Red Eye Garage visits T1 Race Development September 18 2013
Tucked away in a suburb of Dallas in a light industrial complex hides one of the most potent tuning shops in the world. Forget 800 horsepower supercars. Forget the 1000 horsepower Bugatti Veyron. Some of this shop's builds reach 1500 horsepower.
In the waiting area, a photo of the owner's GTR spitting flames on the dyno hints at the monstrous builds created here. Once inside, I met up with one of the sales reps named Andrew who took me on a tour of the shop.
This is Andrew's work area. Just looking at the office spaces, it is obvious that the employees here are gearheads themselves and are working here because they are passionate about cars. In the corner hangs an art print showing all the generations of the Nissan GTR. There is a matching print showing "50 significant Japanese cars". On top of the shelf is a collection of broken parts collected over the years.
Andrew walks me through a few of the broken parts. As he holds an input shaft that had its teeth sheared off, he cites the adage, "If you're not breaking parts, you're not trying hard enough."
It is not until you break parts that you find the limits of the parts. Once you identify the weak points, then you know what needs to be improved. A bent connector rod sits on the shelf, bent in multiple directions. The story was that it was caught just before it would have failed.
The shop has two sides to it. One side sells its line of fuel delivery and metering solutions branded Injector Dynamics. The other side works exclusively on the Nissan R35 GTR platform. We'll take you through the Injector Dynamics side first and then on to the build shop.
Injector Dynamics specializes in providing some of the most anally matched sets of injectors for various applications. Most injector tuners characterize the injectors for flow under a given voltage and injector pulse width. Injector Dynamics looks at flow rates for a range of voltages and a range of injector pulse widths. What this means is that the injectors are matched over all engine conditions. This translates to more even power across all cylinders and the ability to tune more aggressively. These are the injectors that they use in their 1500 horsepower builds.
From their shipping department, their injectors go to the far corners of the earth, from Dubai to Japan.
For the next part of the tour, I was led into a climate controlled room with parts bins lining the walls and a giant TIG welder tucked away in the corner. This is where the customer's engine come for work.
One of the technicians, Matt was working on a engine that was getting a refresh and a hotter set of cams.
On the bench is Matt's personal project, a CNC ported head for a LS series engine. He is going to drop the LS in his Lexus IS300. Every employee I came across had an obvious love for cars.
T1 Race Development also has various custom parts that they make for their builds. One of those parts is an air oil separator. When pistons fire, some of the combustion gases make their way past the piston rings and into the crank case. The pressure needs to be released, but if you just vent it to atmosphere, you lose a lot of oil in the form of oil mist. Nissan included an oil separator on the stock GTR to collect the oil and send it back to the sump and send the air back into the intake tract. However, at higher levels of boost, there is too much blow-by and a larger oil separator is needed.
In another bin was a set of custom exhaust manifolds and intake plumbing fitted with V-band clamps to handle the higher pressures.
Here is a testament to the ridiculous amounts of torque that these tuned GTR's can produce. A transaxle brace is required because the engine is strong enough to break the transaxle case in two. Here, a spare transaxle serves as a weld jig for making this brace. There is a second brace on the side of the transaxle that is not shown.
Engine blocks eagerly awaiting their spa treatment.
All sorts of performance parts on the shelves look like a candy store to a GTR enthusiast.
The tour moved on to the shop side of the building where a stable of GTRs are kept. The shop uses a Mainline Dyno that can record all engine parameters in addition to the horsepower and torque figures.
Customers ranging from athletes to surgeons from Denver to Dubai send their cars here to transform them into monsters.
The owner drives an R35 GTR of course, and this is his GTR. It is wrapped in satin grey.
Inside is a roll cage and a carbon fiber seat.
A set of Brembo carbon ceramic brakes provides the stopping power, and the Mickey Thompson drag radials put the power down to the ground.
Under the hood, 12 fuel injectors feed the 1500 horsepower beast.
A plaque finishes out the engine bay. Every car that leaves the shop receives one of these.
Matt explains the work that went into making a customer's custom intercooler. The revised intercooler setup has twice the cooling capacity as the OEM unit.
Asked if the GTR is a difficult car to work on, the techs unanimously said it was an easy car to work on. The engine comes out any time any work needs to be done on it, so there is plenty of access to everything. Their record time for an engine removal is under 2 hours. That doesn't sound easy to me at all, but I'll take their word for it.
Andrew showed me a trick titanium exhaust and let me pick it up to see how light it was. It felt like it was made of thin-walled aluminum tubing. I was impressed.
Tucked away in a corner is a destroyed block. The story behind this is a customer was racing one weekend and needed just a little bit more power to beat a twin turbo Lamborghini Gallardo and asked for a slightly more aggressive map. T1R said that he was already at the limit and didn't recommend doing anything more aggressive. The customer insisted and got his map. He ended up making some gains, but called again, needing just a little bit more. Again, T1R advised against it, but the customer insisted and got his map. Halfway down the drag strip, the engine let go, and here is the carnage that resulted. The customer took it in good stride, understanding the risks that he had taken and acknowledging that he was past the limits of the engine.
The guys that work here like to have fun every now and then and take their karts out to the local karting track.
Leaving the shop, I took a look at their hall of fame. They have plaques lining the wall from all sorts of cars featured in all sorts of magazines. This particular Acura Integra was Tony's previous drag car and was close to being the first to break into the 7's in the quarter-mile. They were shy of 7 seconds by several thousandths of a second. I can only assume that some of these 1500 horsepower monsters will soon make their way onto this wall.
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Connect with T1 Race Development at http://www.t1racedevelopment.com/