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Road Test: Nissan GT-R LM900 by Litchfield Motors
Our next chapter in the quest to find the ultimate sports car took us to Litchfield Motors, a family run business known for their friendly and efficient service. As specialists in the world of Japanese sports cars like Godzilla, commonly referred to as the Nissan GT-R, they are the place to be in the UK when you need GT-R tuning and service.
The owner, Iain, welcomed us for a day of Nissan GT-R brilliance at his farm located between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Situated in the backyard of the owner’s property, the company is capable of transforming your beloved GT-R into a powerful piece of machinery producing up to 900bhp and 1,080Nm of torque from the 3.8 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
At our disposal for the day was Iain’s personal GT-R, which acts as a demonstrator and test mule for future developments. The package is based upon an Aurora Flare Blue Pearl 2011/2012 Nissan GT-R, quite similar to the one we drove last November. The stock package inside this GT-R offers 530hp and 612Nm of maximum torque while the engine runs 0.90 bar via its turbos.
First of all, not all GT-R’s leaving Litchfield’s garage are powered up to 900bhp. Different power levels are available and the engine can be lifted to 570, 590, 600, 620, 750bhp or higher, but there is simply more to the development of the LM900 package than just power. The success comes from the tried and tested nature of their upgrades. The effectiveness of the parts is always first tested on their GT-R demonstrators.
Stage 1 already features a transformation of the car, not just in power terms but also in the drivability and smoothness of power delivery. Along with the six different stages Litchfield also offers the 2011 gearbox software for all pre-2011 GT-Rs. This must-have upgrade not only gives the owner fully adjustable launch control but also provides the driver with smoother gear changes and an all-round improved driving experience. The adjustable part includes changes to the fueling, ignition timing and variable valve timing, more to help big turbo cars create boost at idle.
The demonstrator we drove had up to 900bhp and 1,080Nm available at our right foot. The Brits achieved these figures by fitting a newly tuned engine in the front of the GT-R. This Sport engine is Litchfield’s initial engine designed to take circa 1,000bhp whilst maintaining OEM levels of refinement, oil consumption and reliability. The number of upgrades made to the engine are extensive. The overall list of changes includes new alloy pistons, improved engine rods, ported and polished cylinder heads and sport camshafts, but the specialist fitted a lot more ensuring upgrades do not intervene with the way the customer uses his car on a daily basis.
The installation of the Litchfield Sport engine also introduced new, larger Billet turbos, different turbo intake pipes, 1,100cc Bosch Injectors, a tuned fuel system using twin fuel pumps, Forge Motorsport Intercooler plus hard piping kit and Syvecs replacement engine management for live changes to the engine management. The 90mm Milltek full exhaust system with 321 stainless steel down pipes complements the package and delivers a distinct enhanced soundtrack, sharper throttle response alongside a slight weight gain of 7kg.
The power delivery of the engine is immediate throughout the rev range. The immense levels of torque provide neck-breaking lift offs. The wonderful four-wheel drive system is easily capable of delivering the massive increase of power to the road. The car itself increases your feeling of insecurity at first, not knowing when the explosion of power will hit the road. Once you feel it though some sort of reassurance pops up while respecting the sheer abilities of this beast and planting the levels of performance it has in your mind.
The handling and steering has also been taken into consideration. The UK specialist developed a brand new suspension kit exclusively with Bilstein and Eibach. The new kit has been designed to be fully compatible with all versions of Nissan’s GTR and is a ‘plug and play’ fitment, integrating with all factory electronics and combined with a custom rear anti-roll bar set up.
The kit reduces the car’s natural propensity to understeer, minimizes body roll and has a better steering accuracy. The most noticeable difference is the sheer comfort. The track setting is similar to the stock setup, but the comfort mode available via the switch on the center console is a major improvement over the stock suspension. The LM900 is simply the most comfortable GT-R we have ever driven without sacrificing the sportiveness of Godzilla. And that is quite an achievement!
The LM900 GTR rolls on Litchfield Nurburg 20 inch lightweight alloy wheels shod in Michelin Supersport tyres sizing 275/35/20 front and 305/30/20 rear. The tires have a 20mm wider footprint. Enhanced braking power is achieved using an Alcon Superkit. The kit consists of an advanced 400mm diameter two-piece floating front discs, which is a significant 20mm larger than the original Brembo units. For the rear, smaller six-piston billet calipers are mated to 385mm diameter discs, up from the standard 380mm.
Even though it is not an overly important part of their total offering, Litchfield is able to sell customers lightweight body parts. The LM900 tester had a dry carbon rear spoiler, carbon front lip spoiler with brake ducts and on the inside Iain’s men fitted Nismo Recaro carbon fiber seats shedding some additional weight of the total package.
The Nissan GT-R LM900 is in a league of its own. The extensive lineup of changes fitted to the 2011/2012 GT-R makes it a killer of many super- and sports cars out there, while being based upon an astonishing package build by a Japanese car maker also selling the Nissan Leaf. The LM900 showcases the sheer easiness of tuning a GT-R and bringing it up to a level where the performance enters the hypercar scene without touching the daily usage and the reliability.
The clear strength of Litchfield as a company is their constant investment in the latest equipment and facilities to ensure they can perform at the very highest standard. Their relationships with accomplished technical partners like Bilstein, Eibach, Forge Motorsport, Milltek and Dodson provide Iain’s team with the ability to develop their own co-developed parts and unique position in the tuning of Japanese and German sports cars.
These strengths are visible throughout their offerings and felt in the short time we drove their demonstrator. And after driving not one, but two different Litchfield GT-R’s we can clearly say that there is enough choice for customers opt tuning their GT-R. Depending on the available budget, they can choose different power levels and many other technical upgrades together with Iain’s team. The must-haves are the 2012 gearbox software update with driver adjustable launch control and the excellent suspension kit produced exclusively for Litchfield by Bilstein improving the levels of driving comfort without touching the excellent track capabilities.
While reading our story you may have missed exact sprint times and top speed figures. Unfortunately, those have not officially been released so far, but Iain has guaranteed us those will be made available quite soon. So stay tuned for more in the near future.
Special thanks to the Prescott Hill Climb!