Whenever you see a pignose bumper adorned with a GT-R badge, there’s some fun in store. It’s amazing to see what abuse people are willing to put themselves through, but it seems that this glutton for punishment coaxed 600 ponies out of Nissan’s forgotten CA18DET.
While the SR20DET really stole the spotlight from its older, flimsier sibling, the 1.8-liter mill has been shown to have the potential to make some power. It’s just not often that it powers a narrow-tired, wailing banshee of a hillclimb car.
Set at Ayent Anzere, a small village in canton of Valais, Switzerland, this narrow, but relatively-smooth hillclimb allows for some pretty incredible machinery to pass through. Winner of the 2016 event was Eric Berguerand in a FA99, whose efforts we’ve lauded before, but this time its a humbler car which grabs our attention. “Humble” might not be the right way to describe a tail-happy monster like this, but it’s certainly no million-dollar build.
It’s relatively simple, in fact. Using bigger cams, a massive, externally-wastegated turbocharger and a custom manifold, there’s little about this engine that could be called refined. When the power comes on, it comes on in one big wallop, which tends to overwhelm the rear tires even when the car is absolutely straight. Adding to the challenging nature of this beast is the rapid-fire pumping needed to keep the sequential gearbox in the appropriate gear.
As in typical S-chassis fashion, the car is nimble but lacks much rear grip. Nevertheless, owner and driver Valentin Gard is blessed with a set of quick hands and an affinity for opposite lock. He keeps the unruly tail under his control at all times, and gives drifters looking to expand their motorsport horizons some major motivation.