Tunehouse Nissan R35 GT-R Development – Part 1

We’ve heard the rumours and we’re inclined to think they’re true! That is; When Nissan’s chief designer put pen to paper in an attempt to conceptualise the all new R35 GT-R he started with what he believed was the ideal tyre contact patch for a performance car – and then worked up! We have absolutely no doubt having driven a number of both the 2007-2010 models and now the new revised 2011 variant that these are indeed the crème of the crop when it comes to Japanese Performance cars! The hard part though… Where do we go from here?

With around 5000km already under the belt of the Tunehouse development R35, we took the opportunity to load it onto our Dynapack 4000 Series Hub Dyno – As one of the first of the 2011 facelift cars to hit Australian roads, we were pretty keen to get some baseline numbers.

Once loaded onto the dyno, the R35 rolled up a number of consistent 345kW figures and equally impressive torque numbers. It was pretty clear, long gone was Nissan’s gentleman agreement with the Japanese government imposed 208kW at the engine performance limit – these are well on their way to doubling that! That is not to say that things can’t be improved in search of even more. Being dealers for both Akrapovic and EcuTek, the decision to chase more performance was made!

The plan was relatively simple – only the best! Since opening the doors in 2001, Jim Ghelis’ (owner and tuner at Tunehouse) philosophy has remained unchanged – only support products that meet the Tunehouse’s high standard and expectations for value, performance and of course, quality! Regarded as simply the best exhaust systems money can buy, an Akrapovic Evolution Exhaust System was ordered and optioned with a set of their Carbon Fibre Exhaust Outlets.

The Akrapovic Evolution system is made entirely from high end, quality fabricated titanium. Fitting the front pipes, rear pipes and rear muffler was a breeze, even while working with the R35’s under trays. The GT-R system was designed to have an aggressive, yet sporty sound. Droning, which can ruin the entire driving experience, was carefully tuned out during testing and proving. The entire system for the GT-R weighs just 14kg.

Having fitted many Akrapovic systems to customers cars over the years, there was no surprise when the R35 fired into life and sounded amazing! A crisp Euro sound, that while now especially loud, was dominant without any drown! We have every confidence in Akrapovic’ claim of 17hp and 56Nm over factory without any changes except for the sweet sounding evolution system, however this was never going to be enough.

The arrival of the 2011 R35 GT-R into the Tunehouse driveway though was almost ridiculously well timed with the email from EcuTek UK we’d been waiting for… As EcuTek dealers in Australia, Tunehouse were the first to get a hold of the new FlashCAN GT-R – The EcuTek software package specific to the R35 GT-R!

With EcuTek on our side, it wasn’t long before we access to the factory ECU and looking at all the factories hard work! Knowing his way around factory ECUs better than most, Tunehouse’s Jim Ghelis was quick to start digging through the factory maps in search of what he already knew he needed to change.

How did we go? Check the graph below out and see for yourself! With adjustments to the factory parameters done and tested in the very first stage of upgrades, Jim found a respectable 41kW and 55Nm over factory! The torque spread a clear winner with the previous peak torque of 610Nm now available from as early as 2950rpm and as late as 5900rpm – All found with no additional boost what so ever! More power would have no doubt been an option should we want a peaky power delivery, however being aware not to upset the general power spread of this particular car (it has plenty of road and circuit km ahead of it) the primary goal is drivable and tractable power!


With the THR R35 both faster to drive in absolutely every situation and reporting better fuel economy than standard in the 5000km since the upgrade, it’s no surprise at all that we’ll soon be on the hunt for more! Knowing the insane sounding Akrapovic Evolution Exhaust System will support significantly more power, we’ll no doubt turn our attention to the next stage of upgrades! Once the Tunehouse Test Pilot has nailed down some genuine times at the circuit we’ll be looking at the data to ensure we attack what the car genuinely needs next!

With some in-house know how and some support from our trade partners Whiteline, Cosworth, KW, HKS, Akrapovic and EcuTek – This is certainly one R35 to keep an eye out for! Follow us on Facebook or checkout our website at www.tunehouse.com.au for the latest updates! Or simply call (02) 9557 4000.

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