Besnik Engine Design Takes A Nissan GT-R VR38 To The Next Level

March 15, 2017 / by Bradley Iger

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.”

Along with Wiseco K681M955AP pistons, Besnik selected Carrillo H-beam connecting rods to ensure enough strength to withstand the abuses that 1200 rear-wheel horsepower bring to the table.

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.”

(Left) The stock Nissan crankshaft and timing components are used in this build, as is a stock VR38 engine block. It makes the engineering that went into the VR38 engine that much more impressive, considering the power on tap here. (Right) The stock VR38 cylinder heads get a valve job and bowl bending before going back on the block.

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.”

(Left) The slugs get installed in the VR38 short block. Kalaj tells us that Wiseco pistons are at the heart of nearly every build that Besnik Engine Design takes on due to their reliability, manufacturing accuracy and strength. (Right) A look at the VR38 short block before the cylinder heads go back on. ARP bolts will be used throughout the build to ensure the strength required to keep everything locked down despite the serious bump in output.

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.

Like so many performance companies, Pashko Kalaj’s company Besnik Engine Design, started in a small garage at his home, where his passion for motorsport and performance would eventually bring in project builds for use in endurance racing, the drag strip, the street and a whole lot in between.

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.”

Besnik selected Kelford GTR 231-B camshafts for this build. These 272 degree, 10.00/9.25mm lift cams are design to deliver solid midrange and top end power gains over stock. 


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Written by Bradley Iger