• May 15, 2008
Photo by Mary Seelhorst

Slightly over shadowed by all the drama surrounding the Vanishing Point Dodge Challenger, Car and Driver competed in the 2008 One Lap of America event behind the wheel of a stock Nissan GT-R. Typically a magazine editor going for an extended joy ride in a pre-production sports car isn't expected to severely push the vehicle's limits, which is why Tony Swan cruised to a decent 11th place overall finish in the event. Not a bad placement, but also apparently not good enough for some, as interested internet anti-fanboys have taken the opportunity to criticize the car based on its performance in the vent. However, the negative commentators neglected to take into account the seriousness of the top vehicles and their veteran drivers.

After spending one-on-one quality time with the GT-R, Mr. Swan also sings a slightly different song than some. He agrees that it is blistering quick, but maybe not as easy to drive as some have lead you to believe. The wide open track at Road America let Nissan's lovechild stretch its legs, but scaling down the venue did not directly translate. The Bridgestone run flat tires and inherent low speed understeer were a handful in wet and tight corner conditions. Perhaps it might have behaved the same way at the autocross venue, but lack of cone dodging experience (or more likely the lack of cones to dodge) led to a DNF for the car in the parking lot event. The drag strip also unveiled the GT-R electrical system's lack of launch control intuitiveness, as quarter mile staging methods interfered with the system's engagement. Despite a few difficulties, in the end the car was praised for its comfort level and ample luggage capacity for the week long journey. Thanks for the tip, Rexhavoc!

[Source: Car and Driver]


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  • 41 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      All those decals created too much drag.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "At the end of the three-lap run—the standard One Lap road-course time trial—the GT-R had the fourth fastest time of the day, trailing only the ACR Viper, the championship-winning Porsche Turbo, and the turbo Z06 Corvette. "

        So the fastest bone-stock car out there on the road course? I'll take that as a victory. Thats what it was designed to do. The other tests I could care less about.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Hennessey hadn't slapped exhaust and headers (and his name) on the ACR, its pretty safe to say the GT-R and the rest of the competition still would have had their butts handed to them on the road courses. By a LESS than stock ACR (due to the downgraded tires required for the event and the resulting suspension mods to work with the reduced grip). In my opinion the ACR was the story of the event, dominating nearly all of the road courses.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nope, you cannot claim victory for the bone-stock version of a car based on a race of the non-stock version.

        Not that the ACR might not be impressive, but this is a victory for Hennessey until Dodge sends one out minus any tinkering.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That was kind of my point... too bad it wasn't a bone-stock ACR. It was modded lightly enough that one might assume the headers and exhaust wouldn't make up for all of the 3-4 seconds per lap it had over the competition in many of the road course events.

        I wasn't claiming victory, but I'm pretty sure the Viper would be if it weren't for Hennessy's exhaust system... and most people should be able to see that.

        And a victory for Hennessy? For slapping on an exhaust system? I get your point, but come on... This car was 99.9% Dodge.

        Sorry, I just can't wait until we get some stock times for the ACR so some of this "OMG whatz better, GT-R, ZR1, or God?!?!" talk can stop.

        As is, I think the one lap times are a good indicator of what kind of beast the stock ACR is.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A moment of silence for the death of the adverb.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I didn't pick up on the adverb thing but the spelling of event "vent" really struck me. Next big thing is the huge spate of commaitis in the first paragraph, probably brought on by the rather lengthy sentences. The first and last commas are logical while the 3 in the middle are optional at best.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, I'm horrible with grammar, can you explain that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hmm interesting, i want to know more about the easy to drive complaint, as everyone else says it is a great DD. Also I though the launch control was easy to use... wierd
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe some of you haven't been to the strip before but the way it works is you have two light beams that you have to stage the cars front wheels between. There are two lights at the top of the tree that assist in staging between the beams. If you are the last person to stage then as soon as you stage the lights start to drop. You are left with very little time to bring up the revs and get your brain ready. My guess is after getting the car staged there wasn't enough time to do the steps to engage the launch control before the lights would drop. I never do the silly burn outs on street tires. I just drive around the water and then stage as fast as possible so I have some time to think and get my revs up. Then I just sit at the lights relaxing as the other guy with street tires blows a few dollars doing a burn out and over heating his tires. :)

        Who ever was running the lights at this event should have given the GTR a few seconds after staging to engage the launch control.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The haters will latch onto anything to bash the GTR. They ignore that the GTR was the fastest bone stock car on the road course and hang on to every out of context quote to find any flaw in the GTR.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The GT-R finish ahead of every other stock car in this event. What else do you want from the GT-R? It seems the corvette fanboys can't stand seeing the GT-R do so well and beating the Z06 around every track tested as well as beating it for best value for money. Can you hear those excuses? I remember when Z06 first came out, the vette fanboys were defending against exactly the same stuff from other fanboys. But now that GT-R beats the crap out of the Z06, those corvette fanboys resort to the same dirty, childish, underhanded tactics to undermine the performance of the GT-R. Just you wait till the V-Spec comes around.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dude, did someone non-Japanese drop you on your head as a child?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Godzilla drank 87 by accident. It made him sick.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds alright to me, and just about what I expected. Any car with that much weight up front is going to have understeer. When the power is on, the drivetrain can play tricks to counter it, but if you aren't accelerating through the corners as you should, there's nothing that can be done, the nose is going to resist changes in direction.

      I'm gonna be an ass and point out that a this stuff plays right into my point that this car has been optimized for certain things. It's fast at the N-Ring but loses almost all ability to do a 1/4 mile on the strip?

      Nissan needs to take a more rounded view of development of this car. We don't all drive the N-Ring on the way to work each day.

      The same goes for other car makers too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I just wish Nissan (and others) would concentrate less on one particular measure (N-Ring time) and make sure the car performs well under all kinds of conditions."
        The reason manufacturers test at the Nuerburgring is so their cars will perform well under all kinds of conditions. That was the reason the track was built.
        At the end of the day, the best single measure of a cars all round ability is the N-ring times. Thats the whole point.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Every mass production car has built-in low speed understeer for safety because the engineers can't possibly expect every person to get behind the wheel to be as good as Michael Schumacher.

        In engineering, it's called margin of safety.

        Theoretically, just about anything on wheels can be driven/ridden quickly in relation to the machine's max limit. Whether it can be done in reality boils down to the operator's skill and ability to adapt in order to maximize the vehicle's strengths and minimize the weaknesses. Even at the pinnacle of motorsports (no, I'm not talking about NASCAR... smirk), F1 driver always talk in terms of their ability to adapt and "find" the car's balance or sweet spot.

        Like I said in my other comment... safe to chalk this one up to user error. The GT-R's results are still impressive, if you actually read the article... the whole thing, instead of just the parts you want to skim.
        • 6 Years Ago
        tuna:
        I think you're thinking of high speed understeer. In other words, in a high speed turn, they want the front end to break traction first, instead of the rear, so it doesn't spin.

        At low speed, understeer is more a measure of the dartiness of a car. If the front end is light and the weight distribution is good, the car can change directions rapidly. If the front end is heavy, the car won't respond, it'll understeer when you try to turn. This is just because of the mass of the car and the limited (even if large) amount of grip the front tires can utilize to try to change directions.

        This car, as a car with a lot of mass in the front, will have low speed understeer. Other cars won't have so much. There's not really such a thing as low speed oversteer, the closest thing would be throttle-on oversteer I guess.

        It's not something that was designed in, it was something that couldn't be designed out. Does that mean the car sucks? Nope. But it isn't going to win any autocrosses against mid-engine cars like an Elise. Hell, with that huge hood, it's going to be tough just to SEE the cones, let alone miss them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No Smeagle, that isn't why the N-ring was built. It was built for racing.

        And despite the hype, it is possible to optimize for the N-ring. And so in the race to get better times, car companies are doing so.

        The N-ring used to be a good way to rate cars because it was a neutral arbiter. But now car companies are "studying for the test". It benefits ring lap times, but it doesn't necessarily benefit performance in other cases. It can even hurt performance in other cases.

        Car companies need to stop optimizing so much for one case. And people need to understand that you can't use the N-ring as a neutral arbiter anymore now that companies like Nissan and GM are optimizing specifically for it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        How does a driver error in the staging area equate to "loses almost all ability to do a 1/4 mile on the strip"?

        How does being the highest ranked stock car at an all- around competition suggest a need for a new "more well rounded view" of development for this car?

        Not flaming, just curious.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The article basically says the staging system at the strip thwarts the launch control. You say you can turn on the launch control after staging, until someone who has actually tried it says so, I can't assume that. You only get a short period after staging before the light goes green, yes you can leave late, but it's kind of against the spirit of drag racing to still be flipping switches and pulling shift levers to activate launch control when the light changes.

        Anyway, I'm not saying this means the car is massively flawed or anything. It's a great car. I just wish Nissan (and others) would concentrate less on one particular measure (N-Ring time) and make sure the car performs well under all kinds of conditions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think we'll see more of these types of results over the next couple months . . . Good, but not without fault. As much as we'd like to believe, there's nothing magical about the GT-R. To get that kind of performance for that price, there HAS to be some compromises.

      In addition, you can almost guaruntee that the first fleet of press cars were cheated up in SOME way. I've worked for an OEM and dealt with press fleets. All that matters is that FIRST article. That FIRST cover blurb. That FIRST impression defines the vehicle, whether us obssessed enthusiasts agree with it or not. The automakers know this and do whatever they can to make the car stand out.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The tires were stock. Its the best in high-speed cornering of the bone-stock bunch. And it weighs close to 2 tons. 1/2lb of boost will not help it corner. And that is the ace up its sleeve.

        When Edmunds tested it they borrowed a Japanese OWNER's car. It was not a press car. Its still the best at what it does.

        You're saying we're likely to see more of this in the upcoming months? Well this was a victory for the GT-R. #1 in its class, in its element. So yes, you are likely to see it be #1 in its class when the production version hits the US.

        Its the best track car for the money, and thats not changing against its current field of competitors.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, and the first uk tests by Autocar & CarMagazine were in a borrowed, privately owned GT-R too. Matter of fact, when CarMagazine did their test, the GT-R had literally just come off the boat the day before. I'm pretty sure manufacturers do it all the time, but since the first record breaking tests were done in privately owned cars... before the aftermarket had even figured out how to tune the darn things, I don't think the "secretly hotted up" theory applies. I believe the car is that good straight out of the box. It's been proven.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seriously guys, its hard enough for a car to be best at just one thing, and the GT-R is the best at road courses. That does not mean it will ever beat a top-fuel dragster. Or fly.

        Repeat: Its not just the Nurburgring. Its not just the first article. This car was clearly just as amazing at Road America as it has been in all of its road course tests.

        It is not likely that it can come home the clear winner every time in every magazine on every course its been tested on and be a total cheat. You likely will see any differing results over the next few months. It is faster than Z06s and GT3s and Turbos on tracks. The end.

        I could care less about its 1/4-mile time. That has no real value out of that controlled environment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Every time a new car comes out, there are a few cars set aside from the first build for the press to drive. You wouldn't believe the kind of attention these cars get before they are let out to the press. It's not a matter of IF they're cheated, its HOW.

        It could be an extra 1/2 pound of boost, a tweaked engine/trans cal, a slightly different tire compound, track oriented alignment, or almost ANYTHING to how the car "in the best possibly light". After the initial round of press events, including Nissan's own events AND cars that are given to individual magazines, these things usually fall by the wayside, since, like I said, the first impression is all that matters.

        I've been there. I've done it. It happens.
      • 6 Years Ago
      P.S.

      I heard directly from Tony Swan that Car and Driver's analysis led them to believe that the reported 480hp was calculated at the wheel. Tony said to my face that the car "obviously has more horsepower than they told us" and "we think the horsepower was calculated at the wheel". This is why I claim to have been in a lower horsepower car with my stock Z06. I heard it from Car and Driver, so it must be true according to their accountant and benefactors.

      In any case, I believe that Tony Swan and Car and Driver both have a lot of egg on their face for promoting their weaknesses. Just looking at the opening of the article referencing how they were over shadowed by drama from the Challenger. If having an idiot manufacturer's representative setting up track right for turn one (a right turn) at Road America just to get a photo opportunity is over-shadowing, it only over shadows the shame and ignorance, for which Car and Driver should be thankful. Only a complete jackass would wreck a car in the first leg of a long race and hope that it would make the car look good. If I had a stake in Dodge, I would be sure that guy made up a story about a bee sting in the eye, or anything else to take away from the fact that the car handles as retro as it looks.

      Perhaps the Honda minivan driver with three times Tony Swan's character and skill, or third place Kevin Boulton in his self-built eco-machine, or the CopMagnet.com Newbie drive with a live Webcast, live GPS, and live chat put you in the darkness, too. Otherwise, you may have to accept the responsibility that you are beyond your prime as a driver and a writer. If you write your own excuses, you had better have an editor in your pocket. If he or she publishes it, you should both have a box ready to haul out your trophies and rah rah crap that you have acquired for your driving and writing home with you. I find it sad that people are comparing my car and my driving to you. The right driver could have won the One Lap of America in either of our cars. The sick part is that you write as if you are the right driver but that the car cost you the win. This is the Internet age. You simply cannot sell this crap as gospel any longer. You made the mistakes, the car was better than you tell readers, and you lead Nissan, Chevrolet, and a bunch of fans of each (and others) to believe nonsense.

      The Viper ACR really should have won. If not for a bad wet skidpad, Chris Winkler could have taken a win. He was a far superior driver to anybody else in the field, and drove a car that was far more stock than the public has been led to believe. If Chris Winkler drives a Nissan GT-R in One Lap of America 2009, I can see win for Nissan. In the meantime, I hope that Car and Driver writers can stop making excuses and simply chalk it up to driver errors.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All of the supposed short-comings sound more like user error to me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dude, from your post it sounds like your panties are in a bunch, especially at your immature derogatory attempts at me. I also said electronics should be left out you yet you say I feel I believed the car can drive itself? If you read my other post below, you would know that I was saying that this car is not infallible as some like you believe it is. No car is.

        You're upset cause I pointed out that this car like all have some weaknesses. I'll call you a wah-mbulance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Franz

        A car that drives itself? who the hell would want that? Idiots who can't... Oh yah, never mind.

        No one reads and none are smart enough allow themselves the chance to be pursuaded. So let's just leave it there... ;)
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ andrewgto:
        Are you kidding me? This is probably the only car on the planet that doesn't need anybody making excuses for it. And sure, my statement can be applied to any car... but we're not talking about any car right now, are we. This article is, after all about the GT-R.
        I dunno what you've been reading, but finishing 11th in an event with a field of 77 cars... ahead of every other stock car in the event, is nothing to be making excuses about. And if you actually read my post, you'd realize that I wasn't making excuses for it. I was merely pointing out that all the people who say it can "drive itself" have been proven wrong. Come to think of it, you're probably one of them, hence your totally flawed interpretation of my post.
        No reason to be all critical and getting your panties in a bunch. And for the record, saying that my statement is an excuse, and then saying that it can apply to any car sounds kinda contradictory, doesn't it? If it can apply to any car, it applies to the GT-R. All you've done is helped to cement my point.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The tires are the stickiest street tires available. They're not R compounds, but they're VERY aggressive street tires.

        It has this much grip because it needs it. Even though the tires provide a ton of grip, the weight of the car magnifies any mistake so you can still overcome the tires without having to to anything that is too stupid.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ditto. But at least it should put to rest some of the nonsensical notions that this car can "drive itself", the Bridgestones are "the stickiest street tires available" (you listening Naggs?) and that it's trick awd system will magically overcome ham-fisted inputs from novice drivers. In the hands of a good driver this car is amazing, but in the hands of a novice it'll be slow as hell. Still, 11th overall ain't bad.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Whatever dude. My first post wasn't aimed at you and you decided to yelp like I stepped on your toes. I just pointed out in my rebuttal that you misinterpreted my first post. As for me making attempts to be disrespectful, you misunderstand. It's just a little sarcasm and humor. Lighten up. You guys take this blogging thing so serious sometimes. Jeez...
        • 6 Years Ago
        "In the hands of a good driver this car is amazing, but in the hands of a novice it'll be slow as hell" Excuses, excuses. You can apply this statement to many vehicles. Although it's a fantastic car, it's a bit over-hyped.

        I strongly feel that things like launch control, and other electronic nanny gadgets should be out. Let the driver do the driving.
      Carlos
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sure with a few after market tweeks to the suspension that under steer could be dialed out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am a second year One Lapper, and for that matter, only a second year driver. Perhaps my political side of racing will fair very weakly in the shadow of Car and Driver magazine, but I must put a spotlight on shame where shame is due.

      The source says Car and Driver, but since when did they hire such foolish writers and editors to pen weak excuses for Nissan and Tony Swan? Was it around the same time that they decided to drop a load on the legendary Brock Yates?

      It all sounds like a lot of excuses from Car and Driver. Although my first track experience of any sort was in 2006, I tend to understand a little about the egos and politics surrounding racing. As an instructor for BMWCCA, PCA, ACNA, Heartland Park, Street Survival, and many other events, the worst thing I can hear from a driver or witness, at any level, is excuses. Shame on you Car and Driver, for granting petty excuses for the car, or the driver. Shame, indeed.

      I competed in this event for my second consecutive year. I competed last year in a 100% stock 2007 Corvette Z51 and placed 21st. This year, I brought a brand new, out-of-the-showroom 2008 Corvette Z06, and I placed 22nd. I can provide excuses for everything below 1st place, as you do. For example, my first year ever on a track was two years ago. I am a greenhorn, with less than 25 wet laps in my resume. My tire pressures were off, I thought I saw Elvis at turn three, the moon was aligned wrong at Texas World Speedway, Brock Yates Jr. never learned that you do not give a ten second penalty for a cone on a recon lap (before the timer even starts), etcetera . Whatever you want, highest corporate bidder, is what Car and Driver will give you. This article holds the worst three characteristics I have ever found in a person or corporation. These are ignorance, apathy, and dishonesty. In other words, don't know, don't care, and will lie if it is convenient or pays well.

      If all events this year were dry and if I was not penalized for a cone in a recon lap this year I would have placed top ten in a lower horsepower and supposedly lesser car, and with decades less experience than your Car OR Driver.

      Your excuses are thin and your integrity is lessened by promoting your weaknesses. Perhaps you can send out something with 3000 horsepower and a driver with 500 years of experience for 2009. My bet is that you will still find flimsy excuses as to why the Car and the Driver were not ready for the task at hand.

      This article makes me wonder who paid you more, Tony Swan or Nissan.

      From the hand of Mark Murnahan of CopMagnet.com's car number 16, Shame on you, Car and Driver!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe they will go back to the ring and us the stock tires this time.
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