In this video, two of the greatest tech-heavy, twin-turbocharged track toys show down at the Nürburgring: a Porsche GT2 RS and a Nissan R35 GT-R. With outrageous straight-line speeds, some serious grip in the faster corners thanks to their aero kits, popping and crackling from the exhausts, and the gorgeous scenery of the Eiffel Mountains rushing past, this video is eight minutes of automotive nirvana.
The driver of the camera car is none other than sebastian vittel — no, not the F1 driver — a talented road racer, crotch rocket rider, and ‘Ring runner whose GT2 RS is his latest track acquisition. A discerning driver with high standards, he fitted the GT2 RS with Michelin Cup R tires and a Manthey alignment for better track performance. He also raised the ride height to handle the Nürburgring’s bumps, installed a more widely adjustable rear wing, and steel brakes for cheaper servicing. You have to tip your hat to a guy who starts tweaking his GT2 RS just after picking it up.
More on Vittel’s car here:
The other car is an R35 GT-R with some “GT3-spec modifications”. What’s important is that it’s been slimmed down to just 3,300 pounds. Considering how the stock car tips the scales nearer to two tons, that’s not too shabby. Oh, it also makes 760 horsepower and belches big flames (7:13).
That’s about sixty pounds heavier than the Porsche, but it also has 60-more horsepower than the Porsche. Both are paddle-shifted, both have incredible traction, and the level of focus is similar, all of which makes for a perfect comparison.
Noticeably from the start, the Nissan does seem to have a slight edge in launch off the corner and in traction. Notice how it accelerates with an urgency that belies its size and weight — even when its slightly sideways (6:49)! Though the Porsche is incredibly composed for having so much power driving just the rears, it does spin them occasionally and Vittel has to tread a little cautiously when deploying 553 lb-ft from just 2,500 rpm. The Nissan is also a hair quicker in the straightest sections of the course, but it seems its driver has to brake harder and more frequently than Vittel.
It’s no secret that Vittel isn’t pushing his Porsche to the ragged edge of adhesion, but he and the GT-R’s driver are passing others easily and pushing more than most would dare — just a testament to the stability of the cars and the reassurance they offer. Even when the GT-R does move around, like when it’s trail-braked beautifully at 6:35, it still sits comfortably on the asphalt and exits without any histrionics. Both carve the perfect lines and never overcharge, but this consistently smooth, accurate approach helps highlight how these two would stack up in the real world.
Unfortunately, the Nissan has been modified to such an extent it’s no longer street legal. In fact, its exhaust was even too loud for the Nürburging — registering 134 db — and was promptly black flagged a few laps later. You can criticize the GT-R for being too anodyne and synthetic, but something that’s able to make a GT2 RS work a bit, and is as loud as a Boeing 737, must be pretty exhilarating.