Nissan GT-R to go hybrid

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Nismo, Williams and new development team to take Japan’s finest supercar to a whole new level.

In late June, the Formula One and sports car world was rocked by news of an unlikely industrial collaboration: Nine-times F1 constructor’s champion Williams and Nissan’s tuning arm Nismo announced they will join forces to build fast road cars.

Using their specialist expertise in aerodynamics, simulation and material science, Williams Advanced Engineering will tie-up with Nismo to create future road cars for launch worldwide starting from 2014.

Nismo, which also runs Nissan’s global racing program, also has stellar racing credentials, having won the 2011 FIA GT1 drivers and teams titles in the GT-R, as well as last year’s Super GT championships in Japan.

“Williams have a proven history of making racing technology benefit road cars, and so do we,” said Nismo President Shoichi Miyatani.

This, potentially, could be great news for sports cars lovers as Williams has an impressive heritage of involvement in fast road cars, from the Clio Williams of 1993 to last year's hybrid Jaguar C-X75.

Readers who keep a close eye on developments at Germany’s famed Nurburgring will remember that a heavily tuned and camouflaged Nissan GT-R Nismo was spotted testing earlier this month.

But while that car will debut at November’s Tokyo motor show, it won’t feature any work done by Williams.

Not yet at least. In collaboration with Williams Hybrid Power (WHP), creators of the electromechanical composite flywheel system now used by Porsche and Audi, Nismo will increase the GT-R’s power and fuel economy by fitting this state-of-the-art technology in addition to specialised aero parts and materials to a model due out as early as 2015.

In other GT-R news, 2011 FIA GT1 champion and 2012 Japan Super GT winner Michael Krumm has replaced test drive meister Toshio Suzuki as development driver for the GT-R (R35) program.

Suzuki was behind the wheel of the GT-R that posted a blistering 7:18.6 lap time around the Nurburgring. Until the Porsche 918 Spyder set a blistering 6:57 lap, the GT-R was the second most rapid mass-produced road cars at the ‘Ring, just behind the Dodge Viper ACR.
That is of course after Mr GT-R, Kazutoshi Mizuno, the man who spent a decade of his life devoted to building Japan’s best ever supercar, resigned and was replaced with former GT-R R34 senior engineer Hiroshi Tamura earlier this year. From a personal point of view, this writer was sad to see Mizuno leave the GT-R stage as he was one of the last great characters of Japan’s car industry.
We’re told Mizuno had reached mandatory retirement age, but we have also heard rumours that he was not happy that his GT-R was to be Nismo-cized, taking the car in a different direction to the “supercar for the average man” image that he had championed for so long.

Whatever the reasons for Mizuno-san’s departure, expect to see the GT-R get lighter, quicker, faster and more fuel efficient over the next few years.



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Words by Peter Lyon