An Unexpected Contender: Peter’s Time Attack Nissan 240SX
When people think of the Nissan 240SX, they think of one thing: drifting. From Formula Drift to the local parking lot, people have been sending these cars sideways for as long as they have been selling them. So when looking for a new vehicle to compete in our Driver Battles series, we weren’t expecting to ever see one of these classic drift machines, but that’s exactly what happened.
Looking back at everything, why not? You need power to both break traction and run fast times, and despite what casual fans may think, drifting requires a ton of control, much like time attack driving. The nose may be pointed in a slightly different direction, but the basic elements of a great motorsports car are still there.
For Peter, buying his 1989 S13 was about more than just finding an underappreciated time attack car. “My heart has always been with drifting and the 240SX,” he said. Like so many other drivers on our show, he bought the car he had always loved. Except, unlike our other drivers, he was able to get his car for $600. Talk about a steal.
That was three years ago. Since then, he’s given the car a whole host of time-attack-focused upgrades, which we’ll walk you through now.
Starting with the engine, Peter made the upgrade so many others have: an SR20DET swap. While that may be pretty typical for an import time attack setup, modifying it to run E85 fuel, isn’t. Peter is the first of our contestants to run ethanol. Will it give him an advantage? Attached to his SR20 is a Garrett GT2871R turbo. He also added an AEM Series 1 Engine Management System to squeeze as much as possible out of his new engine and turbo.
Altogether, his setup puts out 370hp to the wheel. That, combined with the fact that it only weighs 2600 lbs, makes this surprising competitor a formidable opponent.
Rear-End, Suspension and Brakes
The differential has been upgraded to a Carbonetics 1.5-way, while the 4.08 gears have been left stock. Peter also added Ohlins PCV coilovers to help it keep up its speed in the corners. In place of the old brakes are Brembo GT brakes and PFC 11 compound pads.
Running on Nittos
Of course, he couldn’t keep the wheels and tires stock, so he added Volk RE30 wheels wrapped in Nitto NT01 tires. Not to give away anything, but at the end of the day, he said that his setup with the NT01s was at least one to two seconds faster than his previous setup.
Aero for Speed
It’s tough to put down fast times at Chuckwalla without some aero, and Peter made sure to give himself the necessary upgrades. Attached to the front is an APR front splitter and to the rear is an APR GTC-300 wing. He has aero, power and weight on his side, but will it be enough?
The interior has seen race-focused improvements, too, with a Sparco Competition R383 steering wheel, Defi multi-meter display, Recaro Pole Position bucket seats and a custom cage by Heliarc Works.
All told, this is one of the most interesting time attack cars we’ve seen. We love builds that break convention, and a drift car made to compete in time attack definitely fits the bill. Forget what everyone else tells you about how you have to drive a 240SX. This car is built for speed and has a driver who knows how to unleash it.