The Life of Opy: Part 1 – Introduction

The Life of Opy: Part 1 – Introduction

by Khiem Dinh

Joining the 2011 model year lineup from Nissan was this funky little subcompact crossover SUV. It had polarizing looks, but a spunky and fun personality universally liked. Underneath the quirky exterior laid a real performance foundation starting with a turbocharged 1.6L gasoline direct injection engine and handling more befitting of a sport compact. Throw in optional AWD and the Juke presented an interesting performance package.

So what is one to make of the Juke? A turbocharged engine paired with AWD in a compact SUV body easily conjures up images of dirt rallying fun. Edmunds.com apparently had this image floating around in their noggins and organized a race with their long-term 2011 Juke test vehicle and our own Dave Coleman’s 1971 Datsun rally beater.

 

Dave’s beat Datsun 510 vs. the then brand new Nissan Juke. Picture courtesy of Edmunds.com

The thing is, the Juke is a lot of fun on pavement too. The torquey turbo engine, quick handling, and AWD make it a willing companion when the roads get tight and twisty. Other vehicles which that sentence can apply to include the Evo and STI, two vehicles with rally heritage that also happen to tear it up on tarmac. A few guys at Nissan had a similar thought but took it a mile further and created the Juke-R.

 

The original Juke-R took the 485hp powertrain out of the GT-R and shoehorned it under the Juke body. Nissan decided to make a version 2.0 which has the updated GT-R setup with 600hp. As you can see, the Juke-R is intended to pulverize rubber on pavement.

Enter Lars Wolfe. Lars and I go back a bit having done some turbo development work together. The car we worked on was a pavement time attack car, but Lars’s real roots are in rally. Probably due to rally, he learned how to fabricate just about anything. Lars was in search of a new vehicle with which to create a race program around. So what kind of vehicle does a guy like Lars build? Welcome to the Multi-Purpose Racer (MPR) Nissan Juke from Lars Wolfe Racing.

 

The Juke swoosh, from when Nissan/Infiniti was doing that thing in marketing.
MPR tarmac setup has the big wheels, big brakes, and lowered ride height.
MPR rally setup swaps out the wheels, tires, brakes, and suspension to tackle the dirty rough stuff.

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