In the Spotlight – Litchfield GT-R LM20 {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

2 Mar 2018

This is a very common line with some of the cars we feature ITH on this site, but I’m pretty sure there are very few people who drive a standard Nissan GT-R and actually, honestly say to themselves that it’s a little bit slow and needs some more poke. But as with any mass produced car, even one as specialist as the GT-R, they are built down to a price and they have to be set up to appeal to the masses. They might be bought by petrolheads but you also need to make it so that should 21yr old Jake or 75yr old Winston choose to buy one, they won’t end up upside down in a hedge after their first mile driving it.

So that means the suspension, steering, brakes, handling in general and engine tuning are all set up on the safe side, but thankfully there are companies out there who specialise in turning the GT-R into the car it could, and should be – companies like Litchfield Motors. When you turn up to their unassuming workshops near Cheltenham the first thing you notice – as I did – is the fact that there are more GT-Rs outside than I’ve ever seen together. There were 17 when we visited, in various states of tuning/repair/modifying. Iain Litchfield showed Christian and I around the workshop, where they spend yeas developing all the various modifications for the GT-R and it really shows just how professional an outfit this is – they really know their stuff – but it’s not just GT-Rs. They also have tuning packages for Subarus (where they started) along with all kinds of modern performance cars from the Porsche 911 to the Audi RS3.

But we’re here to look at the LM20, which is being built to celebrate Litchfield’s 20 years of tuning cars and also refers to the number they’ll be building, making it rather rare. What the LM20 represents isn’t the most powerful GT-R, after all they regularly build 750bhp+ versions, but it’s the culmination of everything they’ve learned to make the absolute best GT-R they can for the road. That’s one very good point actually – this is very much a road car, unlike a lot of companies which add power and stiffen the car so it can be super fast on track the LM20 has normal size wheels with decent tyre sidewall along with suspension that isn’t too stiff. This is a very good thing as you’ll read later.

Externally the LM20 gets a new carbon grille, an extended carbon splitter, reworked rear bumper and a carbon wing insert – not a great deal but all serve a purpose to make the GT-R more stable at speed. Also helps that they look amazing, as do the RAYS Volk Racing alloys in a gold/bronze finish. They are lighter and stronger than the standard rims, plus are just the only wheels to have on any tuned Japanese car. Behind those wheels are larger Alcon brakes and Litchfield’s own bespoke Bilstein Damptronic suspension along with custom Eibach springs and anti-roll bar, meaning all the electronic damper settings still remain from the cabin, but everything is just controlled better and it is compliant yet resists roll very well. The grip levels this thing has when you attack a corner will defy belief.

Of course the engine has had work, which results in a staggering 666bhp and 834Nm of torque. Not huge numbers by tuned GT-R standards (I’ve been in one with double that power) but it is still punishingly quick and very usable with a wide power band and the majority of that torque available between 2500 and 5000rpm. The list of engine work includes a Litchfield 102 mm exhaust system with Sports Cats, Cast turbo downpipes, Larger fuel injectors, High flow fuel pumps, Litchfield air intake kit, boost hoses and intercooler. Then there’s a Litchfield Version 6 custom ECU calibration with 4 switchable maps for fuel octane and adjustable boost levels and upgraded gearbox software. Phew, quite a list.

What this ends up with, is a GT-R that will destroy most other supercars on a twisty country road, all while being able to be used every day to go to the shops should you desire. It sounds fantastic, goes like the proverbial off a shovel and is genuinely fun to throw around. It’s not even that much more than the standard car, which is amazing. Did I mention it’ll do 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds? Or that it’ll top out at 203mph? Well, now you know.

As we were about to leave, Iain took us to the back of the workshop where he showed us the LM1-RS, a GT-R that is like no other. With full carbon fibre bodywork and a stripped out interior this GT-R weighs 400kg less than the standard car and has serious aero, from the huge rear wing to the massive front splitter and curvaceous canards. Oh and it has 1200bhp. This beast is also road legal, which is key to its purpose in life – Litchfield are aiming to take, and destroy, the Nurburgring lap record for a production car with the LM1-RS this summer and when you look at the thing, with its gold lined engine bay and underfloor aerodynamics, combined with the passion for detail and engineering excellence of the guys there I don’t see any reason why it won’t. They’re sure it’ll beat the best, which for reference is the Porsche 911 GT2 RS at 6min 47.25 seconds. We’ll keep you updated!

Should you want to watch it, Christian and I also made a video of the LM20 which is here for you to enjoy:

Get your tickets for this incredible Litchfield LM20 here while you can – only until midnight on Sunday!