Nissan Plans Another Stab At Nrburgring Record In New GT-R: TTAC Talks To Chief Engineer

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Nissan appears to be preparing for another go at Germany’s Nürburgring. The time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the northern loop of the iconic Nürburgring racecourse is widely regarded as benchmark for speed and handling of a sports car. Nissan is emboldened by the performance of the new GT-R sports car, which its Chief Engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno showed TTAC last weekend on a track behind a Nissan factory in Oppama, Japan.

The 2013 GT-R has a reworked 6-cylinder dual turbocharged engine, and a retuned suspension, amongst other refinements. In internal tests, the new GT-R rounded the Nordschleife in 7 minutes 18 seconds, more than 8 seconds better than its old 7:26:70 time of 2009. However, the 7:18 time would put the GT-R some 7 places away from the top of an informal list kept at the crowdsourced Wikipedia Encyclopedia. This fact does not seem to discourage Mizuno-san.

When asked whether he thinks the GT-R can best the 7:14 claimed unofficially by the Porsche 918, and even beat the 7:12:13 of the Dodge Viper ACR, the “Godfather of the GT-R” nods.“The car definitely has potential. There is quite a bit of margin in those 7 minutes 18 seconds,” Mizuno says and smiles.

“This version here already is good for less than 7 Minutes,” says Mizuno-san, pointing at the new track edition of the GT-R. It features a roll-cage, has most of the GT-R’s luxurious interior removed, exposing the bare metal, but features the same engine as the regulation GT-R. The 550 horses of its engine make contact with the pavement using Dunlop slick tires, developed especially for the GT-R. The car currently is not street legal in Japan due to the fact that it does not have the function that limits all cars in Japan to a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). Being only a slightly modified GT-R, it could easily be made street-legal, I am told.

However, Mizuno-san is energetically opposed to using heavily modded cars for the track attack: “We use the same car the customer uses.” Stock GT-R , no roll cage, regular three point belt. According to Mizuno, cars like the Radical SR8, a perennial list leader, have no place on a list of record of street legal production cars. “A car that needs its engine rebuilt after a few hours is no production car,” says the former Nissan race director as he crosses his forearms before his chest, the Japanese sign for “NO.”

Given the weather conditions at the Nürburgring, it is unlikely that the attempt will be made this year.

Stay tuned for a TTAC inside report on how the GT-R engine is built. This coming week in Thetruthaboutcars.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Signal11 Signal11 on Nov 13, 2012

    Gotta agree with Mizuno here. The Radical and even the Donkervoort aren't "real" production cars. I've seen and know of guys who use GT-Rs as daily drivers. You ain't walking out of your apartment to go to work on a Monday in a Radical.

  • NMGOM NMGOM on Nov 13, 2012

    Signal11... I agree, too. "You ain’t walking out of your apartment to go to work on a Monday in a Radical." Especially in northern Minnesota in January. At least you can do that in a GT-R, and I know some folks in WI who use them in all that salt! (Bloody shame.) -----------

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