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Coco's Loco Moto: 2012 Nissan GT-R

Just who is “Coco,” anyway? Born Francisco Zurita in his hometown of Santiago, Chile, Coco is not only giving Ms. Chanel a run for her money with the popularity of their shared nickname, but is also BMX’s best park riders with their shots at championship standings and world recognition. He has competed in 11 X Games, earned Rider of the Year honors in the 2010 Dew Tour series, won the BMX World Championships in 2013, become the first rider ever to land a triple tailwhip, and shocked crowds wherever he goes with a fast, smooth style that regularly has him airing 12 feet above a vert ramp.

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He’s also into cars, as evidenced by this 700 hp, Road Race Engineering-built, Pandem-flared, RWD-converted, Nitto Tire-equipped, Nissan R35 GT-R.

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Why a GT-R?

Ignoring the fierce online debates that this claim will spawn: If there was one group of attainable, production cars that have proven themselves superior for racing endeavors like time attack and drifting, it would be those of Japanese manufacture. And sitting atop the list is the Nissan GT-R. But that’s not to insinuate that Coco’s first foray into the four-wheeled world started here. He’s been a gearhead a long time, and his garage in Santiago is home to a modded Toyota 4Runner and his “bae,” a 1973 Dodge Charger SE.

Upon moving to the States and working his way up to California action sports hero from salesman in Dallas, Coco’s first car was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, followed by an EVO X which he modified and raced to podium finishes in various time-attack campaigns. But after a few years behind those wheels, and after finding a hell of a deal on a 15K-mile-used GT-R in Chicago in 2014, Coco flew out, drove it back to California and began the next chapter of his story on four wheels.

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First Impressions

Mildly modified and with around 530 whp on tap soon after he bought it, the GT-R was the fastest car Coco had owned at the time, and proved itself to be a whole different animal from his EVOs. He drove it regularly and raced it in some time-attack events early on, but after experiencing his first Gumball Rally later that year (and the joys of friendly highway pulls against six-figure exotics, we suspect), along with noting the still-rising popularity of drifting, his interests changed and he decided to take things in a slightly different direction.

Coco’s EVO years introduced him to Road Race Engineering (RRE) in Santa Fe Springs, California, builders and tuners of more than a few very fast and winning Japanese performance projects over the years. Once he decided on a direction for his GT-R, he turned the go-fast gurus loose on it and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. #CZGTR77 was born.

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Brass Tacks

GT-Rs are big, even compared to their full-size Japanese predecessors. But something magical happens when a tuner adds even more girth to a GT-R’s fenders; instead of looking bulky or bloated, its widened stance comes across strikingly more athletic and aggressive than stock. Such is the case with Coco’s GT-R, which looks like it would fit right in among a stable of GT-class race machines with its full Pandem body kit (consisting of fender flares, front bumper and lip splitter, rear diffuser, side skirts and optional GT wing).

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Filling those widened arches are a set of 20x11” and 20x12” front and rear (respectively) Volk Racing TE37 forged monoblocks in the Tra-Kyoto — recommended offsets, shod in ultra-sticky Nitto Tire NT01 and NT555 rubber. Stopping duties are thanks to stock-sized (can you believe it? Huge!) Project Mu discs and pads, while the whole thing stays perfectly planted by way of KW Variant III coilovers and Whiteline sway bars.

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Nissan GT-Rs were introduced in 2009 with “only” an official 480 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, but these days it’s relatively easy to extract a reliable 700 hp from them through the employment of quality bolt-ons and fuel upgrades, a capable tuner and EcuTek programming. Coco’s GT-R breathes through a GReddy Intake Suction Kit, front-mount intercooler kit, intake manifold and 94 mm titanium Supreme exhaust, with some help from Circuit Sports along the way (see spec sheet). It’s not the most power ever made by a GT-R, but it’s pretty damned fast for street/track duty.

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But Wait! There’s More

One of the coolest features of the Nissan GT-R is its rock-solid AWD drivetrain. But since it takes a hell of a lot of power to make an AWD GT-R on NT01s go sideways — and since Coco really wanted to hop on the drifting train — he had the RRE crew disable the feature and engage RWD full-time. The car still retains its dual-clutch automatic transmission and OEM handbrake, but that so far hasn’t kept Coco from drifting, as shown in more detail in our coverage of a recent track day with Donut Media and friends.

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In the few short years since Coco bought his GT-R, he’s racked up over 15,000 miles on its odometer, showing just how hard it’s been for him to stay out of those Sparco EVO 2 seats and from behind its custom Vertex wheel. His plans for the future include more drifting, road rallies and daily driving, with an even bigger round of top-secret mods and more power planned for the near future. And as soon as we know more, we’ll be sure to spill the beans to all of you.

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Tuning Menu

2012 Nissan R35 GT-R #CZGTR77

OWNER Francisco "Coco" Zurita
HOMETOWN Santiago, Chile
ENGINE GReddy Intake Suction kit, front-mount intercooler, RX intercooler piping (custom-painted by California Coating Team), dual blow-off valves; RX intake manifold, 94mm titanium Supreme exhaust; Circuit Sports front pipe; 800cc fuel injectors, upgraded fuel pump; EcuTek tuning by Road Race Engineering
EXTERIOR Pandem full kit (front bumper, front lip splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, fender flares, GT wing); Seibon carbon fiber hood; Spyder Auto taillights; 10 Designs Inc. gold/black vinyl wrap and livery; James Haunt custom-painted rear wing
INTERIOR BBI custom roll-cage, custom-painted by California Coating Team; Sparco Evo 2 seats, four-point harnesses; Vertex steering wheel; Works Bell quick-release hub
SUSPENSION KW Variant III coilovers; Whiteline front and rear swaybars
BRAKES Project Mu front and rear rotors, pads; custom caliper paint by California Coating Team
WHEELS Volk racing TE37 wheels 20x12 (front) and 20x11 (rear)
TIRES Nitto Tire NT01 285/35R20 (front); Nitto Tire NT555 285/35R20 (rear)

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If you're in love with Coco and his GT-R as much as we are, then you definitely want to check out more photos from the track day with Donut Media in the gallery below.

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