Wednesday 15th August 2012


NISSAN GT-R LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

Update: Mizuno hasn't retired after all and will see the GT-R into the next generation!


The intention was to run this story as a Time For Tea? but you'd need a pot of the stuff, given this particular video is 20 minutes long. And the subject it explores rather more weighty than a couple of minutes of YouTube jollity to lighten up your afternoon. You might also want to dig your sense of humour out of the cupboard - or at least prepare to start gritting those teeth - as some of the language here is a little strong. And we don't mean in a sweary way.

Track Pack car raced near-standard at N24
Track Pack car raced near-standard at N24
To save you the trouble of spitting Earl Grey all over your keyboard, let's just get the first example out there immediately. According to the video the GT-R is "fuelled by the power of mankind".

But wait a minute - is this hyperbolic propaganda gone mad, or something that's lost its subtlety in translation?

Kazutoshi Mizuno (Mr GT-Rô) and the rest of his Development Team crew can't tell us often enough that the whole point of the exercise was to improve the road car. And since the Development Team running the race car was essentially the development team that look after GT-R in the real world, the process was also intended to improve their skills as well.

Applying a bit of logical reasoning, could it be the video actually means the GT-R is the product of the people who build it? Take that to extremes and it is powered by mankind, in a manner of speaking.

Mere marketing tool or evolutionary step?
Mere marketing tool or evolutionary step?
No? Oh well. Anyhoo, using the N24 as a development tool does ring true. That echoes everything we were told during our time with the team, and seems to gel with what we know about Mizuno-san - which is to say he generally takes an alternative approach.

Let's not get into the more weight = better performance debate again, but instead consider a 24-hour race environment as a severe stress testing process that it is impossible to replicate without the element of competition. About 10 minutes in, for example, the video mentions you don't generally get crashes during regular endurance analysis.

Supporting this theory, it's interesting to note the engineers' confidence ahead of the race, compared with the aftermath.

Just how much more is there to come?
Just how much more is there to come?
The appearance of this video has also sparked concern about the GT-R's future, with some wailing that the "recent retirement" of Mizuno-san spells the end for his baby around 2014. Let's not be so hasty. First of all, he's just reached Nissan's mandatory retirement age of 60 - so there's unlikely to be anything sinister there. Doubtless he remains an influential figure. (See update below - Ed.)

More tellingly, ahead of the N24 he explicitly outlined five further years of development for the current car. So unless the race threw up something really catastrophic about the vehicle's design - the video is admittedly rather vague - we can look forward to the R35 embarrassing Porsche until about 2017.


UPDATE: Contrary to our initial reporting it seems rumours of Mizuno's retirement have been greatly exaggerated and he's still very much in charge - and just as obsessive - as ever. Not only that plans for an R36 are, according to a Nissan spokesman, very much still a going concern. He has just turned 60 though!


Lead photo: Frozenspeed

Author: cjhubbard
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