The R32 GT-R had a good run amongst the established marques back in Group A racing of the late eighties and early nineties, but how does the most current generation of the GT-R fare in professional circuit racing?
Quite well. Retaining the street version’s VR38DETT engine, Nismo’s GT-R GT3 boasts 550 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 470 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 RPM, and feeds that power through a Hewland six-speed sequential gearbox. Best of all, all that propels a car that’s been stripped down to a respectable 2,800 pounds. Respectable isn’t really sufficient in this case, considering how the standard GT-R weights in at nearly two tons.
Massive 330-section tires adorn all four corners, which, when coupled to Öhlins TTX-dampers, give the FR rocket the grip it needs, and AP Racing brakes with a sophisticated Bosch ABS system give it a dependable stopping force for last-minute maneuvers, as are often needed in the fights that GT racing is famous for.
At Monza’s front straight, courageous late-braking and an intimate understanding of the hefty GT-R’s proportions allow Al Buncombe to slither through the field after a brilliant start. Pushing through the competition with the drivetrain’s torque and closely-stacked gears, a bit of drafting is in order before he wisely leaves a gap to the pack in front which expands and contracts like a slinky. Fighting tooth-and-nail for those few available inches of real estate, Buncombe takes the bit in his mouth, brakes as late as possible, and finishes off his last victim in a historic first lap.