We take a look inside Besnik Engine Design's 1200 horsepower capable Nissan GTR VR38 engine build.
The old adage, “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life” is a refrain that those in performance industry know quite well. And for Pashko Kalaj, landing in that situation proved to be the natural progression of things when he opened Besnik Engine Design in Clinton Township, MI.
“This business, like many, started out as a hobby for me,” Kalaj tells us. “Working out of a small garage at home, I quickly discovered what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. We keep an open platform to clients, ranging from endurance racing, drag, street, marine and everything in between.”
Besnik’s latest project is a brutal Nissan VR38 build. Said to be good for a sustainable (and reliable) 1200 horsepower at the wheels when all is said and done, it should make for one seriously quick GT-R when the mill finds its way back into the engine bay. “We'd been eager to get our hands on a VR38 as soon as they were released in 2009,” says Kalaj. “We finally had the opportunity to build one with this project after a local client reached out to us and was interested in making the engine suitable for 1200whp.”
Kalaj selected a set of Wiseco K681M955AP pistons for the job. “To ensure reliability, we started with Wiseco's HD line of pistons. The dimensional accuracy, asymmetric skirt design, generous ring land thickness and horizontal gas porting made it a no-brainer for the build,” he explains. “We specifically choose Wiseco products based on accuracy and consistency. We have several customers that bring their engines in to freshen up, and even after several dyno pulls, daily use and track abuse, the pistons show very minute signs of wear. We believe that to be a true testament to Wiseco's design, engineering and manufacturing processes.”
Besnik paired the pistons with Carrillo H-beam connecting rods to ensure efficient energy transfer to the crankshaft, and this particular build uses an OEM Nissan crankshaft that has undergone oil galley modifications to provide adequate oil flow to the ACL Race Series main and rod bearings. The package is held together by ARP hardware throughout. “With Ferrea hardware managing airflow through the engine, we have full confidence in the build and hardware combination of the setup,” says Falaj.
Keeping their doors open to enthusiasts from every corner of the performance world gives Besnik Engine Design a diverse roster of builds, though that ambitious approach does offer its own set of challenges. Still, doing so strengthens the company’s ability to bring their brand of performance to a wider spectrum of applications.
“This particular project was a bit of a learning curve, based on the uniqueness of Nissan's VR platform,” Kalaj says. “But those challenges we’ve faced have only broadened our diversity in the market. This wide platform gives us the ability to provide our clients with cultured experience from all aspects of performance and motorsport, which means the technology and techniques of particular classes can be applied to a broader range of builds.”