"You're in a confined space, there are no halftimes, there are no timeouts,
there's no substitutions, you're the one that's in the car."
Danny Sullivan — 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner
"Braking is precision. Braking is everything. You can do so much with the gaps and the aspect and all
– When you are able to brake really late, you know and you get the car to handle better."
Maryeve Dufault — 2011 Nascar Nationwide Series Driver
"All these guys, all they've ever done is video games and I think that's great but in video games they reset a lot. Oh I had a bad lap, I need to reset. In racing you can't do that and if you make a mistake not only do you look bad, it hurts."
Boris Said — Two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona
"That was something really special. You know, the car is so direct. It just responds exactly to your input."
Bryan Heitkotter — 2011 GT Academy winner
DESIGN LIKE THIS IS NO ACCIDENT
The GT-R® is all business. There isn't anything superfluous about it. There aren't any fake vents, the spoiler isn't there to look cool (even though it does). Every accent you see, every ripple, bump, groove, and scoop is doing something.
Those vents behind the front wheels — they reduce pressure in the front wheel arches and cool the brakes.
The rear spoiler is creating downforce.
The scoops on the hood and that big opening on the grille are cooling the engine.
THE AERODYNAMIC UNDERBELLY OF SPEED
Your traditional sports car has exposed working gear under the car. Wind whips around under there, creating lift, and slowing the vehicle down. The GT-R® doesn't have this problem. The underbody is virtually covered over with a series of composite panels, giving it a smooth, flat surface.
At the front of the car, this surface accelerates the air, and channels it towards brakes that need cooling.
Underbody air is also accelerated at the back of the car by a carbon fiber diffuser that is seamlessly integrated with the composite panels.
HOW TO MAKE SPEED OUT OF THIN AIR
Nissan spent more than 3 years on GT-R's aerodynamics, two of them at Team Lotus's revolutionary (no pun intended) rolling road wind tunnel. This climate controlled, 360-rotating device is one of the most advanced wind tunnels in the world, and a proving ground for Formula One designs.
Next, it was back to Japan for a year and a half of fine tuning at the Yoshitaka Suzuka. The result of all this testing: a slippery 0.27 coefficient of drag.
SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM.
2.8 SECONDS. THAT IS ALL.
GT-R® goes from 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds. And specifically it goes from 0 to 60 in just 2.8 seconds.It's a pretty wild little statistic, and a really wild thing to experience.
So, how quick is 2.8 seconds? Let's put it this way: it's a biological imperative that we close our eyes when we sneeze. I don't know why this is, but it's true. If you were in a GT-R® sitting in the passenger seat, and you sneezed at exactly the same moment the driver tromped on the gas, by the time you open your eyes, you'd be going more than 60 miles an hour.
THIS IS WHY THEY CALL IT GODZILLA. It uses technology to provide muscle, not muscle to provide muscle. Most powerful engines are big, heavy, and thirsty. The GT-R's twin-turbo V6 delivers a massive 480 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque while actually meeting ultra-low emission vehicle (U-LEV) standards.
How does it do this? Each bank of cylinders gets its very own air intake system. Instead of traditional cast-iron liners, each cylinder gets a unique plasma coating sprayed onto its walls, reducing friction (and heat) which lets the engine spin more freely.
The coolest part of all this is that the GT-R's engine is actually hand-built by a single guy, and there are only eight guys that do this. He works in a climate-controlled, dust-free clean room just like a Formula 1 mechanic.
When the engine is complete, they test it. And by "test", they don't mean "start it up". It gets 44 total minutes of bench-testing and break-in, where they crank it up to the redline and let it run for 10 solid minutes. When they've finished the whole car, they put it through its paces on the Tochigi test track for a further nine-laps of testing.
THINK HUD. THESE GUYS DO. Polyphony Digital® designed the GT-R's multifunctional display. They also developed a little game called Gran Turismo® 5. Seriously, it was the same people. Check it out. Their name is on the box.
Anyway, this thing is pretty slick. It's got seven pre-set screens that tell you all about your acceleration, braking, steering, gear position and even lap time.
Then there are four customizable screens that let you organize what you want to see and how you want to see it. Pick engine performance and efficiency parameters and display them with acceleration/stopping G-forces. Keep an eye on the turbo usage stats and steering angles, if that's what you're into. Do a few laps on the track and it will even analyze your performance and show you where you need to improve.
SHIFT WITH A PEDAL? PFFFFT!
1/5th of a second – that's all it takes for this thing to shift when you are in R Mode. It's like the blink of an eye. Pretty fast.
Oh yeah, and it has two clutches, but doesn't have a clutch pedal. The odd and even gears actually have their own separate clutches, and they don't need you to push a pedal.
It works like this: say you are flying along in 5th gear, the only gears you are going to switch to are up to 6th or down to 4th. The transmission has actually pre-selected both those gears so when the time comes, it's ready to shift immediately.
IT'S ALL ABOUT BALANCE
What is Midship Design? The easy explanation – it's a design layout that drops the transaxle, transmission, transfer case and final drive over the rear wheels (instead of where they usually are, in the front) and the engine stays up front, distributing all that weight evenly.
What does that do for you? The car handles better.
Interesting tidbit: they actually patented this independent 4WD transaxle. It's the first one ever used in a car.
Possibly more interesting tidbit: the driveshaft is made of carbon fiber.
3 SETTINGS: COMFORT, NORMAL, AND THIS THING IS ON RAILS
GT-R® tops out at around 190 miles an hour, give or take, and at that kind of speed, stability is, shall we say, "important"?.
To deal with the demands the GT-R® can put on a suspension, Nissan and Bilstein® developed Damptronic®, a computerized system that has three different ride settings and a whole pile of sensors keeping track of everything.
R is for Race (not Reverse). Flip it to R Mode for maximum damping force and performance driving. R is for the track. Normal Mode is for the street. In N-Mode, damping is controlled electronically to give you solid, performance oriented ride that isn't too stiff. C is for Comfort. Put it in C when you are looking for cushy drive around town.
YES, IT CAN BE STOPPED.
To handle the massive horsepower, torque, and speed the GT-R® delivers, we had to put some serious brakes on it. Brakes that are, essentially, what you'd find on a racecar.
15.4"? front and 15.0"? rear brake rotors are mated with Brembo® 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers for some intense clamping power. These calipers need to be tough, but not bulky, so they were machined from a single piece of aluminum.
Heat is the mortal enemy of any braking system, so the rotors have been cross-drilled and a diamond-shaped ventilation pattern was added to pull away heat. Those fancy rotors are fully floating – a trick borrowed from racing – which lets the outer disc expand away from the hub under extreme heat.