WARP SPEED, MR SISSOU…
Stelios Sissou is SA’s fastest man over one kilometre, breaking the 1 000 metre barrier with an official speed of 346.3 km/h at ODI Raceway on Sunday August 9 and in the process shattering his 2014 record for street-legal cars.
The Gauteng businessman’s Bilstein-backed 1 200kW Nissan GT-R35 endured a morning of technical niggles at the annual One Kilometre Invitational before it all came together late in the day, Sissou launching his final attack on the tarmac with the sun already heading towards the horizon. An enthusiastic crowd, which flocked to the popular Pretoria dragstrip to see over 100 of the country’s fastest cars in action, erupted into spontaneous applause as the commentator announced the result.
With his own record of 337 km/h and a strong contingent of GT-R35 rivals to beat, the car underwent further refinements compared to last year’s specification, primarily an upgrade to Bilstein’s sophisticated Modular Damper System (MDS) suspension which allows fine-tuning of the shock absorbers. The rate of compression and extension (commonly referred to as bump and rebound) as well as ride height can be adjusted. This enables start-line traction to be optimised, while at the same time ensuring maximum stability at velocities beyond the take-off speed of a jet fighter.
“The Modular Damper System is Bilstein’s flagship product for high-performance cars. It allows the driver to adjust key settings to achieve a desired result, whether the car is going to be used for drag racing, track days, or even a gymkhana. It allows for quick and easy changes to bump and rebound via colour-coded rotary adjusters and with a little more effort ride height can also be altered,” explains Bilstein’s Ted Garstang. “Dialling in the ideal settings for a given circuit or driving discipline can be the difference between a good result and a great result and we’re really proud to have played a part in Stelios’s victory today.”
Interestingly, every GT-R35 leaves the Nissan factory fitted with Bilstein electronically controlled dampers as original equipment, so an upgrade to MDS is a natural progression.
A jubilant Sissou added: “The morning was really character-building, and something went wrong on every run. With the temperatures rising quickly and a bit of a headwind I was worried whether we’d be able to get past 340 km/h. But my final run was perfect: I went for a very conservative start strategy and didn’t use launch control, but when it did all hook up it was like riding a rocket ship – talk about warp speed!”
As it turned out, the victory was an emphatic one with the monster GT-R35 faster at the 800 metre mark than the next fastest car was at the end of the full kilometre.
“I’ve already decided that we’ll be back next year to defend our crown…and not just to win but break 350 km/h!” concluded Stelios.
According to a Video VBOX datalogger the NXGen-prepared GT-R35 achieved the following results as it powered its way into the record books:
•0 – 200 km/h 8.37 seconds
•0 – 300 km/h 13.48 seconds
•100 – 200 km/h 3.19 seconds
•200 – 300 km/h 5.11 seconds
•0 – 1 000 metres 18.35 seconds @ 346.74 km/h
•0 – 800 metres 16.24 seconds @ 334.1 km/h
•Maximum speed 349.6 km/h (achieved beyond the finish line)
Note to editors: The audio input unfortunately failed halfway through the run – it would appear that the underbonnet microphone was unable to cope with the extreme temperatures