There is always a surprise about something new at these motorsports events I attend. This past Saturday’s event at Harris Hill Road (H2R) did not disappoint. I saw one of the sports car market’s hottest new sensations – the new supercar from Nissan, the 2009 GT-R!
Jack, the owner, was justifiably proud to have brought his car that day – I think he said this was the 7th track he had visited with this car, already! He picked up the car for delivery on 8/1 (it was the first one sold in the Houston area), and on 8/2 he was already turning hot laps on the Texas World Speedway (TWS), seeing how this supercar performs. Click below to play (you may need to turn up the volume).
I was surprised to find out that the GT-R has an automatic transmission, but not in the standard car sense of the term. It’s of the twin clutch variety that is becoming popular in the high end automobile manufacturing community. In sport mode, this transmission will change gears in .2 seconds! You can actually hear it in the last third of the video above.
When I first saw this car, my initial impression was of the size & mass of this car. If you consider the size of a Nissan 350Z, then multiply that size by at least 15% you are close the physical presence of this car. You can sense it from this straight on front shot:
Another area of interest is the tires. These come from the factory already inflated with nitrogen! This is a practice already in place within Formula 1 and other racing series. Also, all US commercial aircraft are mandated by the FAA to use nitrogen in their tires. Nitrogen inflated tires retain their pressure better (nitrogen molecules are larger, & the moisture content is virtually nil compared to regular air). Therefore, this helps to keep the tire temperatures lower.
Jack’s dealership had to go out and buy a special, dedicated nitrogen inflation system for this specific model of car (although, the small benefits using 93.5% nitrogen inflation can be used in any tire). In addition, Jack has had to already replace his front tires at 4600 miles. He said that was due to learning how to properly handle this supercar.
As to the dedication of the “race-preparedness” that Nissan holds for the GT-R, this car already comes from the factory with the suspension set up & aligned for track use. I asked Jack about the “black box” that could be monitored by Big Brother. According to the owner’s manual, Jack says, this recording feature is set up to be able to best service the car for maintenance. Also, the manual mentions what to do & how to set up this supercar for proper use in a high speed driving event situation (not unlike the H2R event, that day). In other words, this type of use (but not racing) is not prohibited.
More tidbits about this supercar:
- All Wheel Drive
- 480 horsepower
- 0 to 60 MPH in 3.2 (!) seconds
More about Jack:
- He’s a Porsche driver’s education instructor for the Lone Star Region of the Porsche Club of America
- He’s been having fun, doing that activity for 8 years
- In his youth at college, he was involved in competitive slalom snow skiing. He says driving a race car quickly & with competence is exactly the same in regards to skiing physics & skills – interesting…
- His other car is a 2000 Honda S2000, was the 10th one in the Houston area
He also showed me the Chatter Box attachment on the side of his helmet. He uses this to easily communicate with his students while at speed. These are for calmly speaking to others with both parties wearing a helmet. This is Jack’s helmet below:
Racing Ready is continually looking for additional topics like this supercar, that continue to push the motorsports envelope!