LYFE Motorsport’s diesel-powered Nissan GT-R aims to break the Pikes Peak record

The 2022 Broadmoor Pikes Peak Hill International Climb (PPHIC) begins this Sunday, June 24, with more than 70 different competitors scaling the 4,720-foot mountain pass. The track is a difficult and treacherous road consisting of 156 turns and is 12.42 miles long. We conquered Pikes Peak on a random weekend a few years ago in a 2020 Honda Civic Type R, but for the LYFE Motorsport team this weekend will not be a casual ride.

LYFE Motorsport aims to break the diesel record on the famous mountain with a 2010 Nissan GT-R. But this isn’t just any R35 GT-R, it’s powered by a 6.0-litre Ford Power Stroke engine.

The race-ready Nissan GT-R began life underwater and became Frank the Tank

The Frank 6.0 Nissan GT-R goes up the mountain to Pikes Peak. | LYFE Motorsport

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Believe it or not, LYFE Motorsport’s 2010 Nissan GT-R began life as a flood salvage in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As the story goes, Cole Powelson – the founder of LYFE Motorsport and driver of the Nissan GT-R – designed the racer and gave this particular chassis a second chance as a Time Attack/Pikes Peak racer, complete with a massive wing and aerodynamic modifications. Under the hood was the stock VR38DETT engine, bored out to 4.0 liters and force-fed by a pair of Garrett GTX3076 turbochargers. It was a rugged car that the team aptly dubbed “Frank the Tank.”

“I called it Frank the Tank because it was such a tough car that it took a lot of abuse,” Powelson said.

Frank’s engine setup put out 1,200 horsepower on the dyno and propelled the GT-R through many Time Attack races and a fateful 2015 Pikes Peak run that ended in a crash. After that, Frank sat in the corner of the shop for six years until the LYFE Motorsport team decided to put it back together. But instead of a twin-turbo setup like last time, Frank is now powered by a diesel engine and is now called “Frank 6.0”.

“After six years of essentially forgetting Frank the Tank, Frank the Tank is back in action and making sense again,” Powelson said. “But there’s a catch, we’re chasing the diesel record with a Ford 6.0 liter Powerstroke.”

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Powelson tests Frank 6.0 on the upper section of Pikes Peak

Riffraff Diesel and LYFE Motorsports came together to build “Frank 6.0”.

The LYFE Motorsport Team poses in front of Frank 6.0

The LYFE Motorsport Team poses in front of Frank 6.0. | LYFE Motorsport

To build and revive Frank the Tank, LYFE Motorsports have partnered with Riffraff Diesel, who specialize in Powerstroke parts and components. It might sound like an odd pairing, but that’s the point. LYFE Motorsports chose the GT-R’s chassis, aerodynamics and suspension configuration from years of proven experience, so it only makes sense that Riffraff Diesel could help them get to the top of the mountain in record time.

The current Pikes Peak diesel record is held by Scott Birdsall and his 1949 Cummins-powered Ford F1 called “Old Smokey”. The official batting time is 11:24.065.

Judging by the Frank 6.0 engine data sheet, it looks like a win is possible. Here’s a look:

  • Built by RiffRaff Diesel
  • Testing the new Motul range of Tekma Ultima+ 10w-40 diesel oil
  • 2004 Ford 6.0 liter works block
  • Mahle series pistons / ceramic coated with valve relief
  • 250/100% injectors
  • Terminator T500 HPOP
  • Stage 2 billet camshaft
  • Anderson HS lifter
  • Smith Bros. bumpers
  • ARP 625+ head bolts
  • KDD dry sump front cover
  • Custom dry sump oil pan
  • Riffraff Diesel billet valve covers
  • ODawg 6.4L reversed intake manifold
  • John Wood Custom 4R100 4 speed automatic transmission with billet flex plate
  • Compound turbocharger with a KC Turbo Jetfire Stage 1 as primary turbo and BorgWarner 80mm Atmosphere Turbo

If you’re interested in following the build of Frank 6.0 from start to finish, visit the LYFE Motorsport YouTube channel for the 10 part series.

Watch LYFE Motorsport set the diesel record this weekend

A rear view of the Frank 6.0 climbing Pikes Peak

A rear view of the Frank 6.0 Nissan GT-R driving up Pikes Peak. | LYFE Motorsport

Official performance figures have not been released, but you can bet that this racer will easily produce over 1,000 hp. After all, it has to be enough to push the car’s 4,000-pound weight to 14,000 feet in a hurry. But with a diesel engine, that shouldn’t be a problem.

To watch Powelson and the LYFE Motorsport team set the Pikes Peak diesel record, tune in to Mobil 1’s Facebook page for live coverage of the event.

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