Auto Spotlight: The Nissan GTR, Part 1: The History

     Since the relatively new Nissan GTR is all the rave nowadays, lets start this segment with the spotlight on this monster. 

     First, we’ll take a brief look into its past; first into its previous “models”, and then in the development itself. 

     The GTR range of Nissan’s spans back all the way to the 1969, but the monikor “Godzilla” wasn’t given to the GTR range until the release of the R32 Skyline GTR in 1989.  Originally a RWD machine based on the R32 platform, it was due to racing regulations that Nissan decided to switch to AWD, and thus Nismo (Nissan Motorsports) created the ATTESA-ETS (clicky for information) System for its flagship machine.  It debuted with a turbocharged, inline-6 engine pushing 276 hp and pulling a hefty 3100+ pounds due to the heavier AWD system.  (Japan has a strict rule banning any engine pushing over around 280 hp).  It promptly won race after race, with its turbocharged AWD nature, and subsequently the numerous fans.

     The release of the R33 GTR 6 years later in 1995 was basically just an upgraded R32, with an increase in weight. 

     And then the R34 was released in 1999, ending the GTR saga (or so we thought for a number of years).  It was the compilation of the previous GTRs, and by then the “Godzilla” monikor was stuck.  It continued its dominance both on and off the track, winning the hearts of many with its complex AWD system mated with one of the most tune-able engines ever; easily producing horsepowers figures in the 4 digit range.

     But make no mistake, this is NOT a Skyline.  There is no mention of the word “Skyline” anywhere on the press sheet, or on the badging on the car.  Previously, the older Skyline’s used the GTR monikor to distinguish itself as the high performance version.  But not this time.  This monster’s model name is the GTR.  It is thus the spiritual successor to the R32,R33 and R34 Skylines, a sort of compilation, or evolution of not just the previous Skyline’s, but of all the previous Nissan cars, R&D and track experience.

“Anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

      This is the motto Chief Vehicle Engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno began with when he envisioned his GTR.  He wanted the car to be fast for anyone, and for it to be fast anytime and anywhere.   Not just on the track.  Not just for the few pro race drivers, and not just for one time attack lap.  This dream was to be realized with all these factors in mind; and nothing less.  All the previous Skyline GTRs were based off a sedan chassis, and modified to sports car spec, but this time Nissan started with a completely new slate.  A chassis and motor designed for the GTR and just the GTR from the ground up.  Nothing borrowed from older models to save money or time.  This was going to be a supercar killer from day 1.  And not just any supercar killer; but one with an affordable price for anyone.  It’s main rival was the Porsche 911 Turbo; a supercar in its own right with a turbocharged 6 and AWD it was envied by many cars as one of the fastest and most affordable performance cars out there.

     And so Nissan decided to go with a 2+2 layout and stick with the AWD system, but revise it to provide even better traction than the previous ATTESA ETS Pro, while pumping power using a twin turbocharged V6 mated to a paddle shifted 6 speed transmission.  Phew.  That’s alot to take in in 1 breath, but that was the bar Nissan set; beat the 911 Turbo.

Next we’ll take a look at the specs.  Stay tuned.

     Here’s a gallery, courtesy of  I give them all the props for the pics.



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February 2009
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