Sunday 12 October 2008

Nissan responds to Porsche's accusations

Nissan has responded to claims by Porsche that the Japanese company cheated by using non-standard, semi-slick tyres on its record run at the ‘Ring earlier this year. The GT-R completed the 'Ring in 7 mins 29 secs. Porsche had bought a Nissan GT-R in the U.S to test claims that the car had become the fastest around that world famous track, and their cars beat the GT-R’s time. The two cars used were a 911 Turbo and a GT2.

Now Nissan has given some free advice to the likes of Porsche. “We are aware that several auto makers have purchased the GT-R for their own testing and evaluation. Like all GT-R customers, we recommend that any auto maker buying a GT-R should follow the recommended run-in procedures, service schedules and maintenance to ensure the maximum performance from their car. In addition, we offer performance driving courses for prospective and current GT-R owners to help them get the best performance from their car. We would welcome the opportunity to help any auto manufacturer with understanding the full capabilities of the GT-R.”

Additionally the contested rubber used is still in Nissan’s possession and is used for promotional purposes. An offer to view it is open to any non-believers. Nissan continued to say testing the GT-R with additional equipment and/or non-standard modifications would be pointless to them.

“The GT-R was designed from the start to be a supercar that could be driven anywhere, anytime and by anyone,” says chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno.

Apparently this whole saga began last May, when a member of Porsche's Nürburgring development team was overheard at a social establishment near the track rather loudly expressing his skepticism of the GT-R's ability to surpass the Porsche 911 Turbo's speed at the Nordschleife. Just a few weeks ago under similar circumstances in Verona, Italy, for the introduction of the Porsche 911 Targa, the same person repeated his thoughts in the company of members of the Australian press.

Sources have since learned that Porsche purchased a GT-R in America soon after the car's official introduction and quickly air-freighted it to Germany. Some time later, members of the Porsche crew at the Nürburgring brought the car to the Nissan development shop near the track and explained that they seemed to be having a little trouble with it. Kazutosi Mizuno, chief vehicle engineer and chief product specialist for the GT-R, happened to be there and, since all the Nürburgring development teams for various manufacturers are really one big family of friendly rivals happily agreed to help them.

Porsche's GT-R had something over 3,000 miles on the speedometer. Its tyres were in tatters. The brakes were terminally toasted. None of the fluids had been changed. Mizuno inquired whether the transmission had been recalibrated following the recommended 1,200 mile break in procedure as specified in the owner's manual. It had not. Mizuno provided new tyres and new brakes, changed the fluids and recalibrated the transmission. And then he carefully explained the driving techniques that are required to help the GT-R do its best (as a former race engineer in charge of Nissan's effort at the 24 Hours of Le Mans) and sent them on their way.

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