NX GTi-R: DIY Aero and then Some!

2020 is the year that is anything but a crystal clear 20/20. Everything seems to be blurred as our world works through this pandemic. While the year started with such promise, we have ended up in self-isolation and with a ton of time on our hands as we huddle at home. For the NX GTi-R that has meant that a small aero project has mushroomed beyond what was initially planned – although it has yet to reach the height of what has been imagined. That, however, will maybe have to wait until the next pandemic.

There is nothing amazing or earth-shattering about the aerodynamics that have been implemented with the NX GTi-R. Unless you consider that these plans and parts started formulating and accumulating over a decade ago when I still lived in Ontario. At that time the track day that I hosted at Mosport (now called Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) brought in participants from across Canada and parts of the United States. There was a high of six Nissan NX’s on the track one year, including my good friend and amazing amateur racer Greg Amy. Greg had recently left (again, this was a decade ago) the NX’s chassis and moved on to other more tweakable (read that as faster) cars. The NX GTi-R was able to benefit from that change. It still has an awesome set of shortened struts/Koni inserts that Greg had in one of his cars. And he arrived at the track day with two (maybe it was three, but I only have two now) of his custom air dams resting in his NX 2000’s spacious cargo area. There were plans for the NX GTi-R.

The NX GTi-R always catches attention when it is on the track. It would have benefited from aero work ages ago. The car was skittish under braking at Mosport’s turn 8 which is a 160+ KPH / 100+ MPH corner. At The Ridge in Washington there were absolutely corners that made me think about putting aero on the car. Photo above taken at the Ridge by Andy Von Heister.

These Greg Amy air dams sat in my parts room (it was actually a fruit cellar but 90% of it was filled with Nissan parts) as thoughts of aero rolled about. But nothing happened and then, a little over four years ago, we moved across the country to the Pacific Ocean and British Columbia. The air dams, along with the contents of our home, were loaded into a moving van and followed us to the west coast of Canada. Mountains. Lots of mountains. This meant searching for track opportunities and finding them with CACC’s Knox Mountain Hill Climb, Time Attack, and relatively new tracks Area 27 in the Okanagan Valley and The Ridge just southwest of Seattle, Washington. But the air dams just sat on an upper shelf in the garage.

About 3 years ago this APR GTC for a Mazda RX-8 wing popped up on a middle of Canada RX-8 forum; no one responded as the seller was in Vancouver. That was just under an hour away from my new home.

Then two/three years ago there was a forum ad for an APR GTC200 wing that was set up for a Mazda RX-8. At the time there was a beautiful RX-8 in our garage – yet a vow had been made that there would only be one project car in the garage. So rather than breaking that vow, plans were made to get the wing and figure out how to fit it to the Nissan NX. The wing itself, upon seeing it, was amazing. It had been fitted but never used. A university student near graduation had been flooded with pre-approved credit cards which they used to purchase parts to build a dream RX-8. Only to have their father organize a garage sale of said parts. Tough break for him, but bonus for the NX GTi-R. But then it has sat in a basement kitchenette ever since.

The paddock at Knox Mountain Hill Climb is a wonderful park near the shore of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, B.C.

2019 at Knox Mountain may have been the defining moment in aero development of this car. The NX GTi-R was putting down some very good times – three seconds faster than what had been previously attained. However, that paled in comparison to the blistering times that friend and fellow hill climb and time attack competitor Greg Petroski put down. Greg arrived at Knox Mountain knowing that he finished behind the NX GTi-R two years running with a very respectable second and third in class. He was not going to finish second to the NX GTi-R again. His STi swapped Imprezza was incredible with full aero, an E95 tune, Hoosier A7’s, a Petrel Data Systems unit that provided instant feedback, and probably a host of other things. The end result was that he took over fifteen seconds off of his previous best time and was eight seconds faster than the NX GTi-R’s new best time. If that is making you stop and think, I agree. Then Jeremy, Kyle, and Bron started building and talking about aero for their cars. It was time to start the project.

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