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Monday, 9 September 2013

Nissan GT-R NISMO Gets Low To Make You Get High

Nissan GT-R NISMO Prototype on the usual circuit
Aha! I know what will end the crossover spree this blog is in danger of experiencing. Spy shots from the Nürburgring a week or two ago revealed a Nissan GT-R shaped prototype undergoing testing. When we consider that Nissan Motorsport (NISMO) has confirmed that it's making a hot version of the GT-R - a car already so adept at giant-slaying it has almost become a giant of its own, fat jokes aside - these shots of a GT-R with a body kit and chunky rear wing all covered in shape-masking camouflage become rather exciting.

It's only when you obscure the bone lines and surfacing that you see just how chunky the R35 is...
Currently wearing the six-spoke wheels seen on the V-Spec and later Track Pack versions, this is the first time Nissan themselves will do anything particularly radical to the R35-generation GT-R's exterior. The big wing is self-explanatory, but the deeper skirts stretch all around the bottom of the car, lowering the ground clearance and producing a pronounced lip for aerodynamic reasons. I would say it has lower suspension, but the photographs show it going round a corner, so physics may well be tricking us here. There are also a lot more gills for the venting or channelling of air than before, near the wheels.

Why did they cover up the blacked-out A-Pillars? Does that really throw people off and make them think it's something else?
Peering through the windscreen we can see new bucket seats (oh, and a Carscoops logo, because they own the pictures). But what's under the bonnet? Well, it'll still be the bespoke hand-made "VR38DETT" engine, but experts predict that it will gain at least 30 more horses into its 542-strong stable, and all 570+bhp will still be sent carefully through all four wheels using their long serving torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, which they call "ATTESA-ETS" and originally developed for the R32 Skyline GT-R back in the late 80s.

As well as more power, carbon fibre will apparently be used extensively to try to cut some weight from the standard car's quite hefty 1740kg. The GT-R's creator Kazutoshi Mizuno justifies that weight by saying that a ~600kg Formula 1 car makes ~1200kg of downforce in a fast corner, and that a ~1200kg GT racing car makes ~600kg of downforce in a fast corner, so by that logic a 1740kg car that makes 60kg of downforce is ideal! Alas, heavy cars aren't as fun or as agile, so I'm glad to see that they're swapping some of the mass for more downforce. The GT-R and all its techno witchcraft is already way more agile - and quite a bit more exciting - than a car that heavy should be, so one with more aggressive tyres and a better mass-to-downforce ratio (as it were) would be intense.

But there's more.

A lower weight, stickier tyres and more power will cut the 0-60 time. Again, the current car punches way above its paper figures in this respect and does 0-60 in a staggering 2.7 seconds (with Launch Control active). But the NISMO version can - allegedly - do the benchmark sprint dramatically faster than that. In fact, one alleged insider allegedly told Auto Express that it can hit 60mph from rest in as little as 2.0 seconds. Two seconds flat!! To add perspective, the AWD, 1200PS Bugatti Veyron Super Sport takes 2.4 seconds, and the current record for a production car is the bonkers Ariel Atom 500 V8 at 2.3 seconds. The word 'insane' is massively overused by internet writers, but if the NISMO GT-R can actually do that, then it would justify use of the word. I would assume that modifying the "GR6" dual-clutch transmission with shorter gearing and/or quicker changes would have to be in order for it to pull that off as well, though. The added drag from the bigger wing would lower the top speed from 196mph (as would a shorter 6th gear, although I doubt they'd shorten all the gears for a faster 0-60 time), but this could be counterbalanced by the extra power. Maybe if it's nearer 600 horsepower, we could even be looking at a bona fide 200mph Nissan...

More vents on the back, and the NISMO titanium exhaust seen on the V-Spec and Track Pack
This hardcore GT-R NISMO could well be the first fruit of the NISMO-Williams technology partnership and will appear towards the latter half of next year, quite possibly as the bang with which the R35 will go out, as Nissan has confirmed that the next-generation R36 GT-R will be released in "late 2015". Unless there's a NISMO-RS version in between like they've suggested before. While we're talking about alleged this and apparent that, there's a high chance that the R36 GT-R will be a hybrid of some sort. This may be worrying, especially if it's still a heavy car, but if it's a KERS-style hybrid like the Geneva hypercars that actually improves performance while adding eco-cred, I'm sure we'll learn to cope. Besides, the upcoming Americonda NSX is a hybrid, so it wouldn't be the alone in going hybrid if it did...

But back to the car we see here (which, like the 2009 V-Spec, is likely to cost more than £100,000 - a price that seems steep until you out-fox a Veyron with it). The Nissan GT-R NISMO "is the GT-R with which we pursue pure performance," according to Nissan GT-R and NISMO Chief Product Specialist Hiroshi Tamura in a press statement. "It is for people who search for true performance with pure motorsports flavour. Its development is on schedule, and I can’t wait to see the model introduced into the markets."

Neither can I, Tamura-San. Neither can I. In fact, I look forward to it appearing in Gran Turismo 6 as DLC!

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