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The radical differences in race cars - it's in the details.

Motorsports Coverage Last Updated: Aug 28th, 2006 - 01:36:21


A True Motorsports Legend: Nissan Skyline GT-R
By Igor Sushko
Aug 28, 2006, 01:30

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The Skyline debuted in 1955, and racing was a major part of the car from nearly the very beginning. It dominated racing from the 60's. Technology has always been the largest factor for its success, with a 2.0 liter engine developing 160hp in 1969 (hence our race car number 69). It had a winning streak of over 50 races in 3 years. The car's very aggressive front fascia those days continues to date.
The KPGC10 Nissan Skyline GT-R

During the oil crisis in the 80's, the production of the GT-R was halted, but the reintroduction of the R32 Skyline GT-R (which is the car that most people mistakenly think of as the "first GT-R") stunned the motorsports world around the globe. This is the most significant time for the GT-R name.
The R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R and the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R certainly show much resemblance to each other
This car was developed strictly for the purpose of racing, as its predecessor in the late 60's, bearing the tradition of race domination. Nissan used the Porsche 959 supercar as its benchmark for the GT-R. The R32 was developed as a race car and then adapted for street-use. The car is pure: the drivetrain is bulletproof and the 2.6 liter engine was designed for 600hp in its stock trim. However, the biggest problem in racing at that time was not making the big power, but the delivery of that power to the pavement with abundant grip. Something that most of the rear-wheel-drive race cars struggle with to this day. The Porsche 959 four-wheel-drive technology was made for off-road rally racing. The developers at Nissan believed that all-wheel-drive could work on the tarmac. But a theory on paper does not always translate to our world. Nissan executed their paper plan to perfection by using a computer to distribute torque between the four wheels in real time.

The car was built for the purpose of racing in the JTC Group A in Japan. It never lost a race - winning 27 races in a row from its debut, causing the series to be dissolved. The same essentially happened in the Australian Group A. It was the heaviest car in the series, yet it dominated through brute force paired with technology. The car was flat out banned from some endurance races in Australia.

The GT-R's history is filled with dominance in motorsports at every step to the point of being the cause of dissolving entire series and being banned from racing. No manufacturer in the world at that time could touch the GT-R. The technology of the R32 GT-R only saw minor improvements through the R33 and R34 generations, yet it is still considered to be "high-tech" today - this is Nissan's mid-eighties technology.

The GT-R's history is inspiring - it shows that perfection is possible. Nothing is impossible. The tag line for the car was "the wolf in a sheep's skin," but that quickly changed to "Godzilla" - although the car may not look like a sleek supercar, the signature intimidating front end tells the whole story - "I am the pinnacle of motorsports. I dominate."
This photograph is telling...
The brute Nissan Skyline GT-R
The GT-R is a great paradox. The shape is boxy and not aerodynamic, yet its performance is at supercar level. The GT-R is extremely heavy, yet its engine is only 2.6 liters. The 6 tiny 433ml cylinders are somehow capable of producing in excess of 1000 horsepower. The GT-R's core technology was developed nearly 20 years ago, yet it is still one of the most high-tech cars today. But that incredible power that is produced by this tiny engine is then somehow kept under control - fully delivering the power to the ground with barely any tire-spin. It's bulletproof.

The GT-R's stationary stance is calm but confident, almost cocky. But once that tiny technology-filled engine is allowed to begin its controlled combustion, the muffler cannot suppress its roar. Through sheer brute force, the GT-R breaks through the air and leaves everyone else in the dust, on that edge of control.

It is interesting to note that an internal combustion engine, once cranked, will naturally increase its own revs until its mechanical parts can no longer handle the stress causing the engine to self-destruct. It's an uncontrollable beast. Engine idle rpm is maintained through continual suppression of what it wants to do by nature. By stomping on the gas, the cable pulls open the throttle body butterfly and releases the engine from literal suffocation. From this perspective, the GT-R is incredibly pure as an automobile, allowing the driver to taste this explosive nature.

The GT-R breaks all the rules and ignores tradition. The GT-R allows the driver to experience the future of the automobile through its revolutionary technology. For example, the RB26DETT was the first available production engine with oil-cooled pistons, individual throttle bodies, and various other tweaks. This kind of technology is only now beginning to be utilized by some of the rest - Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari - in their street cars. Mitsubishi and Subaru have finally come close to matching the electronic all-wheel-drive technology of the GT-R, 15 years later.

The R32 Skyline GT-R was a true car of the future.

From what I have heard, the next generation GT-R has the potential of opening the 3rd chapter of the GT-R legacy into a new era of getting banned from dominating races all over the world.

The Nissan Skyline GT-R Prototype

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