Cross-country rally races are the stuff of American legend - and if you dig back further, cross-continental rallies like the Mille Miglia or Panamericana have been favorites around the world almost since the birth of the car. So the 2009 TireRack Cannonball OneLap of America taps into a tradition that's at once old and cherished yet also new and exciting, thanks to the high-tech hardware that's contending for the crown.

One such high-tech highway weapon is the Switzer P800 Nissan GT-R. Based on the new R35 GT-R, the P800 is an even more powerful sibling to the P700 we covered back in March (also pictured above).

That car rated 626hp (467kW) at the wheels, but in P800 tune, the figures have climbed over 700hp (522kW). As Derek Whitis, head of the Freedom Autosport team, put it, "the GTR is a phenomenal car in stock form, but the guys at Switzer were able to turn a 500lb gorilla into a 1000lb King Kong in a way that makes this car faster, more linear, and easier to drive than anything I’ve ever experienced."

Taking the wheel of the beast from the east will be Grand Am Rolex driver Tom Long. The One Lap is the spiritual descendant of Brock Yates' Cannonball Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash - or, to fans, simply the Cannonball - but with decidedly less illegal activity involved.

Long echoes Whitis' sentiments about the car, too, saying, "the capability Switzer added to our GTR is incredible.... 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!"

Another underlying theme of the race, at least for the Freedom Autosports and Switzer Performance team, is a desire to end Porsche's streak at the current six consecutive wins. The fight is a familiar one to fans on either side - just think of the 'Ring time battle - and it's especially close to Switzer's heart, since their primary business isn't tuning Nissans - it's tuning Porsches.

The 2009 TireRack Cannonball OneLap of America gets underway on May 1st at TireRack HQ, located in South Bend, Indiana, taking a 3,200mi (5,120km) route around the country, ending up once again in South Bend.

Switzer Performance R700 GT-R hits 626AWHP on the dyno