Yesterday, the new 2012 Nissan GT-R landed on rank 10 of the fastest Nordschleife lap times. The only problem is: Nissan knows absolutely nothing about this record run. As far as Nissan is concerned, it doesn’t exist, and there is nothing to say.
The entry appeared in the all-knowing crowd sourced Wikipedia, along with a pointer to a video on YouTube (above). The video looks very professionally made. The Japanese intro is, as TTAC’s consultant in cross-cultural matters, Frau Schmitto-san, assures me, a little heavy on advertising speak and a little short on information. It basically says that the GT-R ran around the Ring on a set of Dunlop Zero Pressure runflats. The video shows a credible GT-R cockpit, and the timer dutifully stops at 7:21, then the video fades to black. Slightly suspicious: The lack of fractional seconds, which often become the deciding factor in the race against the clock.
If that video is to be believed, then the new GT-R shaved off a few seconds from the 7:24.22 achieved in October 2010, but remained shy of its self-declared goal of “less than 7 minutes 20 seconds.” Not to mention that the unofficial record stands at 6:48.
A check of the Nissan press releases found no official statement. On Sunday, I called my media contact at Nissan, who sounded honestly astounded: “Never heard of it. And I should. I will look into it.” On Monday, Nissan spokesman Nobukazu Tanaka assured me that yes, in October there had been GT-R test runs on the Nürburgring, “as part of the many tests for the final trial of the 2012 model year GT-R.”
But no, there was no record attempt.
“In other words, we have no official announcement of a time trial or the results of the test run at the Nürburgring Nordschleife,” Tanaka said. He implied that at least some of the footage in the video is legit: “Video scenes which had been taken on the circuit had been broadcasted through CGM.” In the trade, CGM is used as an acronym for consumer generated media. Whether this video has eloped the Nissan studios in Yokohama, or whether someone with a copy of Adobe Premiere had made it, we’ll never know.
This adds another twist to the many turns of the Nordschleife lap time saga. Manufacturers spend lots of money and countless man days running cars around the Ring, but there are no independent time takers. Professional race drivers risk life and limb, but officially, there is no race. If a manufacturer makes a statement, then it’s usually just the time, and rarely the rank. The score is kept on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. The term “production, street legal vehicle” remains undefined, and when I ask manufacturers for a definition, they shrug their shoulders.
Because there are no rules for a race that officially does not exist, the race can easily be gamed. For years, the non-existent podium of the non-existent race has been monopolized by faux “production, street legal vehicles.” According to its owner’s manual, the Radical SR8, which occupies the two top spots of the list, needs to be started “with a laptop connected to the ECU so that all engine parameters can be monitored during warm-up.” The recommended warm-up time for the top-ranking alleged “production, street legal vehicle” is 45 minutes. No idle-stop here. It needs its engine rebuilt after 30 hours, the drive shafts need to be replaced after 20 hours, and the brake discs must be inspected/replaced after 10 hours. Some production vehicle.