To help the axles deal better with our low suspension and road racing torture, the center bars were shortened to prevent them from bottoming out the CV joints at low ride heights. The cup races were polished for low friction. High-temperature boots were used and the inner boots vented with special tubes to prevent them from inflating at high temperatures and ripping. Special heat-resistant synthetic grease in the CV joints also helps fight the heat.
The Driveshaft Shop says these axles should be good for at least 500 hp, and we feel confident they'll be a huge improvement over the stock Nissan axles.
Volk LE28N Wheels Toyo RA-1 Race TiresFor light wheels, we once again turned to Volk, one of the leaders in the market for lightweight, strong wheels. In road racing, you can drop wheels off the paved surface, hit FIA curbs and strike debris, so strong wheels that can take punishment can give you piece of mind.
Volk let us use a set of its new, lightweight LE28N wheel. The LE28N is lighter than the industry standard for trick light wheels-the Volk TE37-by a few ounces. Forged monoblock construction ensures these will be strong wheels, despite the thin cross section.
I use the TE37 exclusively on my road racecar and I find that they are very hard to bend, even with unintentional 100-mph airborne off-track running. We prefer a wider wheel to keep the rubber flat on the ground. Our 17x7.5-inch wheels had a 43mm offset, and we used a 5mm spacer to make the actual offset 38mm. This fit in Project Phoenix's wheel wells with a bit of fender rolling. Our wheels weighed only 14 pounds, which is extremely light for the diameter and width.
We needed a sticky tire, but it also had to withstand punishment from wheelspin without chunking or greasing out. One of the longest-lasting and most heat-resistant of the current crop of DOT racing radials is the Toyo RA-1.
We've found in testing that the RA-1 also seems to grip decently in a straight line, easily capable of handling 2.2-second 60-foot times. Not bad for a DOT-approved, street-legal tire that can also hang a turn with aplomb. It also had a touring car look that we wanted and is one of few race tires available in 17 inches. We settled for a 205/40-17.
Taking Project Phoenix to the track was an exercise in excess. The car's rapid acceleration and high straight-away speeds made it clear that even our big brakes weren't adequate to slow the car with the soft street compound pads we were using. What we needed were some real race brake pads like Hawk's Excellent Blue Compound.
Project Phoenix was 1 second per lap faster than a modified R32 Skyline GT-R and several seconds per lap faster than a $150,000 Porsche Turbo that was at the track that day as well.
Project Phoenix pounded out lap after lap reliably in high 90-degree temperatures without overheating or blowing up. This is a testament to the soundness of our project car so far. We hope to return to the track soon with better brake pads to really lay the smackdown on some big-name exotic cars.