2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo Put to the Test
Nissan recently invited members of the media to EuroSpeedway Lausitz, a race track in Germany and the surrounding environs, to accomplish one goal: experience the precision engineering of the new 2020 GT-R NISMO in the region that highlights it best.
There are many incredible driving locations around the world, but only in Germany does a driver find the combination of high-speed road and track experiences that truly showcases the GT-R NISMO’s “absolute total racing performance.”
The 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO is the culmination of two of Nissan’s most important nameplates: GT-R – representing 50 years of history, pedigree, success in racing and a global fan following – and NISMO, NISsan MOtorsports International Co., Nissan’s in-house tuning arm that pursues performance at a maniacal level by perfecting the smallest of details. True to what NISMO stands for, the 2020 GT-R NISMO is a more extreme, track-oriented version of the GT-R that has matured through rigorous refinements, and become sharper and more rewarding as a street car.
The 2020 GT-R NISMO is about total balance. New, race-proven turbochargers, improved gearbox shift control, lighter components, reduced overall mass and upgrades to the brakes, wheels and tires contribute to a 2.5-second reduction in lap time around Nissan’s development track, not to mention an improvement of the GT-R’s inherent high speed stability, even at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 kph). Here’s how Nissan achieved this remarkable improvement.
Building on the kaizen mindset
The pursuit of perfection requires persistence. The constant need to evolve and fine-tune – this is kaizen. Kaizen is at the heart of the GT-R NISMO, a team wide mindset that has pushed the men and women behind this car to challenge themselves each step of the way. They show an inherent curiosity and “what-if” mentality when revisiting every minute detail. Small improvements may not seem important in isolation, but it’s when they’re combined as a whole that a difference becomes perceptible. That’s when a car’s character grows; it’s not all about numbers and performance but the holistic effect – how the GT-R NISMO becomes an extension of a driver’s body and mind as the vehicle carves a line through a favorite road or race track.
Led by Tamura, executed by the team
Chief Product Specialist Hiroshi Tamura – known as “Mr. GT-R” – has been at Nissan for more than thirty years. Dedicated to evolving and improving the GT-R, he has been part of almost every step of the model’s evolution.
His love for Nissan’s most legendary sports car was sparked early. At age 10, he witnessed Takahashi Kunimitsu take his blue and white 2000 Skyline GT-R racecar to an epic finish at a very wet Fuji Speedway, beating strong rivals like Mazda and its RX3. Tamura knew from that moment that he wanted to not just watch the GT-R but also be part of its success.
Today, Tamura ensures the GT-R continues to evolve year in and year out, staying atop a growing field of competitors, including the most expensive crop of supercars - and in some cases hypercars.
GT3 turbos for the VR38DETT
Racing improves the breed, and that is very much the case with the 2020 GT-R NISMO. Like in racing, precision is the key to performance. Each VR38DETT is hand-assembled from beginning to end in a special clean room by master technicians known as takumi. This elite few assemble the complex powerplant with the passion and precision of a true craftsman. Just as a great artist signs their work, so do the takumi, with a special aluminum name plate on the front of each engine that meets their standard.
The car’s new turbochargers are the same ones currently used on the GT3 racecar version of the GT-R. These employ a 10-vane turbine wheel (one fewer vane than the current model), where the vanes are 0.3 millimeters thinner. This accounts for a 14.5% reduction in mass, and therefore inertia (24%), allowing for an increase in transient response. Consequently, having one less vane would reduce flow rate, so to counteract, a new back plate was created to prevent exhaust gases from flowing behind the turbine blades, drastically improving flow efficiency. Through the latest fluid and stress analysis, special attention was given to the actual design and profile of the vanes. Their new shape optimizes efficiency with exhaust gases to boost flow rate resulting in improved boost response and acceleration as well as in gear “pickup” in any situation.
The diagram below gives an idea of how response improves by comparing the car with the previous GT-R NISMO, accelerating from 110 kph and 4,000 rpm in fourth gear (manual mode). The response is immediate and instantly felt. The following diagram shows engine response improvement of 20% as the driver increases throttle pressure, from 0% opening to wide open throttle. While power remains unchanged at 441kW (600ps), the result is a sharper feeling that further enhances the overall character of the hand-assembled VR38DETT.
A revised titanium exhaust system now has a more emphatic – yet not intrusive – tone coming through to the cabin. Handcrafted burnished tips are a signature touch of the lightweight system.
When in R-mode, the improved 6-speed dual-clutch transmission now shifts gears more aggressively and intuitively thanks to a new algorithm for the adaptive shift control (ASC). This selects the best gear for any driving scenario and can especially be felt during braking and approach into a corner, where the driveline feels more precise with faster downshift reactions to help reduce understeer on entry. With engine speed kept at a higher rate thanks to lower gear engagement, acceleration also improves when powering out of a corner.