Our Skyline R33 GTS-T

The Corby Motorsport Nissan Skyline showcases our range of products and allows us to test new products before we offer them to our customers. It is also bloody good fun to drive round any track!

The car started life with us as a lightly modified example the R33 Skyline GTS-T. It came with a T38 Stage 3 hybrid turbo, (unbranded) front mount intercooler, a large cone air filter and HKS big bore exhaust so probably making around 270bhp weighing roughly 1500 Kg including its standard interior. A cheap set of Daiyama coilovers and basic Jun body kit completed the package.

The Basic Goal

We wanted to add a bit more power but mostly concentrate on fitting lots of adjustable suspension parts to show that you don’t need to spend a fortune on silly bhp to get round a track quickly. We believe you just need to add suspension adjustability to maximise grip and traction so you can use the power you have properly.

So, we have not modified everything on the car at once preferring to evolve the car over time in the same way most of our fast road and track day customers modify their cars. We have built the most adjustable chassis we could within a reasonable budget to maximise the available grip and traction for a faster car without spending a fortune.

Extra Power

We have added a bit more power – around 400bhp now - and a clutch that can stand the abuse! Under the bonnet has been kept fairly simple for reliability. We just did the simple stuff like a Horsham Developments remap (piggy back board in ECU), fitted a Z32 AFM, bigger injectors and fuel pump and a rise in boost has released more power. We now have around 400bhp to play with. Not huge headline power but certainly enough to be more entertaining!

Suspension Modifications

The suspension was our main focus for this build hence a lot of parts have been upgraded within the suspension to give us as much adjustability and control body roll as much as possible. The reasoning behind this is that you can make a car significantly quicker just by improving the chassis. If you double the power but leave the suspension largely unchanged it will still corner only as quickly as it did before you doubled the power!

To this end we have installed……
  • BC Coilovers - BR Series (for simplicity) with ER Series spring rates and the optional race damping
  • Hardrace rear camber adjustable upper arms and rear adjustable traction rods
  • Driftworks HICAS removal kit – converts to adjustable rear toe
  • Cusco camber adjustable front upper suspension arms
  • Front strut brace – to reduce strut flex and maintain suspension geometry
  • Polybush bushes throughout
  • Uprated antiroll bars
  • Vibra Technics Engine and Gearbox Mounts
With the ability to adjust the camber and toe at the front and rear and with all the suspension bushes and engine mounts replaced with performance parts and strut towers braced to reduce any flex, the last thing on the list was a race spec geometry alignment.

The car now feels planted, body roll is almost non existent although we still have some wheel travel to soak up the bumps on some track. Grip and traction are much improved and the car feels like it will corner at any speed!

Brake Modifications

We killed off our old drift car (Nissan 200SX) factory brake system in less than 5 laps on our first trackday. With the Skyline weighing in at more than the 200SX we decided to go straight in with fitting a KSport Front Big Brake Kit with 356mm grooved rotors (which clean and refresh the brake pads on every application) fitted with Pagid RST3 pads which were performing well and becoming very popular in UK Time Attack cars as they come up to temperature very quickly and maintain perfect performance every time we hit the brake pedal. Not ideal on the road as in our experience they don’t get hot enough in normal everyday road use and hence are a bit on/off but warmed up for track use they give great feel and superb bite albeit they can be a bit noisy (brake squeal) in use. Ferodo DS2500 would be quieter but we felt we should give the RST3 a go and we are so impressed we will live with the noise! Braided brake lines at the front have been changed as they came in the KSport kit.

We have fitted Pagid RST3 rear pads in OE callipers at the rear as most braking is done at the front end and this set up has proven to work well for us. We did decide to test out the Optimum Balance bias pedal box they offer for the R33 and this has helped stabilise the braking action restoring the balance front to rear. The car brakes extremely well all day without suffering from brake fade.

Transmission Modifications

We have fitted a CG Motorsport clutch as there was no way the factory clutch was ever going to cope with the new torque output of the R33. We quoted the new bhp and torque output and they sent us the kit they recommended for those specifications. It’s a bit on or off to use but it doesn’t slip and the pedal is not too heavy so happy with that!

Our Skyline R33 GTS-T wears the factory LSD but you would never know it! This is one area we are very keen to improve as our R33 can loose traction in hairpin bends quickly converting forward motion to fire and brimstone as the inside tyre light up. We will fit a limited slip diff one day as we know from previous builds that is one of the best traction aids money can buy however, most of the tracks we use the suspension mods, geometry and sticky tyres negate the issue.

Bodyshell Modifications

For safety and lightness, we have added a full weld in roll cage with cross diagonals and door bars into a stripped out interior with just a single Cobra racing seat and Safety Devices 6 point harness.

How does it Go?

Bloody great thanks! The chassis is sorted with as much adjustability as we feel we need to make the most of the NangKang semis, the brakes don’t fade, car feels planted and corners very quickly and we did not have to spend a huge amount chasing big power to out performa lot of more expensive cars and builds. Job done we think!

So What Happened Then?

So we then made a few changes so the car stood out a bit and performed a bit better:
  • Fitted Rocket Bunny body kit - adds over 100mm in width for bigger wheels and tyres (arches needed significant modification for clearance)
  • Replaced bonnet, boot and doors with lightweight fibreglass versions
  • Replaced all windows (expect front) with Lexan versions
Yeah so that lot was expensive including the paint and new wheels to fill the bigger arches but the wider track and weight loss has in fact made quite a big difference to the car in terms of cornering performance, acceleration and braking!

Many thanks to all involved:
  • Rich Newton (initial build)
  • Devon Burns (fitting body kit and paint)
  • Northants Motorpsort (set up)
  • Track Tek (some engine work)