Many people need a release from the mundane reality of everyday life. Some enjoy a picnic by the lake. Others escape for a round of golf. Then there are those who take it to the extreme. They enjoy hurling themselves out of an aircraft, with a flimsy-strapped backpack attached to their shoulders. Or risk life and limb by attempting to climb a mountain at an altitude and temperature that no human is capable of enduring.
These types of people need a regular adrenaline rush — efficient in sending mere mortals to an early grave — just so they can function properly in society. But I now proclaim these maddening activities obsolete. You need not venture to Switzerland, in search of cliff jumping and canyon climbing. Instead, head to the small town of Oberlin, Ohio. There you will find something even madder: Switzer Performance.
Switzer has a reputation as one of the top tuning facilities in the country, specializing in Porsche and Nissan GT-R's. We've driven some of their creations in the past They have tuning options catering to the straight-up suicidal, down to the mildly insane. The loaded AK47 in the corner of their shop was a 1,600-hp GT-R that will complete a quarter-mile at 178 mph. This car was designed specifically for straight-line racing and is the pinnacle of speed and performance.
The car I would be driving is Switzer's new 1000-hp "Ultimate Street Edition" GT-R. The focus of this monster is on the "Street" portion of the ultimate package.
I was eager to unearth whether a 1000+hp hypercar could ever be deemed usable in the real world. I had my doubts.
A stock 2013 GT-R produces a colossal 542-hp and can do a 0-60 dash in around 2.7 seconds. To coax that same 3.8-liter V6 engine up to the barbaric numbers Switzer has done required specific pistons, pins, rings and connecting rods, as well as specially-ground camshafts. Two new liquid-cooled turbochargers featuring billet compressor wheels outflow off-the-shelf turbos by more than 30 percent. Extensive work to the cooling systems helped accommodate such a monstrous surfeit of power, and still ensure the car remains reliable and maintains the goal of everyday usability.
All of the above are connected to Switzer's own performance exhaust and runs on premium pump-gas, not race fuel. The shocks are from the stock GT-R and are slightly lowered with a stiffer spring rate. The brakes have been granted nano-carbon pads and Switzer use their own gigantic forged aluminum alloy wheels accompanied by traditional performance tires. They also worked with Shepherd Transmissions on providing a transmission that can withstand over 800 lbs-ft of torque.
All this, of course, means the car is fast enough to turn even Travis Pastrana into a screaming five-year-old girl, with a spider under her bed.
As I pulled out of the parking lot and planted my right foot to see what all the fuss was about, it was clear this car was unlike anything I had ever driven on the road. For perspective, I have had the pleasure of driving a 950-hp Formula One car and a 230 mph IndyCar, so speed does not intimidate me. This much power, however, on a narrow country road in rural Ohio was borderline terrifying. It felt like the roads had shrunk, like a T-shirt left in the dryer for too long. Corners came upon me quicker than my eyes could react, and cars that were once dots in the distance became full-sized objects hurtling towards me in an instance.
For even more perspective: The Switzer Ultimate GT-R will do 60-130-mph one-second faster than a Bugatti Veyron. That's roughly 17-percent quicker.
There are not many roads capable of allowing a driver to explore the limits of a car with this incredible performance envelope. What I did notice is that the ride was solid and comfortable and didn't require a trip to the chiropractor. The brake pedal was firmer and sharper than stock – which is vital to have any chance of stopping when traveling at the speed-of-light. The noise when accelerating up to 8,000-rpm is just orgasmic. Rather than describe it, just imagine the most beautiful growl you could ever dream up. It was better than that.
When heading back into town I flicked the gearbox into automatic and went into cruise mode. Much to my surprise, the roaring lion morphed into a purring pussycat and it became a usable, 20-mpg everyday car, with a coolant temp hovering at 177-degrees. The engine note lowered and began resonating like a nuzzling "Puss-In-Boots."
Additionally, the power could be turned down with a simple push of a button on the steering wheel, adding to the functionality of this split-personality beast. The cost for all this lunacy starts at just over $69k, with options available to push your GT-R's upgrades beyond $86k.
Is it worth it? Only you can be the judge. It is a level of power unneeded by most. Let's face it, the stock GT-R isn't exactly lacking. But for those crazy, nutty, verging on straightjacket diehards that want performance figures capable of turning their mates into jealous teenagers, but still want the ability to drop Grandma off to get her hair permed, then the Ultimate GT-R is, well, the ultimate.
For me, it made all my hair stand-on-end and left me totally breathless. Cliff jumping in Switzerland can wait. I'd buy a Switzer GT-R, instead.
(Sometimes we get invited to drive cars but don't get enough time to do what we'd consider a full review worthy of a Jalopnik Number. In those cases we're resurrecting "Around The Block" reviews. These are brief looks at incredible tuner cars, concepts, one-offs, and other rare beasts. — Ed.)
Photo Credit: Alex Lloyd, Switzer