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The Love of the Game


This month’s cover story is about the journey of a young man and his beloved Silvia, the very car he’s held the keys to since his days as a university student in Australia. He’s spent many days at the track with his S15 during his time there and it’s because of the many excursions at the track that Kenji and his Silvia now share a very special bond; a bond that can be likened to the kind of connection that only a grown man and his old childhood friend can share.

This very Silvia has actually appeared in our pages once before but back then, it still sported mostly standard bodywork and it had white paintjob, looking like a virgin bride in her innocent and pure white wedding dress, waiting to be deflowered. Nearly two years on, the bride has been well and truly ravaged and she looks all the better for it, having grown more curvaceous around the hips and updated her wardrobe with this tight and sexy red dress.

The story of Kenji and his Silvia started when Kenji sold his R32 GTS-T to get something a little nimbler and newer. Having been bitten hard by the trackday bug, Kenji needed something that would handle better and have better aftermarket support, so the S15 was the natural choice for a fresh university graduate on a budget. Being the car nut that he is, Kenji soon started splurging his hard earned cash on the S15, turning it into a track ready road warrior that would serve double duty as his daily driver and weekend trackday plaything. And he’s never once looked back ever since.

Months of trackdays and S15 ownership soon turned to years and the list of performance parts on the Silvia began to grow, along with the size of the turbo and the power figures. But it wasn’t until both Kenji and his Silvia returned home from Aussie that things began to get really serious.

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Upon returning home, Kenji landed a good paying job in a reputable company and needless to say, the big corporate bucks began rolling in. With the newfound cash flow, power was upgraded to about 430hp with a Garrett GT28RS turbo which proved to be exceptionally reliable at the track and it stayed like this for a fair bit. Kenji loved thrashing his S15 at the track and was clocking respectable 2m36s lap times on Advan AD07 street tyres, but it still wasn’t enough for the power crazy track junkie, as he had plans to make it even faster, louder, and scarier.

When we featured Kenji’s Silvia the first time back in Volume 87, it had already been upgraded quite a fair bit by Garage R and Onward Motorsports and the SR20DET packed a very respectable 520hp at the wheels thanks in large part to a HKS GT2835R turbo, which was accompanied by more aftermarket suspension components than you could shake a stick at. It also had a Nismo LSD that would click and clack at every turn and the rock hard suspension and piercingly loud exhaust made sure that only the most dedicated of passengers could last more than 30 minutes in the tight Bride bucket seat. I loved what Kenji had done to his Silvia back then, focusing on function rather than form.

But love and life soon got in the way and things with Kenji and his Silvia would have to take a back seat as wedding bells began to ring. But once the deed had been done and the rings and vows were exchanged, things for the Silvia began to change, and in a big way. I was especially surprised at what Kenji did next.

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I thought Kenji’s Silvia was pretty complete already. It had a totally built SR20 good for 500 reliable horsepower, a great suspension setup which could be set for grip or drift, mouth watering JDM branded parts everywhere; it was a wet dream come true for the JDM car nuts. But not for Kenji, he wanted more and he had goals to achieve. Kenji was a man on a mission.

Kenji had his ‘ichigo’ sent down to Garage R in Singapore where the car was stripped completely. The S15 had every component removed and the bare shell was even put on a chassis rotisserie so that it could be rotated upside down, allowing easy access to every nook and cranny of the S15 body shell. Stripped down to the bare metal, Kenji’s S15 was spot welded for extra rigidity, then generous coats of lovely red paint were slathered on, covering every inch of the S15’s now refreshed body shell.

The main reason behind this drastic shell stripping and painting exercise was that Kenji wanted to improve on other areas of the car to make it a true time attack machine. The powertrain and suspension had mostly been sorted out and the only weak link was the chassis. With a stiffer, spot welded chassis, the suspension could now hold its geometry better allowing for better handling and stability through the turns. Additionally, the chassis reinforcement work performed on Kenji’s Silvia was based on what was done to Nobuteru Taniguchi’s HKS Genki RS2 Silvia drift car.

With so much work done to the chassis, Kenji also decided on a Vertex Ridge widebody conversion for his beloved Silvia, allowing the car to have a wider track for better stability and more grip. To fill up those arches, Kenji had to run spacers and he regularly swaps between two sets of wheels; gorgeous SSR Professor SP1 wheels for the street, Volk Racing RE30 wheels for the track.

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With the bodywork done, all of the components were reinstalled with a few extras here and there, just to make the already highly stressed engine more reliable. The car had been having issues such as a cracked exhaust manifold and minor fueling issues, but that’s to be expected from a highly strung engine like this. Coupled with a driver who’s got a heavy right foot like Kenji’s, it’s a wonder the SR20DET hasn’t blown itself apart yet.

Kenji’s ultimate goal with his Silvia is to create a street car that could perform well on the racetrack, much like the legendary Mine’s R34 GT-R and RE-Amemiya’s RX-7. Believing in the concept of ‘total balance’, Kenji has made sure that every aspect of the car works in harmony with each other to create a truly balanced car which performs well anywhere, be it the track, a mountain pass or the highway, and I truly believe that he has achieved that. It’s hard to believe, but the car still retains every creature comfort one would expect from a street car, such as a fully functioning sound system (which, unbelievably, manages to make itself heard over the loud exhaust) and air conditioning. Unbelievably, the air conditioning system still blows ice cold air from the vents despite having to contend with the heat generated by the 530bhp SR20DET in the engine bay.

With so much work done to his Silvia, Kenji couldn’t wait to put all his new additions to the test and entered himself and his Silvia in zerotohundred.com’s ‘Time to Attack’ time attack event. It’s quite obvious that the mods done to the Silvia have helped a fair bit with the car’s performance, as Kenji’s best time at Sepang is now 2m26.3s (on Advan A050 tyres), a new SIC record for FR-layout cars on semi slick tires.

To sum up, I think Kenji has got it right when it comes to tuning a car. I have yet to see a Silvia, or any car for that matter, which has been built to such exacting standards. Some cars are all bodykit with no performance, whilst others can go really quick in a straight line but fall all over themselves in the turns. Kenji’s Silvia truly does exemplify what it means to build a balanced car. It’s got the power, it’s got the looks and it definitely has the performance, but what impresses the most is how well everything works with each other in perfect harmony, achieving that elusive goal of total balance.

Engine
ARC Titanium Twin Cam Cover, ARP Main Studs, ATI Super Damper (Main Pulley/Harmonic Balancer), Billion Super Funnel Cold Air Intake, Cosworth Head Studs, CUSCO Engine Mounts, Earl’s Flame Guard, Garage Defend GT Cooling Panel, HKS 1.2mm Head Gasket, HKS 680cc Top Feed Injectors, HKS Adjustable Exhaust Cam Gear, HKS Camshafts, HKS Forged Pistons, HKS Garage R Air Intake Piping, HKS, Garage R Battery Tray Replacement, HKS Garage R Carbon Fibre Airbox, HKS Garage R Front Pipe, HKS Garage R Intercooler Piping, HKS Garage R Turbine Heat Shield, HKS Garage R SPL Rocker Cover (Candy Red), HKS GT2835R Turbine, HKS GT Exhaust Manifold, HKS GT Wastegate, HKS Hi-Power Exhaust, HKS Super Fire Racing, M45i Spark Plugs, HKS Super Power Flow Reloaded Air Intake, HKS Twin Power DLI-II, Hypertune Throttle Body, Hypertune Intake Manifold, Hypertune Twin-Entry Top-Feed Fuel Rail, Kakimoto Racing Straight Pipe, Kazama Auto Cross-flow Oil Catch Tank, NISMO Conrod Bearings, NISMO Low Temp Thermostat, NISMO Main Bearings, Okada Projects Plasma Direct Ignition Coil Packs

OMS Full Race Engine Build
OMS Intake Manifold Support Brace, OMS N1-spec High Pressure Oil Pump, ORC Power Steering Reservoir, ProTune Braided Lines & Fittings, SARD 5L Fuel Collector Tank, SARD Fuel Pressure Regulator Type-RJ, SARD Twin 265L/h Fuel Pumps for Fuel Collector Tank, Synapse Engineering Synchronic Blow-off Valve, Tomei Fuel Pump, Tomei N2 Oil Block, Tomei Reinforced Conrod Bolts, Tomei Rocker Arm Stopper, Tomei Type-B Dual Valve Springs, Retainers & Spring Seats, Trust/GReddy Baffled Engine Oil Sump, Trust/GREX Oil Filter Relocation Kit, URAS Crank Angle Sensor Cover

Brakes
Billion Brake Cooling Ducting, Cusco Brake Master Cylinder Stopper, Dixcel 355mm 2-piece Racing Brake Rotors with HKS Garage R Aluminium Hats, Endless 6-Piston Brake Calipers, Endless RF-650 Racing Brake Fluid, Endless Braided Brake Hoses, Nissan R34 GT-R Brake Master Cylinder, Project Mu Brake Reservoir Cover, Project Mu SCR Brake Rotors (rear), R33 GT-R Brembo Twin Piston Rear Brake Calipers, Seidoya N1 brake pads

Cooling
ARC Heat Exchanger, ARC Aluminium Radiator, AS Mori high-flow water pipe, Billion Brake Cooling Ducting, CERAMICO coating for Exhaust Manifold & Turbine, HKS Type-R Intercooler, HKS Type-R Oil Cooler, Samco Sport Silicon Hoses, SARD Breather Tank

Engine Control & Electronics
DEFI Super Sports Cluster, HKS EVC V Boost Controller, HKS F-Con V Pro, HKS F-Con V Pro Launch Control, HKS F-Con V Pro Mixture Controller, HKS Turbo Timer, Racelogic Video VBOX Lite – Data & Video Logging by AXIS Racing

Transmission
C’z Quickshift, CUSCO Shift Lever Collar, Earl’s Braided Clutch Hose, NISMO GT LSD Pro, NISMO 6-Speed Transmission, NISMO Reinforced Clutch Pivot, NISMO Super Coppermix Twin Plate Clutch with Lightweight Flywheel, OMS Race Differential Mounts, Trust/GReddy Rear Diff Cover, URAS Gearbox Mount

Suspension
HKS Hipermax III Super Sport Race-spec Suspension, Ikeya Formula Adjustable Rear Camber Upper Arms, Ikeya Formula Adjustable Toe Control Rods, Ikeya Formula Pillowball Tension Rods, Ikeya Formula Roll Center Adjuster Front Lower Arms, Ikeya Formula Roll Center Adjuster Rear Lower Arms, Ikeya Formula Strengthend Tie Rod Ends, Ikeya Formula Strengthened Tie Rods, Ikeya Formula Traction Adjuster Rods, NISMO Rear Axle Bushes, NISMO Steering Rack Bushes, NISMO Swaybars (Front & Rear)

Chassis
Carbing Aluminium Floor Support Bars, CUSCO Strut Braces, Do-Luck Floor Cross Brace, HKS RS-2 spec Chassis Strengthening by HKS Garage R, NISMO Power Brace, OMS Race Subframe Spacers, Tanabe Sustec Underbraces, Yashio Factory Oka-chan Tension Rod Support

Wheels & Tyres
18″ Volk Racing RE30 Rims for Circuit, 18” SSR Professor SP1 Rims for Street, Advan A050 Semi-slick Race Tyres, Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Street Tyres

Interior
BRIDE Floor Mats, BRIDE LowMax Seat Rails, BRIDE Zeta III Bucket Seats, CUSCO Spin-turn Handbrake Button, HKS Garage R Carbon Fibre Rear Bulkhead Separator, HKS Garage R Carbon Fibre Trim, HKS Garage R Fire Extinguisher System, Nardi Deep Corn 350mm Steering Wheel, NISMO Clutch Pedal Bracket, NISMO GT Titanium Gear Knob, OMS Battery Relocation Kit, Takata MPH-340R 4-point Racing Harness, Works Bell RapFix GTC, Works Bell Short Steering Boss Kit

Exterior
Aerocatch Bonnet Lock, APR Performance Carbon Fibre Front Wind Splitter, Carstudio D-Max D1 Spec Carbon Fibre Bonnet, Ganador CF Super Mirror, HKS Garage R Carbon Fibre Front Splitter, NISMO Clear Side Indicators, SARD Fuji Spec-M GT-wing, Vertex Ridge Widebody Conversion, Wise Square LED Tail Lights

ICE
Alpine CDA-9887 Head Unit, Alpine V12 4-Channel Amplifer, Audison Audio Cables, JL Audio TR600 Coaxials (rear), JL Audio VR600 CSi Splits (front)

Shout out of thanks to the following partners who made this project possible:-

HKS Technical Factory Singapore, Garage R
www.hks-garager.com.sg

Onward Motor Sports (OMS)
www.onwardmotorsports.com

SAMURAI RACING
No. 15 & 17, Jalan PJS 1124, Bandar Sunway
Tel: 03-5637 2888

AXIS Racing
www.axisracing.com.sg

Text: Mark
Photos: CK Fun