• Video
  • May 7th 2014 at 5:02PM
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Ever wonder what it's like to be a manufacturer's development driver at the Nürburgring? We imagine it's pretty cool. After all, you get to spend your days zooming about the greatest racetrack on the planet in a vehicle that is usually months or more away from consumers. For Hiroyoshi Kato, whose actual title is Technical Meister, life is even better than your typical development driver, because he spends his days wringing out the Nissan GT-R Nismo around the Green Hell.

Kato-san has a long history with both Nissan and the Ring. He had a major hand in the development of the R32, R33 and R34 Skyline GT-Rs, having first come to the Ring nearly three decades ago.

His experience with the Nismo, though, is different than the other vehicles he's contributed to. As he explains it, there are real racers on hand to test the car on the track, like Formula One reserve driver Sébastien Buemi. Instead, Kato focuses on the track-to-road balance. Still, he has some truly interesting insights on the car and the track, including his surprise at turning a sub-eight-minute lap in his first outing. That, along with a few other things (one of which is an R34 being hustled about), make this a must-watch video from Nissan.

Scroll down for a look.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Rich M.
      • 1 Year Ago
      the hardest part of testing at the Ring, what may be great at the Ring doesn't translate to the real world. one of the reason they spend so much time testing is due to the countless tires, dampers, springs, alignment settings to have a car that handles well on the road but at the ring at the same time.
      • 1 Year Ago
      id like to see how nissan will engineer the new gtr. i think it will really change the game. the hybrid performance tech might set a new precedent.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whenever I watch videos from Nissan on the GT-R and they feature the Japanese engineers, developers, builders, etc. I am always reminded that they put the customer at the center of development. I speak Japanese so I did not have to rely on the subtitles to understand him (subtitles were good, but not a 100% of what he was saying all the time). It's pretty cool to see that this car is a serious performance vehicle that rivals exotics yet the people making it consider the customer's needs and practical uses quite a lot. Many exotic makers build the car for image, setting records, or exclusivity and their attitude is like, "We'll let you buy it... for this price." As for the GT-R, they keep the customer front and center while developing the highest level of performance. This is what I really like about the GT-R and Nissan's engineers. It was exemplified when he discussed how much faster the R35 was compared to the R34. He mentioned that it was a concern for him given that the machine is getting faster, but not necessarily the driver's reaction speed or skill level as he discussed how machines can outperform the ability of the driver. He then explained that the development of the GT-R must account for that to keep the customer safe and in control. He basically stated that it was their responsibility at Nissan to think of the driver's needs even as the GT-R gets faster by the generation.
        • 1 Year Ago
        You basically explained how I felt when first stepping foot into a Japanese car for the first time. I got out of my modded and gutted Rio Red Mustang Cobra and sat down in a 2006 Evolution IX 5spd for a test drive. Holy crap was that modded by someone already I thought?!? The pedal was very responsive and the car almost wanted to accelerate without having to press the pedal down further. This can't be stock I thought.... I could hear the turbo, the exhaust wasn't as subdued, yet the creature comforts were there and the ride was quite smooth. I was hooked. I too am now a Japanese car lover.... They are the only ones who seem like they are "trying" to push the envelope and give me something I shouldn't have and do not need. Everyone else screams "practicality!" with their lineup. Ford I get it that FWD is cheaper and "good enough" for most.... Yet I'm only drawn the the ridiculousness of making it AWD because we can. The Japanese do that and everyone else has excuses it seems.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really like the way Nissan work with this car. Always keeping us on our toes, waiting for the next spec and model. The GTR simply is the most exciting and innovative car in a class of its own.
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Autoblog Qu├ębec is running article on a Toronto GT-R driver caught at 240 km/h (150mph) . I wonder if he was trying to beat this time ;-) http://quebec.autoblog.com/2014/05/07/video-arrestation-240-kmh-autoroute-407-toronto-nissan-gtr/
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