Nissan GT-R NISMO earns its wing at the 'Ring
TOKYO, Nov. 19, 2013
TOKYO, Nov. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --On a stage, under lights and before the
flash of cameras, the new Nissan GT-R NISMO bows on the eve of the Tokyo
International Motor Show. But it was on a damp Monday afternoon in September
that the car set out to make its mark at the most challenging and renowned
racing circuit in the world – the Nurburgring.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131119/CL19842 )
Four experienced drivers took turns at the controls of the Nissan GT-R NISMO
fitted with track options at the famous track on September 30, two laps of the
Nordschleife (North Loop) each. The goal: set the Nurburgring record for the
fastest lap by a volume production car.
At 4:48 p.m., 12 minutes before the Nordschleife was scheduled to close, and
five minutes before rain began to fall, the last of the four drivers on his
last run of the day posted the record time of 7:08.679.
Why the 'Ring?
In some ways, this epic lap was the culmination of 24 years of GT-R testing at
the 'Ring, which began in 1989 with the R32 Skyline GT-R. Since then, all
cars wearing the legendary GT-R badge have been proven on the track and gone
on to critical acclaim in the market.
When the new Nissan GT-R NISMO edition was conceived as the flagship of the
NISMO brand, the team agreed the car would first have to earn its place atop
the range before the world would see the final design in an auto show setting.
So as show-cars were being readied for debut on stage on two continents on the
same day, at the Tokyo International Motor Show and the Los Angeles
International Auto Show, NISMO engineers built a prototype to confirm on the
tarmac of the Nurburgring.
"A good lap time of the 'Ring is part of the credibility of a top performance
car," says Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice president of Product Planning
and Brand Strategy. "Most of the cars that lap in the low seven minutes are
hand-built, very expensive supercars. We have created something that does
better than nearly all those cars, and I think that's quite an achievement. No
one is anywhere near Nissan when you take value for money into account. And
that's what the brand stands for – innovation and excitement for everyone."
Those Nissan GT-R initials, says Palmer, are special. "They stand for Gran
Turismo Racing. The 'GT' is all about four seats and fast miles over a long
distance in comfort. 'R' is the race breed, and the credibility of being able
to go fast on a circuit. The four seats are very important to us – it's a
four-seater and a very fast supercar. That's quite a combination."
NISMO – Nissan's motor sport specialists – brings years of track experience,
especially in Super GT racing and in events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Nissan's goal, Palmer says, "Combine the two and the result is the fastest
factory Nissan GT-R to ever conquer the Nurburgring."
The record run was set after months of testing and tuning that began at the
Nurburgring early in the summer and continued on-and-off until the last day of
The cast, crew and drivers
Nissan brought four highly accomplished race drivers to exercise the car, each
with a chance to drive the fastest lap. They included Infiniti Red Bull third
driver Sebastien Buemi, NISMO global brand ambassador and racer Michael Krumm,
German touring car (and 'Ring) veteran Armin Hahne, and a Japanese driver,
Tetsuya Tanaka, an experienced 'Ring hand himself.
Preparing for the run
The crew arrived at the track to find ideal conditions as they began preparing
"The weather was perfect," says Krumm. "Cool. No rain. Not too windy. We had
the afternoon to try for the record. The car was in road trim. The Nissan GT-R
NISMO with track options was used."
Others taking the wheel that day for preparation laps included Nissan's most
experienced Nurburgring test driver, 57-year old Hiroyoshi Kato. Kato admits
that he's done "over 5000 laps of the 'Ring – yet it never gets boring." He
first tested there in 1988. He's driven all the different GT-R iterations,
starting with the R32 Skyline launched in 1989.
Kato-san was on-hand as part of the crew. His technical and dynamic feedback
were crucial to the development engineers, as they fine-tuned the Nissan GT-R
NISMO at the 'Ring over the summer and early autumn.
He also had an unusual task. He is normally the first driver to lap the track.
"It's for safety reasons. The Nurburgring is very long and it circumnavigates
high ground, so the surface conditions can be quite different from one side to
the other. So, I report back to the team on the state of the circuit to
prevent any bad surprises," he says with a smile.
A team effort
Each driver completed two laps. They took turns at the wheel, each with a
strategy developed from what they learned from the previous driver. It was a
Sebastien Buemi went first.
"I did a 7:12 on my first lap," he says. "I stopped to take some fuel out to
reduce the weight. I was on the way to do a lap under 7:10 – it was a fast one
– but on the back straight it started to run out of fuel. I got back to the
paddock but the lap was ruined. I would like to congratulate Michael Krumm for
achieving the targeted record."
Michael Krumm went last. His first lap was 7:10.
On his next lap, Krumm crossed the finish line at 7:08.679 – posting the
record for the fastest-ever time for a factory GT-R on the Nurburgring.
Krumm credits the Nissan GT-R NISMO's* prowess in handling with as its
strength on the race track and the road.
"For a car to be fun you need a good ratio between the power and the grip in
the corners," he says. "The Nissan GT-R NISMO* can be really fast with respect
to its power because its balance is superb. That balance is a very important
factor in the driving enjoyment."
In the end, Krumm's run in the Nissan GT-R Nismo* lapped the Nurburgring 10
seconds faster than the previous Nissan GT-R best – 7:18 recorded in October
*: Nissan GT-R Nismo with track options
oNISMO, a short form of "Nissan Motorsports," is the performance brand for
Nissan, and is one of the company's purveyors of "innovation that
oNISMO offers products featuring innovative technology and high performance
to a wide range of customers for street use. NISMO cars provide an
exciting driving experience with motorsports-inspired aerodynamics and
styling, enhanced handling characteristics and unmatched agility.
oIn the motorsports world, NISMO competes in the highest forms of GT and
sports car racing, such as Japan's Super GT Series and the World Endurance
Championships (WEC), as well as providing engines to teams that compete in
the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The Nissan
GT-R captured the Super GT championship in 2011 and 2012.
About Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is
headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Operating with approximately 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than
4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16
billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60
models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands.
In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in
zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle
launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable
mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/
Contact: Josh Clifton, 1-615-725-1767, firstname.lastname@example.org
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