Sunday, June 9, 2019

Real Life History: The Nurburgring Car in the Flesh!!

So anyone who's an R33 GT-R fan knows that the 33 was the first production car to lap the infamous Nurburgring in under 8 minutes - 7'59" to be precise. (FYI, the BNR32 did so in 8'20" but it was a struggle with the car understeering heavily and the brakes not up to par...)

As a result of the 7'59" lap time, Nissan engaged in a media campaign which highlighted this 21 second difference, starting with this TV commercial:

And here is the promotional video that was shown at Nissan dealerships all around the country when the car went on sale:

I've never been interested in any of the pre-production GT-Rs, 33 or otherwise, until now.  That's because this week at the Nissan Gallery at Nissan's Global Headquarters, I spotted this being displayed (cars that are stored in the Nissan Heritage Collection at Zama are rotated on a 2-3 week basis):

Initially, I have to admit I was more interested in the Z31 - haven't seen one since I was a teenager back in the USA.
 I thought the 33 was just another AL0 silver R33 GT-R...
But wait a minute - what's up with the red brake lamp in the bumper??
That's when I decided to read the plaque up front and...

So this is the ACTUAL CAR that did the 7'59"!! Factory test car, chassis number 000055!

I posted these photos to my Facebook account, and I think some of my R33 Facebook friends were just as excited - some of them were asking for more close up photos... so I went back down later and took the following. (Note, I did NOT open any doors or step over the barriers - hey I follow the rules!)

You can make out the padded rollcage showing in the left A pillar and front of the roof lining.
Better view of the rollcage - and barely used seats. Note the degradation of the door rubber though.

Best view of the rollcage set-up
Ok but I also heard rumors of other mods other than just body rigidity improvements (plus a cage would be needed presumably if they crashed on the track so it makes sense from that perspective too). So I walked around to see what I could find. Obviously not allowed to pop the hood, but I have an idea for that in the future...

Brakes look like the OEM 4 pot Brembo calipers

Note how the caliper paint looks messed up, as if they spilled too much brake fluid when bleeding the brakes. However the Brembo logo is still white, which means the caliper didn't get as hot as I had on my car - better driving by the pros probably lol.
Underneath the car - I did look under the FRONT side as well, but it looked very OEM. The rear underside, however, was interesting:

Note the oil cooler on the right

And this exhaust. Looks OEM - 2 pipe muffler, but from the down pipe to the muffler itself that looks like about 90mm...!

And what about mileage? How much has this car run?
Oh, the 300km Speedometer is interesting...

10,416 kms!
And if you look closely, looks like they installed extra padding for the driver's left knee and right knees. Check out this post and you will see it.

Anyway, I'm still curious about what other mods this car had. From what I could see, looked pretty stock except the exhaust pipe suggests not all is stock in the powertrain. Maybe a personal visit to the Heritage Collection is in order soon.

Meanwhile - here are a few more photos for Z31 fans. Pretty cool car, considering at the time it was sold I thought it was a bloated, tech loaded and slow car.
That turbo scoop and pop up lights are pure awesome!

T-Roof, leather seats... and auto transmission. Yeah, rich housewife's car
Please, someone tell me what this "Bodysonic Amplifier" is!!!

Actually, thanks to Mr. Google I know what this is. Very cool feature! Ah, the 80s....

PS - I found an article about Gan-san and his trip around the Nurburgring in a 33...enjoy!


The Digital Seagul said...

I love seeing stuff like this. I'm with you on not caring about preproduction cars, but record cars are kind of neat. I'm super curious as to what extra modifications its had. I would guess cooling system maybe?

Aki said...

Thanks for commenting! Yeah, saw the rear oil cooler, but even though I tried couldn't spot a front mounted engine oil cooler. Likely it would need that for sure...

Anonymous said...

At last man! Or should I say Atty. Aki! Haha! Was wondering what why it's been months and no post. Was even thinking did he sell the nice 33, I don't think so... Even commented on Ale's blog on your whereabouts. LOL
Well yeah you very busy because of that bad sneaky guy, I knew his face couldn't be trusted. Haha! But atleast he helped the company made a big comeback, but even doing that doesn't give the right to do that kind of corruption. I just hope all be beack to Normal, and maybe even have an all JDM only alliance, drop the EU stuff. Nissan is the bread and butter of the alliance anyways.
Wow so this is the 1st car that broke the 8 min. mark in the ring!! So niiice!

Anonymous said...

Very cool stuff.

I suspect that if you pop the hood and take a look at the boost restrictor it's either been drilled out or non-existent. If they were willing to make some "tweaks" to the exhaust they probably ran more boost as well.

Anonymous said...

Great find!! Extremely interesting! I've just been reading some comments about the achievements of all three generations, and I find it amusing how people still claim the R32 is the more competent car and choose to completely ignore the ring lap and its LeMan success. I love them all, but the R33 was the most accomplished, a complete rework of the R32. The R34 threw in some tech and a six speed with basically the same underpinnings as the S3 33 and a less cohesive body design.

Great dedication to the passion Aki, love the work, and adore the car. Keep it coming, has been a tremendous journey.