Track REport: VIR

Unleashing MEchaGODZILLA at VIR

4y ago

After owning 2 previous R35 GTRs ( a 2009 & 2012 Black Edition) and frequently tracking them here is my assessment of how the GTR NISMO directly compared being driven at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The stiffened chassis and tightened allow for instantly noticeable more direct inputs. The NISMO tuned suspension is so stiff that it borderlines on being too harsh and unforgiving on anything but the smoothest of pavements. On a normal road you can tell the difference between driving over a penny or a nickel and the car veers to find any imperfection in said road. But at VIR with the recently repaved tarmac everything gels together to produced an overall more precise driving experience. For a car that is heavier and sits so high compared to its competitors, the lack of both body roll and under steer proved the most striking element of the day.

This is mainly due to the GTR NISMO getting a chassis that is 8% more rigid due to a special adhesive element applied to key points including the A pillar. Working with a specially dialed in Bilstein suspension the result is a mucj more responsive turn in than what I experienced in my previous GTRs. The new power curve gives the car its own personality versus the standard GTR . The larger IHI Turbos lifted directly from the GT3 Racing NISMO GTR feel more like a linear wave of power up to the 7100 RPM redline vs the sudden jolt of power you get when mashing the gas of the non NISMO variants. This contributed to achieving around 7 mph more over the blind crest on the backstretch before my courage ran out. Applying the Brembo brakes at these speeds felt solid despite a little extra initial pedal travel that is part of a re-calibration to the otherwise mechanically unchanged set up.

My racing background is mostly in Autocross so by habit I tend to over use the brakes and attack every turn as a single obstacle rather than seeing the bigger picture. The NISMO seemed to almost be forgiving with this style and I was shocked to go back and watch my videos of my laps to see how uneventful it looked and how little steering input the car needed from me to get around the track. This NISMO is all about balance as even with 600hp its no longer the highest powered super car in the pantheon and at 3883lbs its certainly not lightest and in the new era or hybrid power it not longer is the newest technological wonder on the block. The sum of its parts comes together to produce a totally confidence inspiring feeling behind the wheel even at speeds of 160mph. The car felt very planted at those speeds and I felt as if the aero package was doing its job. At the end of the day the burn in and coloring of the Titanium Exhaust felt like a $13,000 badge of honor. I could not be happier with the overall on track experience the GTR NISMO provides a mere mortal driver like myself

At the end of the day the burn in and coloring of the Titanium Exhaust felt like a $13,000 badge of honor

Matt McCulloh
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