Fly­ing Godzilla ready to go ape

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

GODZILLA is step­ping back into the ’Ring for yet an­other cham­pi­onship shootout with the best of the heavy­weight pro­duc­tion-car con­tenders.

With the ver­bal slang­ing match be­tween Nis­san and Porsche over and the Ja­panese car­maker’s claim of a siz­zling 7min 29sec lap of the fa­mous Nur­bur­gring still echo­ing, Nis­san is about to reignite the flame.

Nis­san’s chief GT-R test driver Toshio Suzuki con­firmed this week he is go­ing back to the Nur­bur­gring next month, con­fi­dent of clock­ing an even faster time for the 20km cir­cuit.

‘‘Four or five sec­onds ( faster) . . . I think that will be very pos­si­ble,’’ says Suzuki, at East­ern Creek in Syd­ney to help launch the GT-R in Aus­tralia.

‘‘If the con­di­tions are good and ev­ery­thing works as it should, there is no rea­son it would not be pos­si­ble to go that fast.’’

The sug­ges­tion that a pro­duc­tion-fet­tled GT-R could lower the bench­mark time even fur­ther is cer­tain to throw fuel on the claims from Porsche that the full story is not be­ing told.

At the time of the orig­i­nal 7:29 claim last April, Porsche was quick to ques­tion the re­sult and raise doubts about how it was achieved.

The GT-R lap cre­ated a stir with Porsche be­cause it sig­nif­i­cantly bet­tered the Ger­man car­maker’s own best time with its 911 Turbo.

Porsche even went out and bought its own GT-R and freighted it from Ja­pan to the Nur­bur­gring for back-to­back test­ing against the 911 Turbo and GT2, and could not get it to within 25 sec­onds of the claimed lap record for the GT-R.

The Ger­many per­for­mance meis­ters claimed the only way the GT-R could have lapped the Nur­bur­gring in that time was by us­ing spe­cial tyres closer to racing slicks than reg­u­lar road rub­ber — an al­le­ga­tion Nis­san de­nied.

Suzuki, a for­mer grand prix driver, says up­dates to the GT-R’s en­gine and sus­pen­sion will be enough to bring the new lap tar­get within reach.

‘‘The lit­tle bit ex­tra power (3kW) and im­proved en­gine sharp­ness, to­gether with im­proved spring and dam­per set­tings, make the faster time pos­si­ble,’’ Suzuki says.

‘‘Then it is also im­por­tant what hap­pens on the day.’’

The fastest road-car lap around the 73-turn track is 6min 55sec in a Rad­i­cal sports car.

The of­fi­cial fastest lap is 6min 11sec, set by a Porsche 956 Le Mans racer in 1983.

Hard and fast: a Nis­san GT-R in action at Nur­bur­gring, where it will try to re­set the record.

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