Godzilla Versus The ‘Ring; Nissan GT-R Ups The Ante



The Nürburgring is the automotive Mecca. Don’t believe us? Try these statistics: 20.8 kilometers, 70 corners, gut-tightening elevation changes including dips and jump, enough microclimates to cause influenza. It is the track where the racing gods – Caracciola, Stuck, Nuvolari, Fangio – tamed monster race cars. When Ernest Hemingway said, “Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports… all others are games,” he was talking about the Nürburgring, though he may not have known it. Today, when not being a race track, it is a public toll road. For about $25 per lap, you too can play Jacques Villeneuve.

Respect must been paid. Pilgrimages have been made. Pause for effect.


From time immemorial the German firms have tuned their performance-oriented machines at the Nürburgring. Lately, however, everyone is getting in on the act, from the Americans with their Cadillac CTS-V and Corvette ZR1 to the British with Aston Martin and Lotus and now the Japanese. Especially those clever folks from Nissan who bestowed upon the world the new GT-R.

Porsche has always made noise about tweaking their wares on the ‘Ring. In mid-2008 Nissan picked up Porsche’s perpetual gauntlet, bringing a shiny new GT-R and Chief Test Driver and Formula 1 veteran Toshio Suzuki to the playground. Suzuki-san immediately threw down a 7 minute, 38 second lap time and later hacked off another 9 seconds. Porsche flipped right out because that was 3 seconds faster than their almighty GT2. After claiming the offending GT-R was a ringer, Nissan released not only video but made the car available for testing. Nobody took them up on their offer.

But then, while they were standing around high-fiving each other, both the Corvette ZR1 (7:26.4) and Viper ACR (7:22) beat Godzilla and his tamer at their own game. One can imagine them standing around saying, “Kieuseru! Kocha koi!” (Which will not be translated here.)

Now the Nissan boys are back with the 2010 “Series-II” GT-R, which brings five more hp, stickier tires, and a revised suspension to the party. Suzuki-san estimates the Series-II to be four to five seconds faster, beating the time set by the ZR1 but still chasing the Viper ACR.

For proper ACR decimation Nissan is confirming the weapons-grade GT-R Spec V with more brakes and less weight, plus a little more oomph thanks to a turbocharger overboost setting.

Godzilla is prepared to stomp the Green Hell. Stuttgart and Detroit beware.