Nissan GT-R: India's fastest drag car!
It’s 4am as I wait for Nirmeet the shutterbug to turn up, the cold air has breached my hoodie and put me in a grumpy mood. I hate early morning wake up calls. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best time to head out for a drive, but the novelty of waking up at an ungodly hour is lost on me because as a motor noter, this is usually the time you’d find us heading out for shoots or catching flights. But today is different, and my grumpiness gave way to an unusually chipper smile as I saw the silver silhouette roar past me on the other side of the highway. 20 seconds later, that silver silhouette has negotiated a U-turn and has stopped dead in front of me. Imran Majid has coolly turned up in what is India’s fastest Nissan GT-R. I suddenly don’t hate 4am so much.
Before I go overboard with the superlatives, I have to put on my journalist’s hat and provide you with some perspective. I turned up to hook up with this TUNED Nissan GT-R in our long-term Hyundai i20 N Line. The peppy little turbo-petrol makes 118bhp and is a hoot to drive. The GT-R? It makes power equivalent to 10 of those. Gulp. That’s 1100+bhp and a quarter-mile time of 9.7 seconds, making it the fastest time ever at the Valley Run drag races. And by the time you read this, it has beaten it's own record, decimating a quarter-mile at full chat in a blistering 9.2 seconds! Just ogling at this JDM legend has my mind going into a tizzy – this is as close to real life Fast and Furious as you can get.
No time to waste then. Nirmeet and his friend Jash whip out their cameras and get on with the business of papping the GT-R as we head to a spot that Nirmeet reckons will get us our hero shot. I’m tailing the GT-R, the taps not yet opened up by Imran so we can bag our pictures, and I cannot help but be tongue-tied at the sight of the JDM legend. The GT-R might not be as seductive as a Porsche 911, but it is a revered shape nevertheless. The front of this particular example gets naked carbonfibre for the fenders and the bumpers as well as the bonnet, and contrasting with the rest of the silver bodywork, it gives off a vibe you don’t normally associate with heavily modded builds. Honesty.
This is a car that is used every day, often running on the same Toyo Proxes R888R competition tyres that helped it set a blistering quarter-mile time at the Valley Run, and it makes no apologies for it. The bassy note of the exhaust just about flies under the radar of even the most enthusiastic cop and the car looks, sounds and feels every inch a JDM fanboy’s wet dream. There are plenty of stickers too, the one saying ‘Wildchild’ being the most eye-catching of them all, and it’s impossible to miss it, a helpful trait, considering that even with a small flex of the accelerator, Imran leaves me behind in the dust.
There’s a reason behind the reverence that the GT-R commands. The 3.8-litre VR28DETT V6 is a seriously capable mill that can put out large horsepower outputs reliably. Imran tells me that the engine continues to make use of the standard block and heads, but apart from that, this engine has been fully built out ― and it still has room for extracting more power. Imran tells me that this was the first-ever GT-R to be imported into the country way back in 2008, and he was lucky to be one of the first ones to see the car being unloaded at the port back then. Incidentally, the same car happened to land at Kikshift, a performance shop that Imran runs in Mumbai along with his friends Keki Modi and Hormazd Siganporia, and Imran knew he just had to have that car. It was already heavily modded and only being used for highway runs. Imran tells me that with its immaculate condition, he had only two ways to get the car from the previous owner. “Either I could frighten the daylights out of him, tell him the car is a goner. But I chose the second option and told him ‘Boss, I really like the car, and really want to have it.’ Luckily the chap was very kind!”
Imran proceeds to tell me that this build has been an ongoing one for nearly 10 years now, and all that power is largely down to the efforts of Alphalogic Performance in Dubai. The GT-R now gets beefier pistons, new camshafts, 1800cc fuel injectors and an upgraded fuel pump system to match. Alphalogic Performance actually did their R&D for their GT-R performance upgrades on this car, with the original engine being stroked to 4.1-litres at one point to see the performance gains. That was not the most fruitful of efforts, and Imran’s car has received an engine swap while being tuned to run on bio-ethanol, the percentage of the fuel mixture allowing the GT-R to break the 1000bhp barrier. The heat shield is lined with gold plating too (think McLaren F1), to dissipate heat more effectively!
With great power you also need the components to handle it safely, and the transmission gear set as well as the clutch plate were replaced for purpose-built units from Dodson. “The team from Alphalogic Performance really came through with the build, they even overnighted parts when I needed them for a race,” says Imran. Expert tuner Rob Harper came through with the tune in a jiffy too, and with some of the best names in the business working on the GT-R, Imran was assured of its awesome performance. The latter I’m promptly reminded of as Imran makes a mischievous pull in the parking lot we’re shooting at, forcing us to beat a hasty retreat before the heat is onto us. Good thing that the GT-R is an ideal getaway car then.
We haven’t yet bagged all the shots we need so we proceed to roar towards town. Imran is clearly chuffed with his little misdemeanour, and even with me lead-footing it in our long-termer and trying to keep a respectable pace, the GT-R flies by like I’ve been standing still. That’s what it must’ve felt like to face a humiliating defeat at the Valley Run up against this road rocket. Having had a peek into the interior earlier, I can visualise Imran’s POV as he blitzes past traffic, in the typically Japanese cabin. There are scores of buttons on the centre console, which never seemed to leave the ’90s, there’s all manner of geeky information on display that would make a rookie pilot uneasy ― there’s even a CD player for crying out loud. But I sense Imran is paying heed to none of that as he snakes past whatever little traffic is present at a considerable clip, cocooned in the Kirkey drag racing seat made of aluminium.
After driving through the Bandra-Worli sea link, a drive that was dispatched with speed and ease, Imran enlightens me on his Valley Run experience. His GT-R was running a completely street setup without any weight reduction. Imran tells me that for his 9.7-second record run, he had to sacrifice outright speed and focus more on the launch to achieve a perfect launch with the car squatting on its rear wheels in the pictures. "I actually lifted off the throttle at 350 metres, because the front end of the car was getting too light and felt like it wanted to take off!”
Imran isn’t a stranger to fast cars, one of his other rides is an equally-epic E60 BMW M5, but it’s the GT-R that he warms up to so much more. “This car, it’s the perfect reflection of my personality,” he says, proudly pointing to the Wildchild decals. And while I didn’t dare to tame the monster, I couldn’t help but be in awe, sitting in the driver’s seat in the middle of a desolate parking lot with the desire of playing real life Tokyo Drift with Imran’s ‘Imzilla’. I resisted the urge to rev it and listen to the 1100bhp that had got me out of bed that morning in the first place. Because had I given into my desire, this 9-second GT-R would’ve taken me for a wild ride!