The WTCC champ had previously visited the respected tuner for an impressive 700bhp powertrain conversion to his Nissan GT-R, but with more talent at his disposal than the average petrolhead can muster, this clearly wasn’t enough for the ace wheelman. Naturally, the only way to scratch that particular itch was to return to Litchfield’s clinical HQ and turn the wick up a little more.
Incredibly, thanks to its know-how and experience, Litchfield had managed to safely produce 700bhp using much of the original engine architecture. However, this is widely regarded as the safe maximum for these components. The new engine package would address the main weakness in the standard engine, which are the connecting rods. These have been known to bend or break under high load. Litchfield’s neatly engineered riposte to this uses upgraded internals to replace the standard offering, providing more than enough strength to cope with up to 850bhp.
Litchfield specifies many of its own bespoke components for this upgrade including a custom forged piston set by Capricorn with new piston rings. Assembled with an ARP main stud bolt kit, before Litchfield’s techs have the engine internals and crank dynamically balanced, the whole unit is then assembled with brand new bearings, gaskets and seals. Fully warranted, the engine run’s through a thorough running-in period and cleanse, before being topped up with a carefully selected Motul fully synthetic oil.
Rob’s first incarnation of the 700bhp engine package also featured Litchfield’s own race intercooler package, as well as a wonderfully sonorous Akrapovic exhaust system. Having driven this car at ten-tenths for the last year, including a full-tilt trip to the fabled Nurburgring, the new engine would need to add a little more sparkle into proceedings. Thanks to the addition of a brace of Litchfield’s own manifolds and an intensive re-mapping session of the EcuTek software, the car was then able to move to the next level.
Once complete, the 850bhp package was finely honed in Litchfield’s state-of-the-art Maha MSR500 dyno cell. This hardware is the choice of manufacturers such as Porsche, Toyota Motorsport, BMW’s ‘M’ Division and the VW Group to name but a few, and is distinguished from its peers by the fact that the front and rear rollers aren’t directly linked, instead being motor-driven. This makes this dyno perfect for high-power cars that ‘shuffle’ power fore and aft during hard acceleration, like the GT-R does.
Although the power level for the new conversion was lifted to 850bhp, Litchfield had to carefully manage the engine’s torque output (especially at lower rpm) to keep the standard Nissan gearbox in one piece. This gives a lovely flat torque curve that steadily rises to 690lft. Now, the engine feels almost supercharged in its delivery with a constant and smooth increase in pull as it approaches the redline.
On completing his first road test on delivery, Rob was clearly elated with the improvement in performance. “This car is just sublime now,” he enthused. “There is so much more power there than before, and the car feels so much more responsive in every gear. It’s a fantastic package! The most impressive part of this conversion however is the balance between the immense power available at full throttle and the docility of its behaviour in normal driving. It’s still incredibly useable as a daily driver, but now simply stunning on an empty ‘B’ road or circuit.”
However no soon had Rob sampled his new engine power he got the urge to free it up a little further after meeting Dodson Motorsport owner Glenn Cupit at Litchfield. Litchfield are Dodson’s UK distributor and quickly completed a bespoke build to allow a new box to be completed with fully upgraded 1st to 6th gears with upgraded clutch and baskets. This new ‘box was expertly installed into Rob’s car. “With the upgraded box installed we could open the engine and turbos up further”- enthused Litchfield founder and managing director Iain Litchfield. “We still like to keep a nice flat torque curve to aid traction and drivability, but the power and torque increases significantly to 900bhp and 740lbft. Rob’s only a fuel system upgrade away from the magic 1,000bhp,” he said with a grin.
Happy to see Rob return to the fold, Iain added, “Rob’s a great example of why we future-proof all of our engine conversions, and leave plenty of margin for safety at each level. It means that if a customer comes to us for a performance package, and then would like to further augment it down the line, there are always cost-effective options to help them realise that goal. All of our engine engine conversions are very versatile, and if they can keep a driver of Rob’s calibre happy, I think we must be doing something right.”
For Information on Rob Huff www.robhuff.com
For more details on Litchfield engines http://www.litchfieldimports.co.uk/Nissan-GTR/nissan_gtr_engine
Dyno Information http://www.litchfieldimports.co.uk/dyno/information