R32 Nissan Skyline Rocks Modern Race Cars at Bathurst, Prompts Official Investigation
The R32 was so powerful that officials are debating whether such power should ever be allowed again.
As Brad Sherriff's purpose-built R32 Nissan Skyline rocketed down Conrod straight during the Bathurst 12 Hour, fans cheered as he hit an officially timed 327 km/h (203 mph). Most GT3 cars hit around 280 km/h (174 mph) on the same straight. Sherriff's car was so fast that it's now prompted Motorsport Australia, the governing body behind the race, to open an official investigation into how much power a floorpan car (a race car built on a road car's chassis) can make.
It wasn't just the speed that caused Motorsport Australia to investigate, though. As Sherriff came up through a right hand turn, he crashed his monstrous R32 into the wall, damaging it enough to end its day in Bathurst. That crash, combined with the potentially record-breaking speeds, was enough for the MA to look into changing regulations to limit power on floorpan cars.
On Monday, February 5, just a few days after Sherriff's crash during the Bathurst 12 Hour on February 3, Sherriff received a call from the MA, informing him of its investigation. Sherriff took to Facebook to express his understanding for said investigation but that he has no interest in racing his Skyline anymore if power will be limited moving forward.
"It comes as no surprise to have just been contacted by someone from Motorsport Australia that I have much respect for… I understand the concerns with safety and complications with the speeds but when you are running a car based on a stock Nissan driven by a very ordinary driver trying to compete with space frame cars weighting much less against much more talented operators its a game that becomes unattractive to me."
For the most part, cars in the Sport Sedan class for the Bathurst 12 Hour are built on spaceframe chassis but Sherriff's isn't. Which gives his car a significant weight disadvantage. To make up for that, he needs big power, something he's become very good at making.
Sherriff told V8Sleuth that when he first bought the R32 Skyline from a friend, it was using the stock Nissan 2.5-liter block with a big turbocharger and an incredibly sudden power peak at around 6,000 rpm. According to Sherriff, it was the worst engine he'd ever driven. After multiple attempts to make more power and fix its torque curve, he reached the limits of the stock cast engine clock. So he had a single-piece billet aluminum block built, which was then able reliably make more than 1,000 horsepower. While the engine can typically run at 1,380 horsepower, Sherriff said it was running at 1,040 horsepower for the race in Bathurst.
Sherriff's monster R32 may have crashed out of the race and received the scrutiny of race officials but it won over the crowd, when it broke the Bathurst lap minimum time of 2:09.000. If the MA decides the R32 can't race again at its current power level, Sherriff said on Facebook that he'll repair the car and put it on display.
"I can assure you that this weeks priority at MA will mean that the car will be repaired and become a display piece in the shop."
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