Like a pilot preparing for takeoff, I flick a few switches before heading out. I reach down to the base of the center stack and push up on the transmission, damper, and stability control switches to set them to Race mode. It’s time to see what Godzilla can do on the 11-turn, 2.14-mile Gingerman Raceway road course in western Michigan.
Every GT-R is a bona fide performance monster, but the range has a hierarchy. If the GT-R Nismo is Godzilla at his deadliest, the monster with only a slightly better attitude. It combines elements of the Nismo and the base model, adding some of the performance bits without the power bump.
Those bits start with the stiffer tune for the double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, including the Bilstein adjustable dampers. It also gets lighter, forged aluminum Rays 20-inch wheels, the wider Nismo front fenders, additional body bonding for improved body rigidity, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, and Recaro bucket seats.
Nissan doesn’t mess with the twin-turbocharged VR38DETT 3.8-liter V-6. The same 13.5 psi of boost pressure is crammed down its throat and it erupts with the same 565 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 467 pound-feet of torque from 3,300 to 5,800 rpm. No 600-hp Nismo engine here. How will I ever survive?