The Nissan GT-R, popularly known as Godzilla, is celebrating its 50th birthday. Its current iteration, the R35, is becoming one of the longest-running performance cars on the market today, with over 12 years of service. However, the first version is hardly comparable to the current generation. The GT-R Nismo is the car’s more hardcore track-oriented variant and Nismo has just revealed a new one featuring some innovations that make it even faster.
Small upgrades, big result
The 2020 GT-R Nismo is the result of many small upgrades to that add up to a bigger result. 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 in the model's evolution. Year after year, Tamura has worked on evolving the GT-R to the car that we see today.
The GT-R Nismo is a perfect example on how experience from the racetrack can be translated to the road. But this time, quite literally. The iconic VR38DETT V6 engine, that is still assembled by hand by the takumi, has new turbochargers that come directly from the GT3 race car. These racing turbo chargers have one vane less than the standard version, improving airflow. This results in a better pick-up in the rev-range, making the GT-R even quicker on its toes while total engine output remains unchanged (600hp).
A thorough aerodynamic upgrade
The 6-speed dual-clutch transmission has been improved and 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 its effect can be felt particularly when braking or on the approach into a corner, where the driveline feels more precise with faster downshift responses to help reduce understeer on entry. With engine speed kept at a higher rate thanks to lower gear engagement, acceleration is also improved when powering out of a corner.
The 2020 Nissan GT-R comes with a thorough aerodynamic upgrade. New air vents and louvres make for improved engine temperature management at high speeds, and a new diffuser and spoiler add downforce but without increasing drag. This function-over-form approach gives the Nissan GT-R Nismo a new and highly distinctive look.
Extensive application of carbon fibre reduces overall weight
The biggest evolution for the 2020 GT-R Nismo might be the extensive application of carbon fibre. Most components are lighter than the current model. This includes the front and rear bumpers, front fenders (4.5 kg lighter), hood (2 kg lighter), roof (4 kg lighter), side sill covers, trunk and rear spoiler. Following the theme of kaizen, each component has been improved to reduce weight, increase downforce and enhance aerodynamics. Combined, these exterior parts alone have resulted in a total weight saving of 10.5 kg, joining the nearly 20-kg reduction through upgrades and new components.
Nissan has collaborated with Italian brake manufacturer Brembo to create an all-new brake package for the 2020 GT-R NISMO. Special large callipers are paired with carbon ceramic rotors, the biggest ever fitted to a Japanese performance car at 410 mm (16.1 inches) at the front and 390 mm (15.3 inches) at the rear.
An overall drop of 16.3 kg in unsprung weight
The biggest advantage comes from the carbon and silicon carbide structure of the rotors themselves. They allow for an overall drop of 16.3 kg in unsprung weight. Mounted on floating aluminium billet centre bells, the new rotor and oversized calliper set-up is finished off by new, specially formulated brake pads that generate higher friction levels across the full operational range. The pads also give a firmer, more reassuring pedal feel.
The GT-R continues to evolve year in and year out, staying ahead of a growing field of competitors, including the most expensive crop of supercars - and in some cases hyper-cars. Nissan is relying on Motul's premium engine and gearbox oil for all factory GT-R's.