R32 Nissan Skyline rocks modern racers at Bathurst, prompting official inquiry

As Brad Sherriff’s purpose-built R32 Nissan Skyline sped down the Conrod Straight during the 12 Hours of Bathurst, fans cheered as it hit an official timed speed of 327 km/h (203 mph). Most GT3 cars reach around 280 km/h on the same straight. Sherriff’s car was so fast that Motorsport Australia, the governing body behind the race, has now prompted an official inquiry into how much performance a floorpan car (a racing car built on the chassis of a road car) can produce.

However, it wasn’t just the speed that prompted Motorsport Australia to investigate. Coming through a right-hand bend, Sherriff crashed his monstrous R32 into the wall, damaging it enough to end their day at Bathurst. This crash, combined with the potentially record-breaking speeds, was enough for the MA to address changed regulations to limit the performance of floorpan cars.

On Monday February 5, just days after Sherriff’s crash during the 12 Hours of Bathurst on February 3, Sherriff received a call from the MA advising him of their investigation. Sheriff took to Facebook to express his understanding of this investigation, but said he was no longer interested in racing his Skyline if power will be limited in the future.

“It’s no surprise that I’ve just been contacted by someone from Motorsport Australia whom I have a lot of respect for… I understand the concerns about safety and the complications with speeds but when you’re driving a car that’s based on a production Nissan based, driven by a very ordinary driver trying to compete against much more talented drivers with much less hefty space frame cars is a game that is becoming unappealing to me.

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For the most part, cars in the Sport Sedan class for the Bathurst 12 Hour are built on spaceframe chassis, but Sherriffs are not. Which gives his car a significant weight disadvantage. To make up for that, he needs great power, something he’s gotten very good at.

Sherriff told V8Sleuth that when he first bought the R32 Skyline from a friend, he was using the stock Nissan 2.5L block with a big turbocharger and an incredibly sudden power spike at around 6,000rpm. According to the sheriff, it was the worst engine he had ever driven. After several attempts to make more power and fix its torque curve, it hit the limits of the stock cast engine clock. So he had a one-piece block built from billet aluminum that could then reliably produce 1,000+ horsepower. While the engine can normally run at 1,380 hp, Sherriff said it was running at 1,040 hp for the Bathurst race.

Sherriff’s Monster R32 may have dropped out of the race and come under scrutiny from race officials, but it won over the crowd when it broke the Bathurst minimum lap time of 2:09.000. If the MA decides the R32 can no longer drive at its current performance level, Sherriff said on Facebook that he would fix the car and put it on display.

“I can assure you that this week’s priority at MA is getting the car repaired and becoming a showpiece in the store.”

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