Remember that time the Nissan GT-R was launched? It was the same year that Apple announced the iPhone. Yes, it’s been that long. However, even entering its 13th year of production, Nissan’s flagship speed machine isn’t about to whimper in the cage as its peers continue to obliterate lap records worldwide.
Keen to show that age hasn’t hindered its bite, the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo; the ultimate production version of it, came out to set a new production lap record on a circuit that’s about as small as its footprint.
Tsukuba needs to introduction to petrolheads. The name evokes memories of grainy “Best Motoring” and “Hot Version” episodes on YouTube or even the cream of the time attack crop attempting to breach the 50-second barrier.
It’s a deceptively small circuit, measuring in at just 2.045 kilometres long with the longest straight only 437-metres long. Any Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport regulars will be well versed with the layout. Simply put, Tsukuba is the mecca of time attack in the east.
The GT-R receives plenty of flak for its rather unbecoming-of-a-sports car girth and poundage. So, why not smash the Tsukuba record to demonstrate that even on smaller circuits, the GT-R can hang with the best.
As the Nismo dictates, the GT-R bearing its badge has more power, turbos from the GT3 racing programme, more carbon fibre, additional downforce, retuned Bilstein DampTronic dampers and lighter Rays wheels wrapped in a new tyre compound developed by Dunlop.
On 9 December 2019, Nissan’s Super GT factory driver, Tsugio Matsuda, piloted a 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo rather casually to a new production lap record of 59.3-second, narrowly edging out the previous mark of 1:00:07-minute in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997).
An impressive time indeed but the tin-top lap record currently belongs to time attack legend Under Suzuki and his Scorch Racing Nissan Silvia S15 with a time of 50:366-second. However, the fastest thing on four wheels to lap Tsukuba is actually an astonishing 44.008-seconds set by former Formula One driver Kamui Kobayashi in a Dallara SF14 open-wheel racecar.