing type swaybar like this is better than a conventional OEM configuration bar because you can choose from many different rates quickly and easily.
|The rear suspension uses a mix of modified stock links, fabricated links and stock uprights. Some of the links have been replaced with fabricated parts that are adjustable with spherical bearings. Like the front, Penske 8760 shocks in custom height adjustable housings are used in the rear with Hyperco springs and HLC devices. You can also see the Speedway Engineering rear torsion bar type swaybar with adjustable arms.
Monday, June 24, 2013 6:23 AM
Great article as always. Quick question - 2nd page, 4th image (of the rear brakes) - is that the same car? Suspension looks different as does sway bar location.
P.S. Im hanging for an update on the R32 GTR
Monday, June 24, 2013 6:32 AM
Cool article - I like too that on the face of it, looking at the car's spec line someone could think it's pretty much stock, and miss all the little (or big) details of stuff done to it.
What's the deal with balance bar and hydraulic brake adjusters? I remember the Garage Revolution WTAC car looking like it did that too - is there some subtlety in difference in how they adjust bias or is it redundancy or what?
Monday, June 24, 2013 8:23 AM
Pretty certain this car was crashed at Detroit a few weeks back.
Monday, June 24, 2013 12:29 PM
Why remove the awd system? Weight? Simplicity? Proven parts? Series rules? Just curious.
Monday, June 24, 2013 2:52 PM
180sx0, the pictures were taken at two different events so the car changed a bit in between them. Kenku, a balance bar affects brake bias on a straight slope. The proportioning valve affects the bias at a knee point. The prop valve will tune the bias to consider weight transfer and helps a lot under low friction conditions like rain or when the suspension is softer.
Monday, June 24, 2013 3:28 PM
Can someone explain the brake ducts to me? I though that rotors were designed to move air from the center outwards. Why would the duct be connected to the perimeter of the rotor and the caliper? Is it JUST for caliper cooling?
Monday, June 24, 2013 4:44 PM
It is just for caliper cooling
Monday, June 24, 2013 8:20 PM
I think you sugar coated the article a bit. The car is 2-3 seconds of pace at every track. Has a couple years development now. As much suspension, tire, transmission, and engine as they need. They built it like the Vette they run. The Vette can win on any weekend, the GT-R, when it finishes, is near the back.
Monday, June 24, 2013 9:11 PM
Do you think it's a car issue or driver issue?
Monday, June 24, 2013 10:18 PM
tyndago is correct, I've got an inside man at Hawk and they were never happy with the platform. From what I hear, they weren't planning on continuing to campaign it unless it got substantially better quickly. My guess is after the accident in Detroit, they won't rebuild.
Monday, June 24, 2013 11:54 PM
They had a number of drivers in the car. Back in 2010, when they were the Brass Monkey cars, all wheel drive, and no development, they showed some signs of speed, but never had it. Then for 2012 and 2013, Mike Skeen, along with a number of other drivers have been in the car/cars.
Mike Skeen is fast. He has won some races in the Vette, and he finished 3rd in the championship in 2011. In 2012 he came out did a few races in the GT-R, and then ended up in the Vette before long. So if its him as a development driver, not being able to find what the platform needs, or if its just something with the platform, if you go at it long enough, with enough money, you can make it competitive. If you doubt that, just look at the Volvos, or the Cadillacs.
So I think if you get outside the template, some places just don't know what to do. Brass Monkey did real well with the 911 in World Challenge. CRP did well with the Vette. Neither was had much luck in the GT-R.
The series wants the car to do well. They will let those guys do what ever they need to do to bring the car up. Seriously, however they are just as disappointed at the results. Too many DNF.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:04 AM
So far this year with Tim Bell and Mike Skeen driving.
8th of 9 cars (the 9th place car crashed)5 seconds off pace
I think they are done with the platform.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:22 AM
I was thinking of working for the Brass Monkey Team to sort out the handling. Nissan Motorsports asked me but I was too busy with MotoIQ and Falken so I declined.
Even though this is a well built car you can tell that the car is much less developed and built on a lower budget than cars like the Kpax Volvo and the ACS Mustang that I have looked at before.
Cars like the 911 come pre developed from the factory and I think the same can be said for the Corvette.
I am sorta curious what I could have done on the program.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 10:39 AM
We are thinking/saying the same thing. Platform development is difficult. Not impossible. You can go out and do well with a new platform, just look at the GMG Audi R8's this year. James Sofronas is fast. He was in a Porsche 911, he is in a R8 this year and tearing it up.
Some of it this year for James is luck, and being in the right place at the right time (Johnny O'Connell at Long Beach blowing up on the last lap under caution). I know so far they were hit with weight, and I think a restrictor to try and slow the R8 down.
So back to the GT-R. It would actually be possible, to homologate the GT3 NISMO GT-R for World Challenge. The Mercedes is based on the GT3 rules. That car is pretty well developed, has support, but you still need a good driver/crew to be competitive. 2-3 seconds off pace is not competitive. The top 5-10 cars in a decent field, are normally all within about a second of each other.
Could you have helped? Sure its possible. It gets back to those budgets, what someone can spend on a car. Development. You can't have a mechanical failure at 40% of your races during a race season.
I am sure Nissan can't be that happy with the GT-R or the 370Z in World Challenge.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 11:10 AM
The A8 platform is pretty developed as well, it's been racing for awhile in other countries. Sometimes I get intimidated at what top level teams do, then I take a close look at how the setup are then I know I can help once I see the numbers.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:01 PM
Cool on the bias adjusters; may have to think about using that idea.
As for the GT-R and competitiveness... it seems weird to to me to run it as a RWD car in a series that has existent AWD cars, and allows as much modification as necessary to make something competitive. Going as a front engine rear drive car you're plunking the thing on the same sort of basic advantages and disadvantages as the Caddies, but without factory money. But that's just me, and I know it's easy to say that sort of thing from the sidelines.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 1:51 PM
^I agree. As soon as I read that it was converted to RWD I knew it wasn't competitive... The biggest reason for the GT-R's awesome performance is its AWD system, take that away and its just another heavy coupe