Zerotohundred.com – Remus: Konichiwa, Good afternoon Suzuki-san and Inoe-san, Thank you for having us here at Adenau Garage for this exclusive interview and viewing of the masked GTR35 test car. Suzuki-san, We all know you as the driver that did 7 minutes 38 seconds 54 milliseconds at Nurburgring in the masked GTR35.
Please introduce yourself and share with us on how you became involved in the development of the GTR35.
Suzuki-san: I’m from Saitama Prefecture. I have been racing for many years now. I started off with Karting, in my younger days I’ve won the All-Japan Kart Championships two times.
In 1991, I raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona and finished 1st. In 1993, I participated in the Formula 1 for Team Larrousse.
After that I’ve raced in many various national championships such as the Japanese Formula 3000 Championship (now known as Formula Nippon), Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC) and The Super GT Series (JGTC).
I have also participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I have now retired from competition racing.
In my career I have raced the GTR32, 33 and the 34. Since I’m very familiar on how the GTR behaves, my expertise is needed in the R&D of the new GTR, for this reason I was chosen to be in the R&D team as their test driver for the development of the GTR35.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: As a Test Driver for the GTR35, what do you do?
Suzuki-san: We would test the car it in various places with different climate and road conditions. The Skyline 350v was used as the R&D car to collect as much data as possible. We have been testing and developing the ‘GTR35’ as early as 2003.
Nurburgring has been our main testing ground. With 20.8 Km long and has no flat area, we would drive at 200 km/h with ups and downs, jumps and twists, turns and stops to really put extraordinary stress on the car. All the data collected from these drives are then used to develop the GTR35.
Above: Some pin up pictures of the development of the Nissan GTR
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: So the GTR35 is built based on the V35 Skyline 350? Do they share the same chassis?
Suzuki-san: The chassis of the GTR35 is built based on the V35’s. They are very similar however they are not exactly the same.
Above: More pin up pictures of the development of the Nissan GTR
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: From what we have been told, during the development of the GTR32 a Porsche 911 Turbo was taken apart for research. Is this true? So did Nissan did the same with the development of the GTR35?
Suzuki-san: (Laughs), well for the GTR35, we didn’t take apart any Porsche or any other competitors’ car. We believe we have sufficient data to develop the GTR35. GTR35 is a new kind of super car with no competitors.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: Since you have also tested the Porsche 911. How does the GTR35 fair compared with the Porsche 911 in terms of performance?
Suzuki-san: The GTR35 is very much faster and it tackles corners much quicker, the 911 is slower at taking corners. However the 911 over steers better. In terms of pricing. The 911 retails about 17 million yen but the GTR35 retails at only 8 million yen. There is a big gap in price but a small gap in performance.
Above: Adenau Garage, Toshio Suzuki’s own european marque service and performance showroom. Also does Nissan GTRs exclusively
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: We were told that the GTR35 is so advanced that it requires special tools to service the car. Can you explain further?
Suzuki-san: Not all Nissan Service Centers can service the GTR35. Only Nissan High Performance Center (NHPC) and Nismo are allowed to service and repair the GTR35. This workshop, Adenau Garage (owned by Suzuki-san) is also appointed by Nissan as an authorized service center for the GTR35. This car is so advanced that special made tools are required; this prevents unauthorized workshops from working on the car and mess things up.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: Any Carbon Fibre used in making the GTR35? Bonnet, fenders, trunk?
Suzuki-san: (Walk up to the masked GTR and knock the body panels)
Hmm… I’m not really sure if any of the body panels are made from Carbon Fibre. But what I know is this car uses two propeller shaft and one is made from Carbon Fibre for weigh reduction.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: How heavy is the GTR35 compared to the R34GTR?
Suzuki-san: The GTR35 is only a few hundred kilograms heavier than the 34.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: Do you know if the GTR35 V-Spec versions will come with Carbon Fibre body panels?
Suzuki-san: I’m not too sure on if they would. (Smile)
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: What makes the GTR35 so special from the previous GTRs?
Suzuki-san: This GTR now uses a 3.8-litre twin turbo VR38 engine with an output of 473 bhp. An extra of 1.2-litre from previous GTRs. It has sufficient engine power.
This car uses the paddle shifters seen in F1 cars. Gear changes in 0.2 seconds flat – making shifting very instantaneous, therefore allowing you to concentrate fully on controlling the car.
Also, the engine is located in the front of the car with transmission in the back for good balance. So, amongst all the cars I’ve driven, this is no doubt the one that makes you accelerate so smoothly without much effort.
Above Nissan GTR test car number 33 which scorched the 996 911 Turbo at the Nurburgring. (Suzuki-San owns it)
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: What is the toughest you have encountered working as a test driver for the development of the GTR35?
Suzuki-san: Working with Mizuno-san (Kazutoshi MIZUNO – GTR Chief Vehicle Engineer, GTR34 M-spec is named after him) and the R&D team is a challenge. We sometimes have differences in opinions and directions for the GTR35.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: After more than 5 years of R&D and testing and now the GTR35 is sold in the market. Are you satisfied with its overall performance?
Suzuki-san: We have tested frequently in Autobahn, Germany and this car easily passes the 300 km/h mark.
Personally I have never driven a car on the market that goes this fast.
I think the easiest way for you to understand this car is by driving it on the circuit. Even in the city, if you step on the accelerator, you can feel the power this car possesses.
By turning a corner, you will see how much grip and how well balanced it is. As I mentioned before, the paddle shift will convince you of how advance and high performance this car really is.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: If given a choice now what are the things that you would like improve on the GTR35?
Suzuki-san: I would want the GTR35 to be a lot faster and with even better handling.
Zerotohundred.com – Remus: (Laughs) I thought you said the GTR35 is fast?