Nissan has taken the GT-R AKA Godzilla racing all over the world via customer car programs and OEM-backed programs. However, the GT-R hasn’t seen much racing action stateside despite its decades of racing pedigree. It looks like that is finally going to change. Today Nissan announced that they will partner with the “Always Evolving” racing team to campaign a two car effort in the Pirelli Challenge series this year. The weapon of choice will be the new Nissan GT-R GT3 built by the mad men from Nissan’s NISMO motorsport arm.
If the name “Always Evolving” sounds familiar that is because this is the same racing team that was co-founded by Roger Rodas who unfortunately passed away in a car accident along with friend and team supporter Paul Walker. The team prides themselves on enjoying motorsport life while also giving back by contributing to several charitable organizations.
The team has tapped Bryan Heitkotter and James Davison as their drivers. Bryan was the first winner of the North American GT Academy program which was a nationwide competition among the best Gran Turismo players to graduate to a real life racing career. Since winning GT Academy Bryan raced for two years in a 370Z NISMO for Doran Racing in the Continental Tire series and raced in the Altima Program in 2014 in the Pirelli Challenge. James has a strong background in open wheel racing running Formula BMW, Star Mazda, and the Indy Lights championship. James also drove for the TRG-Aston Martin team in the IMSA series.
Sponsored by Replay XD and backed by NISMO Motorsport the team will begin their run for the Pirelli Challenge championship next month in a trail by fire at the Circuit Of The Americas. Personally, I can’t wait to see these cars in action. I especially can’t wait to see them up close at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April! For a better picture of the GT-R GT3 just click the thumbnail below. For more info the official press release is below as well.
2011 Nissan GT Academy Champion Bryan Heitkotter to pilot #05 GT-R GT3
IndyCar, Prototype and GT racer James Davison to Campaign #33 GT-R GT3
First U.S. Appearance of Nissan GT-R Built to FIA GT3 Specifications
Debuts in Pirelli World Challenge at Circuit of the Americas March 6-8
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Motorsports announced today a partnership with Always Evolving (AE) to campaign two GT Academy-NISMO Nissan GT-R GT3 racing cars for the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season.
Nissan GT Academy North America 2011 winner Bryan Heitkotter will drive one of the team cars, while Australian open wheel and GT star James Davison will pilot the second car. Featuring logos from the GT Academy program, the two cars will be co-sponsored by Replay XD and NISMO.
AE will utilize AIM Autosport for much of the car preparation and on-track support during the season. ased in Los Angeles, the team was founded in March 2013 by friends Roger Rodas and Erik Davis as a platform combine their passion for cars and their desire to support their favorite charitable organizations. Following Rodas’ tragic passing in November 2013, the team has established “Racing in Honor” as their internal mission for the 2014 season in his memory. ased in Los Angeles, the team was founded in March 2013 by friends Roger Rodas and Erik Davis as a platform combine their passion for cars and their desire to support their favorite charitable organizations. Following Rodas’ tragic passing in November 2013, the team has established “Racing in Honor” as their internal mission for the 2014 season in his memory. AIM won the 2012 IMSA GTD team, driver and manufacturer championships, as well as the 2013 manufacturer title while campaigning a Ferrari.
“Nissan couldn’t be happier to have Always Evolving and AIM as Nissan’s partners to campaign the first GT3 spec GT-Rs in the U.S. in Pirelli World Challenge,” said Rick Kulach, Nissan North America Motorsports Manager. “This partnership is a great opportunity to showcase Bryan’s talents alongside James, who is a rising star in motorsports. It’s exciting to have a GT Academy champion in a great car racing at this level.”
Based in Los Angeles, Always Evolving Racing was founded in 2013 by Erik Davis and Roger Rodas to combine the friends’ passion for cars with their desire to support their favorite charities. Following a tragic automobile accident late in 2013 that took Rodas’ life, Davis elected to continue with Always Evolving in his friend’s honor.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Nissan in Pirelli World Challenge,” said Erik Davis, Chairman of AE. “Our two brands have had a distant relationship for many years, and to be able to now officially launch an effort together bringing the Nissan NISMO GT3 GT-R to North America is humbling to say the least. We look forward to showcasing the team, our drivers, the GT Academy and our sponsors in a very competitive platform.”
Heitkotter, 34, won North America’s first gamer-to-racer GT Academy competition in 2011. In 2012 and 2013 while driving a Nissan 370Z NISMO for Doran Racing, Heitkotter earned three pole positions, two second qualifying spots, four top 10 finishes and a podium. In 2014, Bryan switched to a Nissan Altima for the CA Sports team. There, he earned three podiums and four top five finishes in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car (TC) category in six events. Most recently, behind the wheel of the Doran #41 370Z NISMO, Heitkotter and GT Academy teammate Nick McMillen finished sixth overall in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Series (CTSCC) race at Daytona International Speedway in January 2015.
“I have been watching the Pirelli World Challenge gain momentum over the past couple years, and I’m absolutely thrilled to help represent Nissan in this highly competitive series,” said Heitkotter. “The GT-R has proven to be a spectacular racing car, and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish together.”
Davison, 28, was born in Melbourne, Australia and moved to the United States when he was 18 years of age to develop his skills in open wheel racing. His career highlights include a 2005 victory in Formula BMW at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a runner-up finish in the 2007 Star Mazda Championship, and second spot in the 2009 Indy Lights Championship. Davison ran up front during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 driving for Always Evolving KV Racing Technology, finishing the race in 16th position. In his limited time in sports cars he has always been at the front, driving for the TRG-Aston Martin team in IMSA competition. Davison has recorded five consecutive poles in IMSA including pole position at the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
“We have great confidence in Erik (Davis)’s vision and ability to campaign a competitive car at a high level every race,” added Kulach. “James Davison is not only a talented young race driver, but he’s also a great sportsman and will be an outstanding representative for the Nissan brand.”
The first Pirelli World Challenge Race for 2015 will be at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas March 6-8. Television broadcast times have not yet been announced and the series will be webcast via www.world-challengetv.com.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
About Always Evolving
Always Evolving is an integrated media and technology company with a diversified portfolio of software and hardware assets. The company recently acquired the Replay XD action camera system and is hard at work making sure more consumers, athletes and video producers love its cameras and video-based experiences. Based in San Francisco, California, Always Evolving’s products and services are quickly becoming the only choice for action camera, drone and POV camera buyers and video producers everywhere.
About AIM Autosport
Established in 1995, AIM Autosport is a Canadian sports team operating multi-car teams in professional sportscar racing. AIM’s success has been achieved through the dedication of its employees and the continuous support of the team’s commercial and technical partners. Away from the track, AIM Autosport serves the needs of the racing community with a purpose-built preparation shop situated in the Toronto suburb of Woodbridge, Ontario.
About Nissan GT Academy
GT Academy is a competition created by Nissan and PlayStation® that unites the worlds of virtual and real-life racing to make the dreams of aspiring race drivers become a reality. The competition, which originally launched in Europe in 2008, finds the best Gran Turismo® players from across the participating countries by testing their skills in an online gaming qualification process. They will then compete against each other in live National Finals before the winners from each final switch to driving real Nissan cars at the now-famous Silverstone “Race Camp.”
The overall winner of GT Academy is then trained in the multiple areas required to become a professional racing driver, if the winner makes the grade they will compete in the Dubai 24 Hour race for Nissan and have the chance to be considered for a future career with Nissan as a “NISMO Athlete.”
When it comes to brakes, its hard to get better than Brembo. The Italian company has produced top notch stoppers for decades and can be found on everything from purpose built race cars to high performance road cars. They also produce some of the best carbon ceramic brakes in the world and have provided said brakes for motorsport applications such as Formula 1 and Indy Car. Their line of CCM and CCM-R carbon ceramic brakes have been the staple of road and race cars for a while and now the Brembo CCM-R carbon ceramic brake discs and pads will be available as original equipment for the Nissan GT-R. The brake discs (pictured above) will save 25lbs on the GT-R’s front axle and 31lbs in the rear. Granted, they likely won’t be a cheap option but for this kind of stopping power and over 50lbs of saved weight its probably well worth the extra coin.
In the last “12 Days Of Hype” post I talked about Skip Barber racing school as a great gift for the hardcore motorsports fan in your life. However, if you want to just gift someone a day on a race track with crazy exotic cars like Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and the like, then Exotics Racing is a good choice as well. With Facilities at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in California they are within relatively easy reach for anyone on the west coast. Exotics Racing offers different packages that allow participants to take hot laps in one of up to 15 cars that cover the gamut. Want to drive a Lamborghini Huracan? They have one. What about a Ferrari 458 Italia? They have a few of those too. McLaren MP4-12C? Yessir! They even have Nissan GT-R’s available.
Since all of their experiences are one day they are much easier on the wallet than say a full racing school such as Skip Barber. Driving packages at Exotics Racing start at around $199 and go up from there. If someone just wants to ride shot gun then there are high-speed ride alongs offered for $99. I have personally checked out the facility at Auto Club Speedway and I can tell you that the staff really goes the distance to make sure participants have a good experience. If you are trying to think of a good gift then I would recommend considering a day at Exotics Racing. Hit the source link below for more info.
What happens when you take one of the best Japanese tuners, a top tier turbocharger manufacturer, and a legendary all wheel drive sports car and connect them all with the help of a forward thinking marketing agency? This crazy red beast you see in all of these pretty pictures. About six months ago my good friend and CEO of the Kolab Agency Ernie Manansala Jr. sold his NSX and got a Nissan GT-R. I figured he might do a few things to it but nothing major. Then, one day he told me his new red Godzilla was going to be a SEMA project. I thought “ok, he will go a little farther with it than I anticipated.” That turned out to be a major understatement!
One Rocket Bunny widebody kit, four Advan wheels, two Garrett turbos, every Greddy GT-R part available, and 1,000HP later you have a car that is so crazily awesome that it catches the attention of Kazunori Yamauchi. Who is Kazunori Yamauchi? The godfather of the Gran Turismo video game series. Kazunori-san liked Ernie’s GT-R so much that it actually won for “best import” at the GT Awards ceremony during the SEMA show. Not bad for a car built in about 3 months! You may have also guessed that those 1,000 horses aren’t just for show either. Ernie plans to campaign his GT-R in a few time attack competitions in the near future. Who knows, this GT-R might be the first car to win a GT Award and break a track record!
If there is one thing that HKS loves to do is set lap times. For more than a decade HKS has been chasing lap records all over the world and the only thing that has changed from then until now is their chosen weapon. This year HKS is aiming to take top honors at the WTAC (World Time Attack Challenge) in Sydney, Australia next month in their new 1300HP Nissan GT-R. HKS’ current GT-R is not only up 100HP over last year’s car but it also features a few trick one-off parts in the engine to help them efficiently use all of those extra horses.
HKS decided to document their journey in developing this car all the way up until its final battle at WATC Australia via video chapters. Check out chapter one below and keep an eye out for a very familiar face!
For those who follow world famous musician “Deadmau5″ on twitter you’d know that enjoys things with a bit of flair. This is probably why he wrapped a brand new Ferrari 458 with a full Nyan Cat livery and custom “Purrari” badges for the 2014 Gumball 3000 rally. He originally did it just for the rally but the “Purrari” got such a positive response from his fans and followers that he kept the wrap on for a while. However, Ferrari was none-to-pleased with the DJ’s take on their newest sports car and actually sent him a cease and desist letter to return the Ferrari back to stock. Don’t believe us? Here is the tweet from the man himself:
I wonder if the jackass lawyer at @FerrariUSA who sent us a “cease and desist” letter over the purrari is un-butthurt now that I unwrapped.
The Purrari is officially no more and is back to a regular ol’ boring six figure Italian sports car. It sucked for Mr. Mau5 and definitely put him in a bad mood. Today Nissan decided to cheer him up by “presenting” him with an Nyan Cat liveried GT-R complete with a “Deadmau5 edition” badge! See Nissan’s tweet below:
Score one for Nissan! Maybe this will teach Ferrari’s legal department to lighten up a bit? …Nahhh. UPDATE: It looks like this is actually just a playful photoshop done by Nissan which is kind of a bummer. I think they should totally print up a wrap and make it official!
Happy Friday everyone! Why not kick off the end of the week with another sweet flick from the guys at ClashProduction? Actually, this is kind of a sequel really. Remember a while back when they produced that awesome film of a snow camo’d GT-R racing snowmobiles up a ski slope? Well as usual with most film productions there was a lot of unused footage from that feature so the guys at Clash decided to take the unused footage and cut together a whole new flick. In fact, this new one is even longer than the first one! Scroll down to enjoy 7 glorious minutes of a GT-R playing in the snow
Just a few hours ago in Yokohama, Japan Nissan rolled out the next iteration of Godzilla AKA the GT-R Nismo. The world knew this car was coming for a while now but despite a forewarning it still seems to come as a shock just incredible this machine is.
First of all lets start off with the most important number: 600; as in horsepower. Yes the R35 era GT-R has finally broken the 600hp mark! Nissan engineers were able to do this mostly due to a new turbochargers taken directly from the GT-R Nismo GT3 race car. The ignition tuning as changed to add power as well as a new fuel pump.
In addition to increasing the power substantially Nissan also added a whole new suspension package using Bilstein shocks, increased downforce with a new aero package (including a massive carbon fiber wing), and saved weight with a whole bunch of carbon fiber including carbon fiber shells for the seats and a carbon fiber trunk. Weight was also saved with new six-spoke forged wheels.
All of these modifications add up to the fastest production GT-R ever. In fact, this thing lapped the Nurburgring in 7:08! That’s 10 seconds faster than the previous GT-R Nurburgring record! To figure out how they did it you can watch two videos below. The first is the record breaking lap narrated by the driver Michael Krumm himself. The second is a near 30 minute long documentary which chronicles how an elite Nissan team brought the GT-R Nismo to life.
Before that though you can click on any of the thumbnails for pictures and below the videos you can read the official press release for all the details.
P.S. No pricing has been announced yet but it has been announced that the GT-R Nismo will be released in Japan in February 2014 and in the U.S. and Europe later on in 2014.
World premiere of race-inspired version of Nissan’s legendary GT-R
600hp (441kw) for blistering performance
Advanced aerodynamics generating additional 100kg*1 of downforce at 300km/h (186mph) for exceptional road-holding
YOKOHAMA, Japan (November 19, 2013) – Records fall and dreams come true with the debut of the Nissan GT-R Nismo. This race-oriented model delivers “factory tuned” supercar dynamics with revolutionary enhanced aerodynamics and ultra-precise handling. The Nissan GT-R is already established as one of the best performing supercars in the automotive sphere, and now Nissan has drawn on decades of racing experience gathered by Nismo, the brand’s motorsport specialists, to develop the ultimate Nissan GT-R.
Nissan GT-R Nismo
The Nissan GT-R Nismo features exclusive styling that embraces the longstanding racing philosophy of form following function. It has numerous motorsports-inspired technologies to enhance the car’s performance through optimised aerodynamics, suspension and powertrain, creating a well-balanced machine that is at home on both the road and track.
The Nissan GT-R Nismo will be available in Japan in late February 2014, U.S. and Europe later in 2014.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says this is the fastest Nissan GT-R ever. “With a 7:08.679 lap time, we can authoritatively say that the Nissan GT-R Nismo*2 holds the volume production car lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is the gold standard of high performance achievement.”
Nissan GT-R Nismo Overview – Flagship of the Nismo lineup
1. Mechanical Features Nissan GT-R Nismo employs innovation, uncompromising engineering and motorsports-inspired technologies to achieve new levels of power, speed and handling.
Under the hood, the 3.8-liter V6 VR38DETT engine benefits from the know-how that Nismo has gained from participating in such events as the world-renowned Nürburgring 24 hour race. Engine power has risen and is now rated at 600PS (441kw) and 481 lb ft (652 Nm) of torque.
New high-flow, large capacity turbochargers, which are used for GT3 racing, improve breathing, while optimized individual ignition timing control for each cylinder and upgraded fuel pump improve combustion.
The springs and custom-developed Bilstein DampTronic dampers in the front and rear suspension are specially tuned to deliver exceptional grip levels and progressive handling response at the limit. Three suspension modes can be selected: Comfort, Normal and R, for circuit applications.
Exclusive Nismo tires – developed by Dunlop – exhibit outstanding grip and handling characteristics. Front: 255/40 ZRF20; rear 285/35 ZRF20.
Specially-developed links fitted to the front double wishbone suspension increase castor trail to optimize wheel position during high-G cornering and improve straight-line and cornering stability. Additionally, large high-rigidity bolts are used to increase stiffness of the wheel-hub attachment area.
To minimize body-roll during cornering and changes of direction, the Nissan GT-R Nismo features a 17.3 mm hollow rear anti-roll bar which raises roll stiffness while reducing weight.
Increased rigidity in the bodyshell is achieved using adhesive bonding in addition to spot welding leading to precise suspension response under extreme load, the Nismo “factory tuned” enhancement.
2. Exterior design – Exclusive styling with improved aerodynamics
Using the latest Computational Fluid Dynamic simulation techniques to analyze airflow, Nismo has developed an aero package that improves road-holding, minimizes the negative impact of drag, while giving the car a menacing and muscular appearance.
Together, the front bumper, engine undercover strake and carbon rear spoiler increase downforce, lowering the center of gravity and generating an additional 100kg*1 (at 300km/h) compared to the freshly updated 2014 Nissan GT-R model. The car’s aerodynamic characteristics are tuned to ensure the downforce is equally spread front to rear at all speeds for progressive handling characteristics. A widened front bumper configuration and elongated yet tapered rear bumper design keep the drag to Cd 0.26, same with that of 2014 Nissan GT-R.
The Nissan GT-R Nismo will be available in five body colors: Brilliant White Pearl, Meteor Flake Pearl Black, Ultimate Metallic Silver and Vibrant Red. And unique to the GT-R Nismo model, a Dark Matte Grey*3 accentuates the car’s imposing exterior muscularity.
The GT-R Nismo’s black 6-spoke wheels are inspired by Nissan’s GT-R race car which races in the GT500 class in SUPER GT.
The Nissan GT-R Nismo cockpit inspires driver confidence through both its craftsmanship and optimized driving position.
Ergonomically sculpted carbon-fiber-backed reclining RECARO seats (Europe/Japan) comfortably, yet firmly, support the driver and front-seat passenger.
Nismo racers influenced the design of the steering wheel which is dressed in Alcantara®, with three spokes, red center mark and red stitching to give the best combination of grip, feedback and comfort.
The combi meter has carbon-like finish, and tachometer features a red design. The meter hood is also dressed with Alcantara®.
Interior trim features include discreet red stitching on the seats, center console, door trim and steering wheel.
*1: Compared to 2014 Nissan GT-R
*2: Nissan GT-R Nismo with track options
*3: Dark Matte Grey will be available starting from summer in 2014.
Nismo, a short form of “Nissan Motorsports,” is the performance brand for Nissan, and is one of the company’s purveyors of “innovation that excites.”
Nismo offers products featuring innovative technology and high performance to a wide range of customers for street use. Nismo cars provide an exciting driving experience with motorsports-inspired aerodynamics and styling, enhanced handling characteristics and unmatched agility.
In the motorsports world, Nismo competes in the highest forms of GT and sports-car racing, such as Japan’s Super GT Series and the World Endurance Championships (WEC), as well as providing engines to teams that compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The Nissan GT-R captured the Super GT championship in 2011 and 2012.
About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 267,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.
What results when film geniuses Clash Productions are combined with a snow camo’d Nissan GT-R, a ski slope, and snowmobile chase cameras? Two and a half minutes of AWESOME that is as pure as…well the driven snow (I make no pun apologies!).
This is one of those occasions in which a “where” and especially a “why” are completely unnecessary. All that you need to know is that a crew out in Sweeden dubbed “Team Ice Ricers” decided to answer the question: “can a GT-R climb a ski slope?”
Having good credit is essential to many financial milestones of life. Good credit is needed for things like renting a nice apartment, buying a house, getting a business loan, even some employers check the credit history of potential employees. However people do not usually associate good credit with test driving a car; financing a car sure but a test drive?
It looks like a new trend is starting to develop among dealerships. If you want to test out their flagship cars then better be ready to have your credit run! User “aj996tt” of the 6SpeedOnline forum (lets call him “AJ”) from Texasfound out the hard way. See, AJ was in the market for a new car. Hes a family man so he had a few trucks and SUVs on the top of his list but he kept his options open for sports cars as well. On his list of potential sports cars was the upcoming Corvette Stingray and the current Nissan GT-R
He stopped by one local Nissan dealership to check out the GT-R for himself. The staff at the dealership seemed to be from the “pinky ring and gold chain” crowd as AJ described it but the manager was nice and gave him a quick tour around “godzilla. Unfortunately, the weather was bad that day so he never went on a test drive.
Later, he was contacted by a sales rep from the Orr Nissan dealership in Corinth, TX. The rep invited AJ to check out a 2013 GT-R they had in stock. The listed price seemed like a good deal so AJ took them up on their offer and went out to the location of the car which was actually a good 50 miles away from Corinth, in Greenville, TX.
Once he reached the location he was told only a manager could show him the car. Once he finally met said manager he immediately informed AJ he could only test drive the car after filling out a credit application and being approved for financing. AJ promptly expressed his displeasure of being subjected to a credit check for a car he wasn’t even sure he wanted and then left the dealership after some choice words were exchanged.
AJ happened to have a friend who works in the legal dept at Nissan corporate and she informed him that the “credit before drive” policy is something being adapted by many OEMs with their dealerships. AJ says he has never been asked to do such a thing when shopping at Mercedes or Porsche dealerships. Frustrated, he vented to his fellow forum members.
Many users agreed that the practice smacks of “poor business etiquette” and that they have never been subjected to such a thing in their past dealings. However a user “YellowBull” who also happens to be a GM of a dealership chimed in and made some good points.
YellowBull’s take is with a car like the GT-R which is just as popular with young broke college kids as it is with affluent older adults, dealerships need to take measures to weed out the “tire kickers” and joy ride seekers, from serious buyers.
But AJ was a serious buyer and the whole experience has turned him off to GT-R’s period. What do you think? Would you be willing to submit a credit application to test drive a GT-R? Or do you think its wrong for dealers to demand such a thing from customers, even if it is in regards to a high-dollar sports car?