When Quinsley Sale first picked up this R35 Nissan GT-R, he was a little disappointed. The heavier, larger R35 did not provide the punch he was accustomed to with the R34 GT-R which had given him so much pleasure. So, he turned away from some of his other Nissan racing cars and, using his understanding of aerodynamics and racing network, committed himself to sculpting the heavyset R35 to meet his lofty racing standards. Fast forward five years, and the car, now known as Vader VI for obvious reasons, is one of the fastest machines to grace the Simola Hillclimb.
Sale, who runs Garage Kiu, produced what is arguably the meanest looking Nissan GT-R in all of hillclimbing. No wild body kit looking to draw the eye of the car show fan here, but instead a carefully crafted aero kit allow this heavyweight to corner with the agility of a much lighter machine. Much of that is due to the 1,760 pounds of downforce produced by those angular canards and the participation of an F1 aerodynamicist.
Increasing Downforce Without Drag
This means drag is merely doubled, while the downforce number is seven times greater than that of the factory car. Just watch at how committed Sale is into most corners; throwing the GT-R in with total confidence. Thanks to that aero grip combined with the stability and reassurance provided by the four wheel-drive system, he can get on the throttle much earlier than one might think.
That application is even more impressive now that the VR38DETT spits out 800 horsepower at the wheels, allegedly. Sale is quite cagey about the specifics of the tuning done, but seeing the way it carries speed in the fastest sections, those figures are totally believable.
The Perfect Handling Balance
The most interesting part of this setup is the suspension setup. Judging by the roll and pitch of the car visible from the footage, the Nissan GT-R has been kept soft enough to handle the uneven surface of the Simola Hillclimb’s course; a frequently-traveled road outlining a golf course. Going by how comfortable Sale is with flooring the throttle, even when the car is yawing slightly at higher speeds (0:26), the setup is just about perfect.
Meanwhile, the wings need a stable aero platform onto which to do their work. Somehow, Sale found the ideal compromise between compliance and stiffness to ensure consistent airflow over the elements. With the perfect aero balance, incredible mechanical grip, and gobs of power, this four wheel-drive monster looks like one of the most reassuring cars to ever fly through this South African course.