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Nissan hasn’t fiddled too much with its GT-R super sports car for this year, making only slight adjustments here and there; but diehard track day enthusiasts now get the option of a sharper new version called the GT-R Track Pack.
Up at the business end of all 2013 models, power outputs of 397kW and 628Nm from the GT-R’s twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 are unchanged, but new injectors and a redesigned turbo pressure-relief valve increase throttle response and power delivery at mid to high revs.
There’s also a new baffle in the sump to prevent loss of oil pressure during hard cornering, and an AMG-style plaque engraved with the names of technicians is fixed to the front of each hand-built engine.
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Slight changes have happened underneath as well, with new settings to the shocks, springs and anti-roll bars. The cam bolts to adjust camber settings on the front suspension have been modified, and the wheel hubs have been beefed up to handle more power. New bracing behind the dashboard stiffens up the chassis.
The GT-R’s interior is identical to previous model years, but a new amber-red upholstery colour is available as an option in the Premium Edition, and Black Editions get red leather bits stitched on to the steering wheel.
Although Nissan South Africa is reluctant to quote official performance figures, European data indicates a 0-100km/h figure of 2.7 seconds, or an improvement of 0.1sec from last year’s models.
Nissan also claims an improvement of almost three seconds for the obligatory Nürburgring lap time, which the 2013-spec GT-R covers in 7 minutes 18.6 seconds.
The new GT-R Track Pack takes over from the previous high-performance flagship V-Spec model that was never sold in our market, as a harder-edged weekend toy focused more on apex accuracy than everyday comfort.
In this version the rear seats have been ditched to save weight, and lighter Recaro buckets have been added up front.
More weight saving happens with the addition of titanium mufflers and a set of 20-inch Rays forged-aluminium wheels that add up to a total loss of 14kg from normal (1.7 tonne) GT-Rs.
The Track Pack’s brakes get increased cooling from new ducting that originates from a specially designed front bumper with carbon inlets and a new lower splitter. The carbon theme carries on to the rear spoiler. Needless to say, this version’s suspension system is even stiffer than the normal model’s already taut settings.
At the new GT-R’s South African media launch on Saturday, Nissan was gracious enough to let me tear around the Kyalami circuit in Midrand, but not quite gracious enough to let me switch off all the car’s electronic safety nets. Still, this is a ferocious machine with an aptitude for full-on racetrack conditions unlike any other road-legal car.
The two turbos spool up with a boost so immense that Kyalami’s straight sections offer only momentary breaks from facial distortions that happen under hard braking and cornering.
There’s seemingly no end to lateral grip, and the dual-clutch transmission fires gears as fast as you can click through them with the paddle shifters. Four-wheel drive powerslides are entirely possible (if you switch off the stabilty control) but you have to force it because the electronic differentials fight to keep everything straight.
Most impressive, however, is that the GT-R soaked up lap after lap of punishment with no brake fade, tyre issues or electronic limp modes that often hinder high-performance road cars in these harsh conditions. So long as it’s topped up with fuel every few sessions (this is one thirsty beast when driven at its limits), the GT-R is as happy to play as you are.
GT-R Premium Edition - R1 398 200
GT-R Premium Edition (amber interior) - R1 448 200
GT-R Black Edition - R1 448 200
GT-R Track Pack - R1 743 700
All GT-Rs come standard with a three-year/50 000km service plan and a three-year/100 000km warranty. - Star Motorings