On May 1st, Derek Whitis’ Freedom Autosport team – featuring veteran Grand Am Rolex driver Tom Long – will set out from their Florida home with just one goal in mind: to bring home the 2009 TireRack Cannonball One Lap of America (presented by Motor Trend) winner’s trophy.
For 2009, Freedom Autosport will be campaigning a heavily modified Nissan R35 GTR, which has been tuned by Tym Switzer’s Ohio-based tuning house to deliver more than 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque to the Nissan’s tires - on 93 octane pump gas! In Whitis’ own words, “the GTR is a phenomenal car in stock form, but the guys at Switzer were able to turn a 500 lb gorilla into a 1000 lb King Kong in a way that makes this car faster, more linear, and easier to drive than anything I’ve ever experienced.”
Tom Long seconds Whitis’ initial impressions, adding that “the capability Switzer added to our GTR is incredible. They took a well engineered car, with world-class performance, and stepped it up to the next level. The smooth power delivery provided by a linear torque curve enables me to apply throttle all the way through the corner with absolute control … amazing!”
That added power – from Nissan’s stock 480 hp to over 800 at the crank – comes courtesy of Switzer’s P800 performance package that adds upgraded turbochargers, custom intake assemblies, 900cc injectors, a pair of Switzer’s MONSTER intercoolers, and Switzer’s custom software calibration, and exits through a unique Freedom Autosport-developed lightweight exhaust system.
All that added power is only one aspect of Freedom Autosport’s total package, however. The signal-green GTR makes extensive use MIT-developed of active-aero components from AeroMotions, as well lightweight carbon body panels from Password:JDM, while components from Performance Friction & Motorsport Brake Specialists, Stillen, GT-RR.com, Forged Performance, Kraft Nissan of Tallahassee, NAGTROC.com, WillAll Racing, and JRZ suspension help the car stop better and turn nearly as hard as it accelerates.
“We’re really looking forward to running the OneLap this year,” explains Whitis”Our team name and charity, the Wounded Support Fund, is all about giving a little thanks to the men and women who’ve been protecting us for the last 230 years. Freedom Autosport runs the US Marine Corps. insignia on all its cars in honor of my brother-in-law, Major Tim Anderson, but also in honor of all the soldiers who are out there risking their lives so we can be free to run events like these at home. We have veterans on our team, there are veterans on our sponsors’ payroll, and there are veterans to be counted among the seasoned Lap Dogs we’ll be running with this year.”
The 2009 running of the TireRack Cannonball OneLap of America (presented by Motor Trend) kicks off May 1st at TireRack headquarters in South Bend, Indiana and wraps up 8 days and 3200 mile later, again in South Bend. Will the Freedom Autosport/Switzer GTR break Porsche’s string of six consecutive OneLap victories and bring home the gold? We’ll find out soon enough.
For more information about this legendary race, visit http://www.onelapofamerica.com.