An Exclusive Interview with Erik Nilssen
1. Good day, Erik. Thanks for joining us. Let’s begin with your introduction.
I’m Erik Nilssen, 33, and I live in Norway. I’m the founder of VTS-Racing and also work on sub-sea cables on a daily basis.
Photo: Gatebil Mantorp Park June 2018
2. What’s your story? We met you when we did Fredric Aasbo’s Gatebil video last year, since you are responsible for his European programs. I’m sure our audience would like to read your story. Can you tell us more about VTS-Racing and how it led to Fredric’s GT86 program?
My dad has always been into racing and racecars. I was at my first Le Mans 24H at the age of 5 months. After that, I got obsessed with taking things apart and putting them back together (most of the time). My education background is in electronics, but I have always been into mechanics. I didn’t do well in school, but I never let my dyslexia stop me.
In 2006, I founded VTS-Racing and from then on have been pushing myself all the time to learn new things like fabrication, TIG welding, tube bending, turbo setup and so on. I have also always helped friends and other people with tuning and modifying their streetcars.
One day I did my own project. It was a Peugeot 106 Rallye. I put in a turbo, then a bigger turbo, brakes and handling. Now it’s a full tube frame chassis RWD converted 106, and the project is still on-going, but put aside for Fredric for now.
Video: Powerslide Gatebil Mantorp 2018
I’ve known Fredric since way before we started working together. We got to know each other at Gatebil. I think we go back almost 8 years, before we started working together. It was late October 2015 when he gave me a call and asked if I would like to take over his European programs. After a bit of thinking I said YES. Well, the pictures speak from then on to this day.
3. Can you tell us about the GT86 build and your expertise behind it? Any other projects you would like to mention?
So in November 2015 I got the car and did a total strip-down. The only things left were the chassis with the roll cage. I put in a new engine, new wire harness, new ECU, a completely new front and rear suspensions, new turbo, new IC piping, and so on.
I changed everything I thought would take a lot of time to change or would be difficult to access, so that if it broke down, everything would be faster and easier to change. The goal with this car is RUNTIME. It always has to be running. Don’t have time for so many projects in-between.
4. We see you are involved with 3D printing of mechanical parts. Please tell us more about it. Is it one of the VTS-Racing’s services?
Yes, I have 3D printers and can do prints up to 300x200x440mm. I do a lot of test printing and prototyping new parts for Jane. I have a lot of ideas for the motorsport industry, but I never have the time to get to every one, because VTS is something I work on in the evenings and weekends( Fredric, or Jane, being my main priority).
VTS can deliver electrical harnesses to complete machined long-block engines, all types of TIG welding, fabrication of street metal, CAD drawings, and 3D printing.
I had a quick chat with Erik Nilssen, a true fan of Grumblo. He admires Grumblo’s vision, to bring you sounds of performance, just raw engine sounds. He is a man who builds and maintains cars on the search for the perfect engine noise. He chooses engine sound over any factor, for example he could tune a less reliable rotary engine over a trustworthy V8 just because he loves the sound of it.
Video: Gatebil Mantorp 2017
He says that he could spend long hours on Grumblo, just continuing to watch videos, in the search for the perfect sound. Grumblo helps him a lot when he’s at bigger tracks, as he stays in the pit and can’t hear the car in person. So, he just goes to Grumblo.com to watch the replay of Aasbo’s round and he’s fully satisfied. (Samuel)
6. Fire Away. Do you have any exciting plans you would like to share with us?
Hmm… What might they be? We are always on the look for new projects. You never know when we will show up with something new 🙂
7. Anything you would like to say to the passionate mechanical engineers, mechanics, and racecar drivers?
Once again, thank you Erik for being such great supporter of our mission and your time for this interview. We look forward to seeing you at motorsport events and making the world a noisier place together. 🙂
Videos & Photo shoot by Samuel Kolsmyr