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'98 SCCA Nationals

Text and photos by Pat Griffith

Many autocrossers say an SE-R or NX2000 can no longer be competitive in D Stock.   They just can't hang with the "factory racecar" -- the Neon.  Those same people say the same thing about SE-Rs and NX2000s in C Street Prepared -- the Nissans are too heavy and don't handle as well as the rest of the killer CSP cars, namely the Hondas, Mazda rotaries and BMW M3s.

However, none of those people fault the little four-cylinder that powers our beloved cars.  "Good torque for a four banger," some say.  "The engine is bulletproof," others say.  And WE all know about the SR20DE's horsepower.

So what would happen if someone took an SR20DE and plopped it in a lightweight car that handles well?  It would probably would be a nationally competitive car, right?  Well Jeff Ellerby has already done it ... AND has an SCCA National Championship to boot.

Jeff took a 1994 Westfield SE (basically a Lotus Super 7) and dropped in an engine from a junked '91 Sentra SE-R.  The SR20DE looks almost stock sitting in the engine bay of his little (1,205 pound) Westfield.  Stock fuel injection, stock intake manifold, stock alternator, stock mass airflow sensor, stock throttle body ... heck, it even has an SE-R shifter and boot!!  They only thing that's been done to the engine is a header, Jim Wolf Technology cams, a JWT ECU and the removal of emissions garbage.   Sounds like about half the SE-Rs in the country, huh?

However there is a major difference between the Westfield and a run-of-the-mill SE-R or NX2000 -- Jeff's car is rear wheel drive!!  He hacked away and matched a four-speed Nissan truck transmission to the SE-R engine.  So now he has a lightweight, SR20DE-powered car that is "right" wheel drive.

In 1997, Jeff drove his car to the SCCA's D Modified championship.  In 1998, he was a runner-up in D Mod, and Jeff's wife, Teresa, was a runner-up in D Mod Ladies.

Here are some pictures of Jeff's Westfield SE(-R):

se3_small.JPG (2402 bytes) se1_small.JPG (1879 bytes) Jeff on the South Course at the '98 SCCA National Championships.

se2_small.JPG (3170 bytes) A rear view of his car as it sits in impound.

engine_small.JPG (5255 bytes) Yup, that's an SE-R engine.  Notice where the MAF leads to (the air filter is practically sitting in the passenger "seat").

sr20des_small.JPG (2910 bytes)   All the SR20DE-powered cars at the '98 SCCA Nationals -- Jeff's car in the foreground, then (l-r) Larry McLeod's 200SX SE-R, Matt Niaura's NX2000 and my Sentra SE-R.