November 5, 2012
A GT-R Force
Nov. 2 – Sugo, Japan – I sat next to former Daytona champ Toshio Suzuki in the new 2013 GT-R having been warned by some of his previous co-pilots that our test laps would leave me amazed, as well as possibly a very whiter shade of pale.
With my “Best of Procul Harum” CD still at home, we were about to hit speeds above 230 kph (143 mph), feel multiple G-Force in hairpin curves, and go from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds – the car can do 2.7 seconds, all the while trying to chat about the new model’s handling. Suzuki-san offered these insights before our ride began:
“I think the balance of the car is much better as a whole. For instance, body frame resistance has been strengthened, and to cope with that, the tires and suspension have been tweaked accordingly. The engine torque has increased, and tuning precision has been upgraded after reviewing details such as the intake exhaust valve-timing. We reviewed the tuning precision of these small areas.”
For much of the Sugo circuit run, words – to the pleasure of many who know and endure me – were impossible, but with the GT-R in the iron hands of the veteran Le Mans driver, comfort soon took over.
Admittedly, my face appears to be undergoing electro-shock therapy, but it was a kinder, gentler kind of mood change, as I enjoyed a Master Class in car handling and speed.
The main comments from experienced drivers and GT-R owners who have watched Suzuki at the wheel is that he takes the car to places so counter-intuitive to perceived motoring protocol that it’s like a jazz virtuoso playing.
I don’t regret not taking the GT-R wheel Friday, as it would have been like asking Charlie Parker to borrow his saxophone after an extended riff, when instead I could enjoy a motoring “Bird” whose playing takes cars off the charts and into unexplored potential.
Nissan Global Media Center