Nissan GT-R at 50: how to build the ultimate Nissan GT-R
We check out the goodies in Godzilla’s 'N-Attack Pack'
On September 30th 2013, ex FIA GT1 champion Michael Krumm strapped himself into a Nismo GT-R. He then went for a lap around the Nurburgring. Presumably with his underwear on fire, because he returned exactly seven minutes, eight seconds and 679 milliseconds later, having sent Godzilla straight into the record books.
That lightning-quick run was enough to bag a new lap record for the fastest four-seater volume production car in the world. It was even fast enough to leave other exceedingly fast cars red-faced.
In fact, the GT-R tackled the 12.93-mile track faster than every road car in the world bar a Radical SR8 LM (6:48), SR8 (6:55), Porsche 918 Spyder (6:57) and Lambo Aventador SV (6:59).
Naturally, the car he did it in wasn’t a standard Nismo GT-R -; the already harder, faster and more fighty variant of the ballistic land missile that you know and love as the GT-R. No, Krumm’s car had an added sprinkling of go-faster parts from Nissan’s dedicated motorsports division, Nismo.
It’s a package that’s now been bundled up into the N-Attack Pack, so you too can go and set a 7:08.679 round the Green Hell. Or just impress your mates down the pub with your expensive, exclusive Godzilla jewellery.
Don’t think of the pack as an ECU flash and sticker job though. It’s the sharp end of the GT-R spectrum and the most hardcore GT-R Nissan will legitimately sell you. For how much? They won’t say. But you have to be a GT-R Nismo owner, and have done less than 16,000km to find out for yourself.
The lengths taken to make the Nismo GT-R even faster are quite extensive. There’s only a handful of engineers around the world -; who all spend a month in Japan being taught by one GT-R'Takumi’ Grandmaster how to fit the parts -; before being flown around the world to fit either the Kit A, or Kit B spec configurations. Once the parts have been shipped from Nismo HQ in Yokohama, they take two to four weeks to fit respectively.
Kit B is a slightly diluted aesthetic version of the Nurburgring car. Kit A is the one you want, with much mechanical tinkerage. Only one of each has been purchased in the UK, with the work being done by a GT-R specialist called Shane. He flies in from Paris for a month while working on the car at RJN Motorsport. RJN is home to Nissan’s factory GT3 programme (and Blancpain Endurance champions) so the N-Attack Pack is in good company.
We went down to see the parts needed to make a really, really fast GT-R. So scroll through and drool over some proper tasty bits of kit.
Dedicated ECU and TCM
Compared to the standard GT-R Nismo, there are no big level-ups in power for the N-Attack Pack. The 3.8-litre bi-turbo V6 is the same, still fitted with uprated turbos from Nissan’s GT3 racing car and a higher-capacity fuel pump. That equates to a 50bhp/22Nm jump over a standard GT-R, or 542 to 591 horsepower, and a torque increase from 630 to 652Nm.
However there’s a new map for the boost pressure to improve track performance, responsiveness out of medium speed corners and reconfigured traction settings to get all that power down.
Oh, and the engine has had a slug of special Motul oil from the race cars -; just to keep it suitably lubricated.
Carbon intercooler pipe
Oooh, isn’t it pretty? It also helps save inertial weight. We like.
In our eyes, bigger wing always equals better. The Nismo already had a hefty ironing board sat on its boot that contributed an extra 100kg of downforce over the standard GT-R. But thanks to bits nicked from the Super GT racing car, it’s had another growth spurt -; both in height and surface area.
The wing itself is pure carbon and scalloped more aggressively with a gurney lip at the rear. This all adds downforce. It’s also modeled off the GT500 race cars, so has cool'shark teeth’ inflections that slice through the air on the endplates.
Adjustable spoiler mounts
In its highest setting, the whopper of a wing is 135mm higher than a normal Nismo. High enough to fall directly into the airflow off the roof line and be most efficient at sucking the GT-R’s considerable rear end into the tarmac.
All N-Attack cars are setup for the Nurburgring. But the wing can be adjusted twelve ways. Perfect for Silverstone, Spa or… a run to Sainsbury’s.
Rear end plates
FACT: The only visual badging that differentiates an N-Attack pack is on the corner of the spoiler. Put that in your pub ammo armoury.
Carbon front fenders
Once the parts have been checked, one of the first things to be done is send the new, swollen carbon fenders off to be sprayed. If you look closely, you can see there’s a swooping extension above the arch to increase downforce -; just like the race car.
Front brake pads
Amazingly, the N-Attack pack still uses steel brakes rather than carbon. However, new softer front pads from Brembo are fitted to increase braking performance in high temperature and high load conditions.
If you were expecting a monster chin spoiler, we bring bad news. But there is a new rubbery spoiler complete with special Nismo bolts to attach below the existing bumper. It helps direct air into the venturis in the flat carbon bottom of the car to make sure Nismo doesn’t turn from a land, to air missile.
Being plastic, it also offers some sort of protection from the lovely carbon underside and bumper from chinning kerbs when being driven on the road.
Front and rear limited-slip differentials
These, arguably, are the most serious parts of the kit: the front (steel plate) and rear (carbon plate) limited-slip diffs. Fitting them is a skill in itself.
First off, the engine has to come out. Then the gearbox. But it’s not just a case of bolting the new one in after that. The front diff is a proper pain to fit as the original housing has to be shaven down by hand to accommodate it. Then it’s just trial and error to get the shims set up and the whole thing hooking up nicely.
Once in, they’re optimised for front and rear balance. They’ll make a real difference though as they’re extremely good at transferring all that torque to the ground via the trick four-wheel-drive system.
Compared to the normal Nismo, they’re a lot better out of tight corners. So if you take Nürburgring for example, and you come out of the Carousel, they’re very good at the getting power down and you towards the horizon.
That’s some more good-looking metal, isn’t it? It’s a dedicated Öhlins setup, developed from the GT3 suspension system and honed especially for the Green Hell.
Because the Nurburgring is so bumpy, undulating and unrelenting, the damping has been completely reworked. Again, it helps with traction and steering stability. It’s also four-way adjustable. In'Ring spec, the car is no lower at the back than the standard Nismo, but 15mm lower at the front.
Completing the suspension upgrades are a pair of new front and rear anti-roll bars. They’re fully adjustable and make sure the car stays flat and level while punishing your organs with unbelievable grip levels.
The MY2017 GT-R -; showcased at the New York Auto Show -; had a new toy fitted: a titanium exhaust and Active Sound Enhancement (ASE). They’re valves that open to allow those bazooka quad exit exhaust pipes to scream freely. Naturally, big brother N-Attack also benefits from a titanium exhaust as part of both packs.
If you bought a Nismo and did not select the new exhaust as an option when originally ordering the car, it’s fitted as part of the upgrade. It’s a spiraling spaghetti string of gorgeously expensive metal. It’ll also sound proper.
Carbon bucket seats
Recaro came to the rescue when a new, lightweight bucket seat was needed for a'Ring record car. They’re fully fixed (no shift forward, back or recline) and are personalised to the driver’s seating position with all mechanical gubbins stripped out to save weight.
Carbon rear bulkhead
In Kit B form, you can only get one fixed Recaro bucket for the driver as there needs to be access to the rear seats. That’s because it remains a four-seater. But in Kit A guise, things get serious by ripping out both rear seats and replacing the aluminum rear bulkhead with a carbon one. This sheds a load of weight while increasing torsional rigidity. Win, win… if you don’t have kids, that is.
Rear seat finishers
Instead of leaving the bare carbon bulkhead on show, the rear deck is then clad in this diamond stitched cover. The centre armrest is also replaced with a carbon variant.
Carbonfibre speaker surround
As is the speaker surround. Which looks incredibly cool. But if such a strict diet is in force, why not bin the hefty boombox altogether?
Even with a car as bespoke as this, there are still options available. Two to be precise, but purely as they’re not road legal.
The first is a carbonfibre bonnet gurney. It’s a carbonfibre strip that surrounds the bottom of the windscreen to help downforce. Due to pedestrian safety legislation, it’s not fit for the road.
On this particular car, the owner has spec’d it so the mounting points on the bonnet will be installed and the part will be supplied for use on track.
The second option is a track-focused, fiddly-to-fit six-point safety harness. If optioned, the road legal standard seat belt is retained in the car but the fixation points for the harness are installed for circuit use. Or if you want to keep your Chinese takeway super safe in the passenger seat on the way home.
STORY Rowan Horncastle
PHOTOS Mark Riccioni