Following in your big brother’s footsteps is a daunting task at the best of times, let alone when that brother is ‘NITTO’ — the notorious lightning yellow R34 GT-R capable of running nines down the quarter-mile. But this was the exact task Mercury Motorsport’s 1044kW (1400hp) BNR32 GT-R, ‘NITTO II’, was built to do.
The car’s owner, Trent Whyte, is a seasoned driver in Australian motorsport, having competed in numerous disciplines, including World Time Attack Challenge in a 10-second-capable Nissan Silvia S15; Drift Australia in a 521kW (700hp) R32 GTS-T; and drag racing in the legend itself, the 857kW (1150hp) R34 GT-R dubbed NITTO. However, it was his work building high-power record-setters for customers that set him apart from others, and he’s tuned a number of well-known World Time Attack Challenge cars over in Australia, including the ‘Dominator’, ‘Gools’, and RTR Evos. Trent spends his days carrying out all the custom dyno tuning at Mercury Motorsport and was the man in charge of building the masterpiece that is NITTO II.
The team had a clear-cut goal in mind for this build. They wanted it to be the world’s fastest and quickest GT-R on radial tyres. Now, that is no small feat, especially when you consider that, back then, this meant that it would need to run in the low eight-second bracket. The original NITTO build was too heavy to be competitive and far too clean to modify in order to comply with Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) regulations for low-eight-second cars.
So, the decision was made to pull the motor out and rebirth it into a gunmetal grey BNR32 GT-R rolling body that had been sitting in the shop waiting for the right heart to come along and, of course, for a lick of the trademark lightning yellow paint for good measure.
Confident in what they had learned from owning several GT-Rs, and building countless more at the shop, Trent spent many late nights with his team rebuilding the already proven engine package from their previous shell and incorporating a new dry-sump system. The motor, a Nitto Performance Engineering 3.2 stroker-equipped RB30 block with an RB26 head heavily modified to Mercury’s own specifications, was built by JHH Performance Engineering to produce an insane 1044kW (1400hp) at all the wheels. The head work includes custom cams, valves, springs, retainers, and head studs, as well as a Nitto Performance Engineering head gasket. The torque-peeling set-up is backed by a two-speed Powerglide transmission supplied by R.I.P.S Racing.
The list of goodies — which most of us would do things we wouldn’t like to admit to in order to own — doesn’t stop there. The car also received a Precision Gen2 Pro Mod 88mm ball-bearing turbo, 6Boost exhaust manifold, Turbosmart BOV, and Turbosmart 60mm wastegate. Or maybe the Hypertune V2 billet intake manifold, Hypertune billet throttle body, and PWR radiator or 150mm custom intercooler that it also got are more your cup of tea? We won’t judge what you will do your dirty deeds for; all we know is that the result makes for one hell of a quick machine — at least, it did once the large dose of E85 was served through 12 of these 2400cc injectors running along twin Hypertune billet fuel rails.
NITTO II went on to smash out a 7.93-second quarter-mile pass at 281kph (175mph) during Trent’s ANDRA licensing test, breaking the world record on its first run. Mercury Motorsport’s operations manager Tessa Whyte remembered: “I was standing next to the assessor right before Trent launched, and she says, ‘He [Trent] just needs to keep the car as straight as possible, and control it’. That’s when Trent ran a seven straight off the bat. I jumped into the air, screaming with excitement. The assessor turns to me and says, ‘Oh well, yeah, I’ll definitely sign him off no problems, that was awesome,’ then high-fived me.” That’s one way to impress your license assessor, but don’t go getting any bright ideas now, kiddies!
Trent currently holds a number of records in NITTO II — fastest outright GT-R and AWD car on radial tyres, quickest outright GT-R and AWD car on radial tyres, and world’s first seven-second GT-R on radial tyres (7.74s at 295.13kph [183.39mph]). Each meet the car goes to is finished with another record set to lay on top of its previous one, and the last ET was achieved with a badly slipping converter. There is more development planned for this year, and, based on what’s happened so far, it’s worth putting money down on it setting a lot more world-record times.
- Engine: Nissan RB32DET, six-cylinder, 3200cc
- Block: Nissan RB30E block, Nitto Performance Engineering 3.2-litre stroker kit
- Head: RB26 modified to Mercury Motorsport specifications by JHH Performance Engineering; custom cams, valves, springs, retainers, and head studs; Nitto Performance Engineering head gasket
- Intake: Hypertune V2 billet intake manifold, Hypertune billet throttle body, K&N pod filter, 150-millimetre-thick custom intercooler
- Exhaust: 6Boost exhaust manifold, five-inch titanium turbo side-dump pipe
- Turbo: Precision Gen2 Pro Mod 88mm ball-bearing
- Wastegate: Turbosmart 60mm
- BOV: Turbosmart
- Fuel: Mechanical fuel pump, 12x 2400cc injectors, Turbosmart fuel-pressure regulator, Hypertune twin fuel rails
- Ignition: M&W capacitor-discharge (CD) with CD ignition coils
- ECU: Haltech Elite, Haltech methanol wideband, Haltech I/O Expander 12, CAN Hub, exhaust-gas temperature gauge
- Cooling: PWR radiator,
- Extra: Custom oil catch-can set-up, radiator header tank
- Gearbox: R.I.P.S Racing two-speed Powerglide
- Diff: Aftermarket
- Struts: MCA coilovers
- Brakes: Factory Brembos, Winmax brake pads, Simpson parachute
- Wheels: 15-inch Weld Racing Pro Star
- Tyres: 275/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial
- Seats: Kirkey alloy bucket
- Steering wheel: OMP Deep Dish
- Instrumentation: Haltech IQ3 logger dash
- 1044kW (1400hp) without NOS
- ET: 7.74s at 295.13kph (183.39mph)
- Driver/owner: Trent Whyte
- Age: 37
- Location: Wilston, Queensland, Australia
- Occupation: CEO of Mercury Motorsport
- Build time: Four months
- Length of ownership: One year
- Thanks: Mercury Motorsport, Haltech ECU, Nitto Performance Engineering, JHH Performance Engineering, Precision Turbo and Engine, 6Boost exhaust manifolds, Hypertune, Turbosmart, Low.Co Customs, Winmax Brakes, Nulon, 12 Volt
This article originally featured in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 233. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below: