March 4, 2008

A Nissan GT-R compendium

Now fully fascinated by the GT-R and especially people's reaction to it, I'll jot down a few points from EVO's first review. I just found the Italian edition of the March issue in my local news shop, I'll translate and paraphrase a few passages:

There is a sidebar about the factory with a description of the break-in procedure each GT-R is put through:

" the cars come off the assembly line they are transported to the local track for testing.
Test driver Kazuo Shishikura, resplendent in his red race boots and matching Nismo gloves, tells us this mile long circuit is very "easy" but goes on to say the test is anything but. The first two laps are completed at 100km/h (62mph) with the accelerator pedal floored and the left foot on the brakes: this brutal treatment is to bed in the brakes. Then four standing starts to test the transmission and work in the clutch plates and a couple of trips over a rough section of track ("like an English country road") will check the suspension. Finally, after these tests, the new GT-R will be ready to be drives, and probably brutalized by its new owner..."
From the main article:

"...Nissan was able to negotiate out of the JDM "gentleman's agreement" to limit cars to 280hp by promising that the GT-R will be much more difficult to tune and chip thanks to an ECU ready to alert factory techs (axis note: yeah right that will do it!) . They have even eliminated ceramic turbos in favour of steel ones, faster but also more heat sensitive. The idea being making Japanese roads safer by making it harder for tuners to have 800hp cars with stock brakes...."
" ...despite it's blocky shape it has a cD of 0.27..."

"...the cylinders are "plasma coated" for cooling..."
"...when you select auto mode for the transmission, fuel consumption is acceptable as sixth gear can be selected evn as slow as 50km/h..."
"...even on the "comfort" setting, the suspension is stiff and jarring..."
"...the interior leather finish is first rate..."
Moving to the test track:
"I floor it in second gear...the last time I was surprised like that had been two days earlier when I was blindsided by a high pressure water jet when sitting on a Japanese toilet..."
" the tires warm up, the balance of the car shifts to understeer, the front end tends to wash out under the 250kg of twin turbo V6 in the nose..."
" the 2/10th shift time feels slow compared to the 0.06 of a Scuderia , but one does not feel the need for a faster shift..."
" the end of the session it becomes clear that the GT-R is a car that likes to be driven at the limit, but not much beyond. you need to be progressive on corner exit or the front end will wash out. Only once the steering angle is reduced you can floor it..." (axis note: normal 4wd behavior)
"..under braking, tramlining is disconcerting but once all the 1740kg are back on the road the car sorts it all out..."
"...fuel consumption on boost is epic..."
" ...the soundtrack is not very exciting but to be honest, you will be so busy with the speed and scenery moving by that bypassing all "non-essential" sensations to concentrate on steering and braking correctly will be essential..."
"...the GT-R won me over. It's a banzai experience and the car deserves to be called a supercar..."

The article is by Henry Catchpole, EVO's publisher I think, and you should go out and buy it for the full review.

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