So It’s no secret I get to drive a lot of rad cars, the other day I was blasting up Windy point in a VE SS Commodore, not long before that I was lapping a GT86 around Bathurst, then there was of course the completely unforgettable replica Lambo Countach I drove last year. All these cars are unique and share their own level of personality. But I have a confession to make, you probably know it anyway; I have always dreamed of driving something mental, not just a street tuners hypo nut job, but a proper super car, the kind of thing that tops lap times around the Nurburgring, so when the surprise opportunity to drive a R35 GTR Skyline came up….yeah…. normal daily operating procedures got put on hold and yes, let’s not beat around the bush, it’s epic!
I’ll start with the simpletons bit, 300kw at the wheels, which to be honest in current times might not sound like a lot, but the way this car puts power to the road is nothing short of incredible. The duel clutch flappy paddle gear box is razor sharp, short shifting will rip your head clean off, run it out to red line and you will run out of road before third gear. The all-wheel drive system has this clever way of assessing when a wheel starts to lose traction under acceleration and instead of just cutting power from the engine like you would expect in a traditional traction control system, the computer cuts torque from either the front or rear wheels leaving the other end to continue pushing the car forwards. This system takes quite a bit of accustomization, bury your foot out of a corner, wait for the front wheels to break traction and then the car continue to accelerate essentially as a rear wheel drive. This system really comes in to its own when you realize that 300kw’s has zero turbo lag. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure on a Dyno there is some visible lag, but on the road, where it matters, it feels every bit as torquey down low as a lumpy old V8.
The next thing you notice about the GTR is just how quickly corners arrive. Now I know that’s an old cliché about driving fast cars, but in the GTR 160kph really does feel like 60 and by the time you glance down at the dash, you’re already late on the application of the carbon ceramic 6 piston front calipers, that will, in a hurry, stop you so hard it literally hurts your face. Once you arrive at the next corner the precision in the steering is like threading a needle, despite the fact it’s a big, heavy car, weighing in at near on 2 ton with a two people in it, you point the wheels at any apex, at any speed and you will be millimeter perfect every time. This is partly from the incredibly well set up chassis, but again down to that traction control system that comes screaming in like rocket the minute it senses something is going wrong. And that leads me to the biggest problem, driving the GTR while requiring an incredible amount of concentration is very disconnecting from the road, and I don’t mean by the feel through your feet or hands. Driving a GTR is a bit like having a conversation with a personal assistant “Sir, where would you like to go” “I would like to be at the next corner please” “And how fast would sir like to get there?” “Well, as soon as we can please”. It sort of feels like, you’re just telling the car where to go and it is doing the rest….
When I got told ‘you’re driving the GTR tonight’ I honestly thought I would have that same sensation I get right before I go skydiving, that sense of adrenalin that reminds you, you are now doing something humans are not inherently meant to do, I just didn’t really get that the GTR. Please don’t get me wrong, The GTR was the best car I have ever driven, and by a long way… But it just feels, unrewarding. ….