Y’s R35 GTRNovember 21, 2009
So what makes a totally decent man, take a thoroughly capable super car and do perfectly obscene things with it? Is the Nissan GT-R not a good enough car to begin with? Well no, not if your name begins with a Y it isn’t. You see, the standard GT-R was merely a starting point; a control specimen, from which all other improvements and modifications would be measured and I tend to agree, comparing a standard GT-R to this particular “works” version is foolish. Having driven both, I can say with absolute certainty that this is how the GT-R should really be.
This evolutionary species is a sophisticated savage, slicing up mountain roads as if they were made of salmon, peeling open the crests ahead of you with meticulous precision, as if the horizon were merely origami paper; making the most of simply unspeakable amounts of thrust and grip. Thanks to its aggressive stance and consummate suspension damping, the GT-R is also delivering an incredibly talkative ride to the seat of my pants; constantly feeding intelligible information to me no matter how fierce or delicate the input I give it via its consistently weighted, chunky leather tiller and drilled aluminum pedals.
Everything in this car is being done telepathically. There’s a sense that a sort of symbiotic relationship between driver and machine exists within this car. I never thought I’d say it but from a drivers’ perspective, the performance levels engineered into this Japanese samurai are making the German nuclear physicist appear mute and unintelligible. With the Nissan, the slightest steering correction, the faintest dab at the brakes, the remotest stab at the throttle produces an instantaneous and satisfying response in any given situation. This car has active everything. It speaks English too, knowing intuitively your interpretation of the driving conditions at hand while simultaneously giving you an accurate and perceptive retort.
Whereas the RS6 forewarns you on where each of the limits is in relation to its performance, the GT-R on the other hand is visceral, assaulting your senses; just egging you on to try and find out where these limits are without giving you a single clue. It’s like being blindfolded and then asked to throw a series of knives at a very confident assistant, each one of them potentially fatal and yet there’s no danger, nor is the car threatened or bothered by any of your puny attempts to unsettle it. That’s because it needs you as much as you need it to get the best out of the package. If there were such a thing as a “Supercar for Dummies”, this would be it and you wouldn’t even have to read the book.
Utilizing the superb balance of its suspension set up and specifically designed adhesion from the Dunlop run-flats, the GT-R seizes the road as if it were a cat being hurled up at a carpeted ceiling. This monstrous grip is being delivered to the road via the GT-R’s centrally located wonder diff. The dual clutched masterpiece is easy to live with around town, although it does clunk and shudder faintly at low speeds. Once at cruising altitude though, it takes on a whole new persona, offering lightning quick shifts through which to serve up its savage power band. From the cabin, I was monitoring vital signs, specifically the gearbox and its oil temperatures, via the ingenious and informative Polyphony inspired driver interface and remembered to back off once it reached 110 degrees. This doesn’t take very long at all. That complex web of gears and syncros is most definitely the chink in the GT-R’s impressive armor. Australian tuners will testify to that, having lunched a great number in their quest to achieve sub, 11 second quarter mile times. No surprise that the best gearboxes come from Australia then, is there?
Engine wise, it’s all relatively straightforward 3.8 liter, twin turbo V6 goodness with the exception of an appearance lifting Password JDM carbon fiber intake cowling. A Cobb Racing Access-Port provides this car with 3 different maps making up to 580hp available and a distinctly throaty warble has been added through the installation of a Nismo Spec V titanium exhaust system.
The suspension and braking systems are undoubtedly where the most crucial development has been undertaken. The brakes are so good they will rip your eyeballs from your sockets when stood on, with zero fade and a meticulously weighted and consistent pedal. Copied straight from a Nismo Super GT GT-R and with a massive 400mm of bite at the front, AP Racings slotted and vented 2 piece rotors work to molten temperatures under the iron grip of AP Racings top of the range 6 piston, forged aluminum monobloc, floating calipers. Balancing out braking forces at the rear are the OEM 4 piston calipers making the most of larger slotted and floating AP Racing items. Everyone serious enough about cars has to experience a set up like this at least once and marvel at the foolproof predictability. Not only do they promise not to fade like a cheap pair of jeans, they will endow you with a level of confidence that will have you diving ever deeper into corners. No wonder then that AP Racings own Vice President has now retro fit an identical system to his own GT-R.
I’ve not experienced a setup as balanced, as predictable or as adept on any road car and they conclusively shamed the Audi; leaving it in a smoldering, crackling heap while the GT-R sat in the non smokers corner and watched on while the German caught its breath. If you have the patience to make sure the pads are up to temperature before you stand on them and can tolerate the added embarrassment of brake noise along with the faint shuddering from the front calipers free floating set up, it would be prudent to consider investing in a package this good. People all too often neglect their brake packages in their quest for more power and bragging rights. A well set up braking system on an authoritative streetcar is very often the difference between a real performer and a real pretender.
That brings me back to Nagoya based Deck Mechanical and El Presidente, Hideki Nakayama, the man behind the cars suspension, brakes and balance. Along with the braking package, the GT-R now features custom one off racing dampers made from billet aluminum, made especially at Y’s request. Having taken the car to task on a variety of circuits, not to mention being put through the ringer by none other than Keiichi Tsuchiya himself, Y is finding that times have been steadily decreasing as each small adjustment to the dampers has been made and the differences between a standard R35 damping and this R35 have to be experienced to be believed.
Climbing inside the cabin of the R35 doesn’t reveal anything out of the…hang on. What’s that emblem? That is not a Nissan bucket. Since when has Nissan had an emblem with a horse and a bunch of antlers on it? This deliciously ironic and befitting addition of Porsche beating GT3 seats is certainly one way of making a statement. “Not only is this faster than your car, I’m using your seats to get me there!” I couldn’t have cared either way because for long journeys it was surprising how comfortable this fixed bucket could be and the Porker seats were ergonomically spot on. The added benefit besides being comfortable was in where they shaved small animals off the cars total weight.
All in all, it’s hardly fair to describe this as a match-up seeing as each of these super cars has a completely different job description to fill but specifically comparing Y’s GT-R to the RS6 in performance terms is simple. The GT-R is quite plainly a middleweight boxer packing a Mike Tyson sized punch; dodging and weaving in a way the RS6 could never manage and with a level of stamina that would last the whole 12 rounds. Proof of this cars potency is revealed in all the critical areas and it literally checks every box. It does everything supremely well and is composed and surefooted throughout. Nissan GT-R chief vehicle engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno probably put it best when he said that the GT-R is a “new kind of supercar, one without any competitors.” By taking this already lofty bar and raising it much higher still, Y and Deck Mechanical have not only proven that Mizuno was spot on but have also shown tuners the world over how it can be made even better.