By on November 10, 2012

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.

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18 Comments on “Nissan Plans Another Stab At Nürburgring Record In New GT-R: TTAC Talks To Chief Engineer...”

  • avatar

    Me thinks Nissan needs to add two things to the GT-R in order to run with the really big dogs.


    • 0 avatar

      Maybe six things.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d say they are running with the really big dogs, and beating many of them. And that motor has been shown to get plenty of horsepower on just the six cylinders.

      Anyway, I think the big factors at this point are probably:


      • 0 avatar
        Silent Ricochet

        I’m inclined to agree with imag. The car already does 0-60 in 3 seconds much like the ZR1 (which has two extra cylinders and a supercharger). If it’s as disgustingly quick as a ZR1 then I’d have to say that speed isn’t it’s problem but rather corners, and we all know that the GTR already goes through the twisties quite well.

      • 0 avatar


        – Balance, too (It’s terribly nose-heavy).


      • 0 avatar

        >Balance, too (It’s terribly nose-heavy).
        …And it has AWD to wrestle the front end around. Not sure it is that important to the GTR’s game plan.

      • 0 avatar


        The Heavy Front / AWD combo is peculiar in a performance car:
        1) In moderate road use with “spirited” driving, it feels anesthetized and robotic, certainly not light;
        2) For track use and racing, it is good when really slippery, but the car often feels like it’s pushing unnecessary weight around up there.

        You’ll note that the 24 Hours of Nürburgring this year was won (SP8 Class) by an Audi R8 LMS Ultra , — WITHOUT the Quattro system: just RWD only. (It must have taken some real soul-searching for Audi to enter a car without their beloved Quattro!)

        If I had a certain given chassis design and/or weight limit to achieve, I’d have to ask myself really earnestly about if I should just go with RWD and more HP from a bigger engine; or go with AWD and a smaller engine. Nissan GT-R sales are flat and VERY low** in the USA, so folks here obviously feel you get more fun and “bang-for-the-buck” from something else, like a Corvette, an M3, or a Boxster.



  • avatar

    Why not build a Nurburgring edition GT-R? Replace body panels with Carbon Fiber, use ultra lightweight wheels, r compound tires, yank out the back seat, take out interior body panels and sound deadening, remove ac and stereo, adjustable aero and suspension…this is what the Viper ACR is anyway and its what you can buy from the dealer. Do a run of 200 for $200k and I’m sure you’ll sell everyone of them, not to mention the media attention it will garner. That being said, I wouldn’t complain about seing the six swapped for a hypothetical vk45dd or vk56dd (or hypothetically, a VK45DDTT or VK56DDTT), although I realize the turbo six is part of the GT-R image (just wish it was still an I-6).

  • avatar

    If the new Nissan GT-R can be tested around the Nordschleife by an independent, professional driver, such as Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch, and NOT overdriven, then the lap-times may have some comparative meaning.

    Otherwise, they are just not helpful. Jim Mero did the “barely-hanging-on” thing in a Corvette about a year ago, and those times could never be reproduced.

    I should note that von Saurma-Jeltsch’s “Sport-Auto” magazine has frequently been petitioned by Nissan to do the testing on GT-R’s as they progress, so that would be nothing new.

    The previous list, more than 1-year old, from testing by von Saurma-Jeltsch, is shown below. Those times WILL be slower than each companies’ official times listed in Wikipedia, because von Saurma-Jeltsch follows his own very strict rules about lapping the Nordshclelfe, with which he is familiar for over 30 years.

    1 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Mk2 620…… 7:24
    2 Gumpert Apollo Sport 700…………. 7:24
    3 McLaren MP4-12C 592………… 7:28
    4 Porsche 911GT3 RS 4.0 500…… 7:30
    5 Porsche Carrera GT 612………… 7:32
    6 Porsche 911 GT2 Mk1 530………… 7:33
    7 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Mk2 450…… 7:33
    8 Pagani Zonda F 602……………….. 7:33
    9 Audi R8 GT 560……………………… 7:34
    10 Koenigsegg CCR 806……………….. 7:34
    11 Nissan GT-R R35 Mk2 530…………. 7:34
    12 RUF Rt12 997 650……………….. 7:35
    13 Nissan GT-R R35 Mk2 530…………. 7:36
    14 Lambo G. LP570-4 S.L. 570…… 7:38
    15 Corvette ZR-1 647………………. 7:38
    16 Lexus LFA 560…………………….. 7:38
    17 Ferrari 458 Italia 570………………. 7:38
    18 Nissan GT-R R35 Mk1 486………… 7:38
    19 Techart GTStreet 997 Mk1 630….. 7:39
    20 Ferrari 430 Scuderdia 510………… 7:39
    21 Porsche 911 GT3 Mk2 435….. 7:40
    22 Mercedes SLS AMG 571………… 7:40

    See data table in the link below, even though McLaren was the topic in that test:

    As you can see, the Nissan GT-R would have a way to go when tested properly. This may be a reality statement: the Nordschlelfe lap times have become more of a marketing tool for sport-car manufacturers than a honest appraisal of vehicle performance. To Nissan’s credit, they have been willing to get independent testing done.


    • 0 avatar

      All that is measured in this irrelevant metric is how quickly the lap the track. That’s it. There is no real testing procedures, and there are no real equivalencies in either Nissan nor Sport-Auto. Neither has any real level of reproducibility.

      Obviously; driver, weather, temperature, etc. etc. etc. are all factors in lap times, Sport-Auto is just are non-scientific as any manufacturer’s lap data. The only constant variable is von Saurma. Basically, for all manufacturers its what laptime is the best achieved in hundreds, if not thousands, of laps, under various conditions with various drivers. Its a marketing tool for expensive toys.

    • 0 avatar

      Von Saurma may be consistent, but the conditions he does his laps in are not. The track he does those laps on is not. And the cars he does those laps on are not.

      How does a lap on worn tires on an abused test car compare to a lap with a new car on fresh tires? Or on a properly-broken in car on properly heat-cycled and meticulously rotated tires with tread worn down to the proper height for extra block stiffness but not overheated to compound degrading levels?

      His laps are, like Top Gear’s own leaderboard, suggestive but not definitive. I’d say, however, the 7:24 for the new GT2 suggests something spectacular. Only to be expected with 600 horsepower, though.

      • 0 avatar


        There are several issues here:

        1) Car Condition. To my knowledge, those cars are not just picked up somewhere by Von Saurma,–they are furnished by the manufacturer just for this lap test. So, it’s up to them to make sure the vehicle is in top condition, including tuning, break-in, and tires. (In the original data table from the link, you’ll notice the preponderance of “semi-slick” tires that the car makers have put on for this test,— something that would not have occurred if Sport Auto magazine just borrowed a road car from a local dealership. BTW: McLaren did NOT use regular semi-slicks: they were Pirelli P-Zero Corsa’s.)

        2) Track Condition. This is, of course, the “Achille’s heal” of all outdoor testing. I have been an advocate of trying to get skid-pad and slalom courses inside inflatable tents better to control atmospheric and weather conditions. But how do you do that with a 12.9-mile race track? You can’t. So you just have to do multiple runs on multiple days and hope for no rain. Certainly, in that area of Germany, temperatures will at least be moderate. But even then, that may explain why Von Saurma did two runs (both listed) of the Nissan GT-R R35 Mk2: perhaps things were not just right the first time, and Nissan requested a second try?

        3) Yes, the lap time from the 600-HP Porsche 911 GT2 RS Mk2 was impressive. But, for me, what is even more impressive is the lap time from the 500-HP Porsche 911GT3 RS 4.0, which has 30-HP less than the Nissan GT-R, but still beat it handily, yet has “only” RWD. You’ll notice that the AWD Porsche Turbo is not on the list; and the AWD Lambo, with 570 HP, is worse than the Nissan GT-R with 530 HP.

        The important thing about having a standard, competent, experienced, professional test driver is that one very large variable has been removed from all this ‘Ring testing. (Von Saurma is the “inheritor” of the famous Han Stuck, and was his friend.) Perhaps with time, other variables can be removed, too.

        One of the lapping criteria is to find the point at which the car feels “natural” and almost drives itself around the track, — to find the car’s comfort zone, not the driver’s comfort zone. In other words, you should not have to “thrash” or “push” a car to get good results. The driver should be very calm, and have to make only minor motions. The car, like a racehorse, will “want” to do the run quite on its own at a certain level. I know that sounds a bit silly, but if you’ve ever done road testing, some cars just plain “want” go about the task easily and others don’t, even at the same HP and weight.


    • 0 avatar

      Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche

  • avatar
    el scotto

    *cough* burgerkingenring *cough*

  • avatar

    550 hp is quite an accomplishment from a V6, yet the GT-R is in the territory where those last few seconds of reduced lap time get more and more costly. It takes a little bit of everything, downforce, brakes, tyres, horsepower, torgue weight reduction etc. etc. And the more you do that the further you get from a pure street car. The GT-R is already more car than most would ever need at a price many can afford, to turn it into a purpose built lap maker tends to run against type. But it’s Nissan’s money they can do what they want I certainly understand wanting to have a performance feather in their caps. Good luck to them and hope no one gets hurt trying to run a 7;12 without a roll cage. (Yeah, I get why they’re not doing it-it stiffens the chassis artifically but jeez, people have been killed at the Ring have some consideration for your driver.)

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar


    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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