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‘Godzilla’ claims another scalp at the ‘Ring

Bubbly: The Nissan test team celebrates Nissan GT-R's 7min 27sec lap of Nurburgring.

Porsche engineers watch as Nissan GT-R hot-laps Nurburgring

Nissan logo17 Apr 2009


NISSAN’S intermittent stoush with Porsche over Nurburgring fast-lap bragging rights has swung in the Japanese manufacturer’s favour with a blistering 7min 27.56sec lap by Nissan test driver Toshio Suzuki in a Nissan GT-R at the legendary 20.8km German track.

It was two seconds faster than the previous best lap by Suzuki in testing of the Nissan GT-R a year ago, and eclipsed by less than half a second the best lap by Porsche test driver Walter Rohrl in a Porsche Carrera GT in July 2004.

Nissan claimed yesterday’s lap was set by a stock Japanese-spec GT-R running Dunlop tyres with optional RAYS forged alloy wheels.

It also said the track was dry but dusty and sandy in parts during the run, which was made after just a few laps of testing in the twin-turbo AWD supercar.

An attempt to better the time today is believed to have been washed out by rain.

 center imageThe unofficial and sometimes prickly battle to set fastest production-car lap time around the Nurburgring’s Nordschlief circuit during closed-circuit testing sessions dates from the 1980s when a Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R beat the best lap by a Porsche 944 Turbo by about 20 seconds.

In 1995, a Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R – the car known in Australia as “Godzilla” – ventured in to Porsche’s backyard to became the first road-legal car to lap the circuit in under eight minutes.

Last year, after former racing driver Suzuki posted a fastest lap of 7min 29sec in a prototype GT-R, Porsche disputed the result, even going to the trouble of buying its own Nissan GT-R for testing it at the circuit in September.

Running on standard wheels and tyres, the GT-R was clocked by Porsche at 7min. 54sec – 16 seconds slower than a Porsche 911 Turbo and 20 seconds slower than a Porsche GT2.

But a miffed Nissan returned to the battlefield this week with a production GT-R with Suzuki again at the wheel for another go, watched by a Porsche team from Stuttgart and independent media representatives.

This time, Suzuki and the GT-R were clocked by journalists at 7min 27.56sec to put the matter to rest – for now.

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