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Nissan reveals GT-R racer

Nissan’s thunderous race-spec R35 GT-R was the centrepiece of a major 2008 Nissan Motorsport launch party in Tokyo today. After several years of successfully campaigning the 350Z in Super GT, Japan’s top domestic race series and equivalent to the BTCC, Nissan is rekindling the GT-R legend with a full works entry into the 2008 Super GT championship with the new shape R35. In fact, four teams will enter five GT-Rs in the top GT500 class in Super GT this year and today, for the first time, Nissan revealed the engine and specs for this hugely anticipated new competition GT-R. Essentially a silhouette racer, retaining the centre cockpit of the standard GT-R but with space-frame extensions front and rear carrying engine, suspension and brakes, the GT500-spec GT-R then sports unique lightweight carbonfibre panels on top. While the roadgoing GT-R sports a 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 and highly sophisticated 4WD, for Super GT the engine switches to 4.5-litre V8 normally-aspirated and, to save weight, drive is sent to the rear-wheels only via a 6-speed sequential transaxle. Nissan insiders say the roadgoing 3.8-litre V6 twin turbo is still too new to be used in front-line competition. So for now, at least, the GT-R will run with essentially the same big atmospheric V8 that the works 350Zs were using in Super GT last season. Two reasons for this. First, the race-spec VK45DE V8 is a proven unit and two, it’s big on torque, which has been one of the keys to success in Super GT of late. Though air-restricted, the big Nissan V8 delivers “over 500bhp” coupled with torque of “over 376lb ft,” and powers a car that weighs in at just 1100 kgs and already develops stronger downforce than last year’s 350Z, team members say. The nine race 2008 Super GT championship in Japan kicks off at Suzuka over March 15-16 where the new GT-R clearly will be heavily favoured to win.

Peter Nunn


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