The upcoming Nissan GT-R is already a streetbound race car, but rather than just toss the tasty-enough VK V8 in the engine bay and call it a day, Nissan's going all out with an engine befitting an actual racer. The VK45 was rumored to be the engine for the GT-R, but Nissan felt its overall style was more Grand Touring than was appropriate, so they reached back into history and pulled out a little number from the R390 LeMans racer.
Follow the jump for the story. Thanks to Chuck for the tip!
The R390 sported a 3.5 liter V8 known as the VRH35L, which was essentially recreated as a V6 production engine in the form of the upcoming GT-R's VR38VETT. Even though it loses two cylinders, it gains 300cc of displacement, for a total of 3.8 liters. Oh yeah, there's a couple of turbochargers thrown in for good measure, too. Despite the amount of air it can pump, the VR38 is a compact mill with lots of trick touches. Among the most interesting features, and probably the ones that tuners will hate the most, are the integrated turbine housings in the exhaust manifolds. Having the impellers right in the manifold keeps weight down and improves response, while also making the overall package more compact and thus easier to nestle down into the frame. Each cylinder bank has its own independent intake manifold, which is the main thing you see when lifting the hood. The cylinders fed by that plumbing are occupied by lightened pistons, which are in turn flung around by svelte connecting rods and crankshaft, too. Cosworth had a hand in engineering the engine, which has an alloy block with linerless bores, plenty of magnesium alloy pieces, an oiling system capable of coping with high g's, and an eagerness to rev in a way 3800ccs usually aren't.
The GT-R will be impressive when it debuts in just a couple of months, and from the numbers, it looks like it'll give a Porsche 911 Turbo quite a run for its (big pile of) money. The horsepower figure for both cars is 480ps, and while the GT-R gives up some torque to the Porsche, the GT-R rips off equally quick dashes to 100 km/h (3.9 seconds) and has been designed with vehicular balance as an overarching theme. While the chassis of the GT-R can handle more power, Nissan's considerable Group C racing experience showed that cars with better balance are faster than horsepower champs. With a front engine/AWD layout, it'll be less a widowmaker than the 911, which can get wiggly at times. How's this sound – performance equal to (and potentially better) than the 911 Turbo for half the price (7.9 million Yen versus 18.2 million Yen)? Yeah, we thought so. Besides, the GT-R isn't stuck in some kind of iconoclastic styling purgatory the way the 911 is.