This is J’s Switzer R900 Serious Autosport GTR, and it’s a pretty special car. In addition to being a standing-mile record holder, the car is J’s daily driver, and has racked up many thousands of miles in the 3 years since its R900 conversion. In addition to thousands of miles of driving around south Florida, the car has also made over 100 drag-strip passes at PBIR - with most of those being deep in the 9s.
Did I mention that this was Switzer’s very first VR38 engine build? That seems like something you should know, as well.
The car you see here is Switzer VR38 build no. 0001. Despite being the very first build to come out of Switzer’s Oberlin, Ohio-based facility, the engine has been utterly bulletproof for over 3 years of hard driving.
What’s the secret to this prototype engine’s longevity? “It’s not a normal prototype,” explains Tym Switzer. Switzer’s engine shop, run by Tym Switzer and Tym Switzer, Sr., carefully measured every aspect of the GTR Nissan’s 3.8 L V6, in a range of temperatures and conditions, before determining the way forward. “We calculated the bearing speeds and clearances hot, cold, at room temp. We looked at the way the block absorbed loads. Everything we could think of based on the experiences we’d had over the years. I’ve said it before, those early GTRs were rigged up like NASA shuttles with all the sensors and data-logging equipment we had running. When you combine all that data with more than 60 years’ combined experience building high-horsepower street and racing engines, you can figure out the right steps to take. They’re not always the same steps that other people might take, but they’re steps that fit within our philosophy.”
That philosophy translates into a focus on longevity, dependability, and (above all) customer enjoyment. “We’ve never focused on building up shop cars or chasing time slips,” says Tym. “We want the cars to last so that the customers can get the most out of their unique experience. I like to think of each of these cars as having an hour meter in them. If they did, ‘Hours of enjoyment’ would be the key indicator of whether or not our build was successful.”
The kind of longevity and consistency Switzer strives for is part of the company’s holistic approach to building performance gains. When the engine is built up, the driveline is strengthened. When the car’s driveline can put the power down, the car’s brakes get attention. Once the braking performance exceeds the limits of the factory wheel and tire package, lighter, wider rollers go on the car. Every step of the way, Switzer has products in place to ensure that the customer’s experience is everything they expect, for example, Switzer just started building its own “big brake package” to better compliment the nano-carbon brake pads they co-developed last year - which will be a serious upgrade for more experienced track enthusiasts.
All of that work pays off for customers like J, whose Switzer R900 is back in Ohio for routine maintenance (shown, below) and the latest round of software and transmission updates over the winter. “All the work that went into building this car right was very clear during the car’s engine inspection,” offers Switzer. “Leak-down, compression test, and bore scope inspections showed no significant wear or duress and zero loss of performance. We have no reason to believe that this engine won’t be enjoyed for many, many more hours of driving pleasure, for years to come.”