The Nissan S15 Fighting Hoon Laws To Become A Road-Legal Time Attack Monster
Think of the Nissan Silvia and you probably think of drifting in the dead of night along mountain passes in Japan as the sound of highly modified four-cylinder engines fill the air.
S-chassis cars have become ingrained in JDM culture as kings of skid, but if you think they can’t grip, think again – particularly in S15 form. Go for the Spec-R version and they come with larger anti-roll bars and strut bracing to help the car get around corners as quickly as any of its contemporary rivals.
The S15 is one of the most modified Japanese cars of all time, so for owners to come up with something that stands out from the crowd can actually be quite hard. That’s why Daniel Kelly, the owner of the stunning S15 you see here, decided to work against the tide of drift builds and static displays in favour of a legitimate grip weapon.
Inspired by a family friend who races an S15 in Time Attack for SX Developments, Daniel set about building a car that could hold its own in track competition.
“There are hundreds of aftermarket parts, easily available and relatively cheap. It has been quite easy to source what I wanted, but the research took years of trawling through forums, seeing overseas cars that I had admired from afar, and looking at what everyone else was doing in the scene,” he says.
So the car had to look good, but it also had to be functional. Daniel worked with Concept Garage in Sydney to make sure that everything that went on the car improved drivability. For example, the carbonfibre Top Secret R32 GTR diffuser is mounted directly to the chassis, while the Origin GT wing and AB style bonnet have additional bracing to withstand the extra forces associated with motorsport.
On track, every ounce of weight saved equates to faster laps, so carbonfibre is everywhere. The bonnet, rear wing, rear diffuser, boot lid and side canards are all made from the lightweight material.
The car wears Nissan’s original Aero bodykit, which helps keep the Silvia’s elegant form despite the fact it’s now packing some serious aero.
“The ultimate aim is to compete in World Time Attack,” says Daniel. “It's a slow process of getting it to a stage that it would be competitive, but we are looking to move towards that.
“The next step is deciding exactly what we want to do power-wise, and what kind of figures we will be aiming for. Response to me is more important than showing big numbers on a dyno, so we will be looking for something effective and fast.”
Because Daniel is so determined to get the performance upgrades right, the list of engine mods is relatively small for now – at least in comparison to other areas of the car. But looking at what’s been fitted it’s clear that this S15 will only get the best of the best.
There’s a Blitz SE front-mount intercooler, Apexi Super Suction Kit with a cold air intake and Exedy heavy duty clutch with a lightened flywheel. The car’s mean stance comes courtesy of BC Racing’s BR Series gold coilovers.
In Australia, a country that literally has laws against ‘hooning’, modifying your car is risky business. So you might be surprised to hear that Daniel’s S15 comes with a straight-pipe, three-inch stainless steel exhaust with custom 3.5-inch twin burnt tip blast pipes. Surely such an attention-grabbing kit - along with the big wing and everything else - is just asking for trouble?
“Towards the end of 2015, the car got defected and we basically had to take it back to factory to pass its inspection. Since then, we have taken it to a whole new level so there is obviously some nervousness with how strict the police situation is over here in Australia,” he says.
But, like so many other determined petrolheads Down Under, Daniel doesn’t let it get him down: “I don't think you can ever let that risk prevent you enjoying a car, it's just how things are at the moment. You either take the risk and make the car how you always dreamed, or you play it safe and sit at home wondering what might have been.”
Perfect words to end on, I think.
Thanks to @_oea on Instagram for the awesome photos! Follow him for more awesome photography.