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Monday, 18 November 2013

Lock Up Your 911s - Nissan GT-R NISMO Leaks Out Early

2014 Nissan GT-R NISMO
Well, we knew it was coming. It was announced last year that there would eventually be a pumped-up, hardcore version of the ballistic Nissan GT-R. It's been caught testing on - where else? - the Nürburgring, going pretty bloody fast, and now, ahead of its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show this week, pictures and details of the halo model of the newly-expanded NISMO operation have sneaked between the cracks. Welcome to the ultimate GT-R.

There have been trackday-inclined R35s before, starting with the SpecV and its eye-watering £125,000 price (thanks in part to a titanium exhaust, carbon fibre body bits and GT3-grade ceramic brakes worth £36,000 a set) and bringing us the Track Pack, which is a similar recipe but only £10k more than the standard GT-R, which these days will set you back £76,610. All Nissan have said about the NISMO on this front is that it will cost "less than $200,000" in the USA, according to Car & Driver. That translates to roughly £125,000 like the V-Spec, but then this is a far more substantial upgrade than that was.

This is mostly because, at long last, they've actually modified the engine. Actually that's a little unfair, seeing as the standard car's figure has crept up from 523 to 545bhp since the 2011 revamp, but the VR38DETT under the probably-carbon-fibre bonnet has received a bigger pair of turbochargers from the GT3 racing car, revised ignition timing, and modified intake and exhaust systems. The result is 600PS (595 bhp) at 6800rpm and "more than" 480lb/ft of torque to busy the highly-advanced torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. Apparently it would be perfectly capable of more power, but then the "GR6" dual-clutch transmission would be in trouble.

Happily, that power bump has been complimented with a 65kg weight loss, bringing it down to a still-hefty 1675kg, barely lighter than the 2009 SpecV. However, this angrier Gozdilla generates over 100kg more downforce at very high speed than the standard car, because it now has a substantial aero kit from tip to tail, trimmed in red like all new NISMO models. The high wing we saw on the prototype has made it to the finished car, although apparently the one pictured is sporting the "track package" that amps things up a bit. When the car's revealed properly I'll clear this up better as it's a big tricky to work out what's track-pack and what isn't. It's possible the 65kg carbon fibre diet plan is part of the track-upgraded version, which may be called "NISMO RS".

Plainly the looks will still be an acquired taste, but it's all there for a reason and you can't blame them for that.
As well as the normal colour choices, there will be a special matte grey unique to the NISMO version(s)
Of course, it's all very well giving the car some strong headline figures, but this car has to be able to set a lap time of under 7:10.000 on the fearsome Nordschleife, no mean feat for a big road car. So to that end it's got stiffer springs and three-mode dampers (choose between Track, Race and Race Plus), larger anti-roll bars and more adhesive bonding and structural seam welding to increase its overall rigidity. They've also given it very sticky Dunlop Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST tyres. With a name that long, they must be special. What's more the front tyres (and by extension wheels) are half an inch wider than usual, to improve turn-in and reduce understeer. These tyres hug lighter 20" RAYS alloy wheels of a bespoke design.

And so we come to the 'Ring time. Recently we've been inundated with spectacular times, such as the Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Package officially posting a staggering 6:57, the fastest time of any globally type-approved production road car, while the McLaren P1 with its 915 horsepower has been rumoured to do a ridiculous 6:45, as fast as a slick-tyred Pagani Zonda R. But neither of those can claim to be a practical(-ish) road car, whereas the NISMO GT-R can, and in track-upgrade trim it posted a 7:08.69 at the hands of Nissan's FIA GT1 driver Michael Krumm. That's a whole 30 seconds faster than the original R35 managed back in 2007, and 10 seconds faster than the stripped-out 620bhp Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

There will apparently be more tomorrow, but for now sit back in awe of the mighty Godzilla.

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