Project DBA R35 GT-R: Starting the Suspension Revolution with KW Suspension and Forged Performance

Project DBA R35 GT-R: Starting the Suspension Revolution with KW Suspension and Forged Performance

by Mike Kojima

It’s been a long time since we even mentioned anything about our Project R35 GT-R. We had plans for the car but never could find the time to work on it. The other issue was that the R35 is a world-class supercar, and it is very hard to improve on a car like this without messing it up. It is easy to make it worse with ill-conceived aftermarket parts.

We took great pains to make things better on the R35, selecting parts that attack what we see as the car’s main weaknesses as our first line of improvement. Yes, the R35 is fast; very fast- fast as in being capable of lapping many tracks faster than full racecars were just a few short years ago.

It is also heavy, very heavy at 3850 lbs. This is an amazing weight for a car that can click off such fast lap times. It is also the car’s Achilles heel. Sure, the GT-R is fast, but it cannot sustain that speed for long; the weight eats brakes and tires quickly. The car can also overheat its engine and transaxle quickly as well, causing it to go into limp mode.

In stock form, the GT-R seems very stiff. Its ride is very hard- harder, in fact, than some racecars we have driven and harder than most of the highly modified cars in the MotoIQ project car stable. So, stiff is the GT-R in stock form, which we feel that it can lose mechanical grip in turns with even moderate bumps.

Sure, engine parts, more power and fast quarter mile times are sexy, but for our car, we will work to bring balance to the chassis by attacking the handling and braking first.


The first stop in our quest for a difficult improvement in handling was a set of KW Suspension 3-way adjustable Clubsport coilovers.

The 3-way Clubsports offer the sophistication of a motorsports damper by offering independent high and low-speed compression damping adjustment, along with rebound adjustment in a package that has all the requirements to hold up to daily driving with a long service life on the street.

We have had a lot of experience working with these particular coilovers in setting them up for various GT-R’s used for drag racing, mile racing, and time attack racing- all with great results. KW spent a lot of time in development with these coilovers, which included a lot of time on their 7-post shaker rig, German back roads, the Autobahn, as well as the Nurburgring.

KW delayed the release of the shocks for a long time, as they wanted to beat Nissan’s time on the ring by a significant amount before releasing them to the public. This was a feat that was somewhat difficult because the GT-R is really good in stock form!


The 3-way Clubsports have remote reservoirs which house the high and low-speed compression adjusters.

The adjusters have turret type valves that feed the bleed fluid through differently sized orifices that control the fluid flow. This enables the shock to have a consistent adjustment increment throughout the adjustment range. This consistency in between clicks is impossible to obtain with a needle valve adjuster.


The top mounts on the 3-way Clubsports are a pillow ball type using a sealed corrosion resistant stainless pillow ball. It has a rubber boot on the bottom to help keep water from entering it.


When you’re done reading about the install, be sure to check out Part 1 of our video series on our Project R35 GT-R. We give you a little more insight on KW Suspension 3-way adjustable Clubsport coilovers’ and show you the process of adjusting a 3-way shock.