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Porsche accuses Nissan of cheating – Nissan invites Porsche test-driver to a driving training

Some automotive and motor-sport insiders are following the Nissan-Porsche �dispute’ on who did the faster lap on the Nuerburgring-Nordschleife very closely.
The �dispute’ is becoming more and more public after Porsche officials doubted the capability of Nissan’s GT-R to be faster than the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Porsche 911 GT2.
The Nordschleife, which is regarded by automotive companies as the toughest testing circuit in the world, puts enormous stress on the various parts of a car tested on it. Automotive companies have even used the rule of thumb that each 1000 km spent on the Green Hell track-as former Formula 1 world champion Sir Jacky Steward calls it-are equivalent 10000 km driven anywhere else.

In addition to this, the Nordschleife is also the perfect ground to show off the exceptional harmony between handling, traction and raw engine power required to score the fastest possible lap time. In the last few months however, the Nordschleife was battle ground for a power-play between Nissan and Porsche.

When Nissan reported the 7:29 Nurburgring lap time for its hot new GT-R sports car, the news caused an immediate turmoil in the world of automotive press. But rather than accepting the new record number, Porsche executives and engineers were skeptical about the lap time and therefore decided to buy a standard GT-R and perform their own tests.
Porsche 911 GT2

“It’s not clear how this time is possible,� August Achleitner Porsche’s 911 product chief told the Herald Sun newspaper. “This wonder car with 7:29 could not have been a regular series production car.�

Porsche engineers were able to achieve a lap time of 7:54 with the GT-R, which was brand new from a U.S. dealership. On the same day with the same expert driver, a 911 Turbo test car managed 7:38 and the GT2 achieved 7:34.
Mr. Achleitner said the 7:29 time might have been possible with semi-slick race tires, but Nissan claimed the GT-R used completely ’stock’ tires.

“The Nissan is a good car,� conceded Achleitner. “But this car is about 20 kilos heavier than the Turbo.� Achleitner said his team couldn’t understand how the GT-R could be as fast as Nissan claimed, but they now seem confident their range-topping models are at least as fast, if not faster. “This technical puzzle now fits together,� he concluded.

Nissan on the other hand acted in a very cool manner to the above-mentioned allegations. Sticking to Nissan's tagline "Shift hospitality", the Chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno has graciously offered remedial driving classes to the driver for Porsche's lapping session where a GT-R was reportedly 25 seconds off Nissan's torrid time of 7 minutes, 29 seconds.
The current record holder of the Nuerburgring-Nordschleife ... The Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR

As the winter is approaching and testing on the track will impaired due to the deteriorating weather conditions, a hot and competitive spring shall be expected. Furthermore, when spring arrives, it will be highly expected to encounter disguised mysterious German students in Nissan's performance driving school for GT-R owners.

Meanwhile the new record holder of the lap time around the Nordschleife is the Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR scoring 7.22,1 minutes, thus smashing the previous lap record scored by the Chevrolet ZR1 by a mere 4.3 seconds.

It seems like we will have a very �hot’ and exciting spring 2009 at the Nurburgring. We will surely follow Nissan’s media invitation for attending the next testing session at the Nuerburgring in spring 2009.

And of course Nissan didn’t want to leave the Porsche accusations uncommented. Below you will find Nissan’s official statement:

Nissan Motor Company Ltd.
Global Communications
October 9, 2008

In light of comments made recently in the media concerning the testing of the Nissan GT-R, it is clear that there are some important facts that were not accurately represented.
• On September 24, 2007 the Nissan GT-R recorded a lap time of the Nordschleife circuit at Germany's Nurburgring of seven minutes and 38 seconds. This lap time was completed in weather conditions that the Nissan test team knew would not show the full potential of the car.

• On April 17, 2008 the Nissan test team was back at the Nurburgring and recorded a new lap time of seven minutes and 29 seconds, several times.

• For all testing at the Nurburgring and other circuits such as Sendai Highlands in Japan, the GT-R development team used production specification vehicles with production specification tires. These tests are part of the extensive performance and durability program undertaken before, during and after the commercial introduction of the GT-R.

• The GT-R is a world-class supercar developed to be sold in multiple global markets. While specifications can differ across the various markets, the cars used to record both Nurburgring lap times were identical to the Japanese market production specification cars.

• For the April 2008 test, the GT-R carried an additional 50kg of weight due to the Marelli data recorder and video camera equipment. In addition, the test was witnessed by 'Best Motoring' magazine from Japan who reported the test in their July 2008 issue, which included a DVD program of the session.

• Nissan records the lap times around the Nurburgring using the same methodology and measuring locations as Sport Auto Magazine in Germany. Sport Auto Magazine provides the most consistent and objective measurement of lap times around the Nurburgring, allowing accurate comparisons between different vehicles.

• In both timed lap sessions at the Nurburgring, chief test driver and professional racing driver, Toshio Suzuki was at the wheel. Suzuki has been the chief test driver on the GT-R program throughout the vehicle's development.

The GT-R offers two different tire choices for customers:
• Bridgestone POTENZA RE070R
• Dunlop SP SPORT 600 DSST CTT

• For the tests conducted at the Nurburgring where the lap times of 7:38 and 7:29 were recorded, the Dunlop tires were used. The tires – which are designed for high performance driving in the dry and wet - used in the tests were identical to the production specification tires available to GT-R customers.

• In June, 2008 Dunlop Japan issued a press release announcing that their tires had been used by Nissan to record the 7:29 lap time. The release can be accessed in Japanese and English at:
• For any media interested in seeing the actual tires used at the test (7:29 lap time), they should contact the Public Relations Department at Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. in Japan.

Driving the GT-R
• Consistent with industry benchmarking practices, we are aware that several auto makers have purchased the GT-R for their own testing and evaluation. Like all GT-R customers, we recommend that any auto maker buying a GT-R should follow the recommended run-in procedures, service schedules and maintenance to ensure the maximum performance from their car.

• In addition, we offer performance driving courses for prospective and current GT-R owners to help them get the best performance from their car. We would welcome the opportunity to help any auto manufacturer with understanding the full capabilities of the GT-R.

From Kazutoshi Mizuno, Chief Vehicle Engineer and Chief Product Specialist for GT-R:
"We have used circuits like the Nurburgring and Sendai extensively during the development of the GT-R. The fastest lap-time was never the objective but a simple parameter for us to measure the GT-R in a consistent way against other world class supercars."
"Testing a car with specialized parts such as unique tires or suspension has no meaning for us. The GT-R was designed from the start to be a supercar that could be driven anywhere, anytime and by anyone. For us, testing the car in standard production specification is far more relevant than creating a one-off vehicle that our customers cannot buy."

Due to the weather conditions at the Nurburgring, testing has now stopped and will resume around April 2009. Nissan will be back at the Nurburgring testing both the standard GT-R and upcoming additional models. We look forward to welcoming more members of the media to join us for these test sessions, consistent with our transparency at previous test sessions.


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