Just when the fire(s) started by the Nissan GT-R vs. (insert most any Porsche model here) had started to burn themselves out, Porsche goes and throws fuel on the flame war by calling into question Nissan's publicly announced lap times at the Nurburgring.
If you haven't been following the story that closely, don't feel bad, you're not alone. Here's a quick refresher.
- In January reports started surfacing about the GT-R beating the Porsche 997 Turbo in every test thrown at it. Soon there after various print and online automotive rags started a feeding frenzy about the proposed capabilities of the GT-R.
- Over the next few months, the reports kept coming in and as production versions of the GT-R were made available to the automotive press, more and more test were conducted with the results mixed.
- Meanwhile in the Porsche camp, at places like Rennlist, the debates raged as to whether the tests were accurate, fair and representative of real world conditions. At the heart of the discussion were questions about the tires used on the GT-R vs those used on the Porsche.
- In early February, we received confirmation from a 993C4S.com reader that the translation of the comments on the Japanese car shows (where most of the controversy started) did indeed suggest that the tires on the Porsche were worn and not comparable to that on the GT-R. Nothing earth shattering here, just good to know and adds a little color.
- Later in the month, Chris Harris, of Autocar Magazine, added even more fuel to the already raging fire when he declared the Porsche GT3 the winner over the GT-R even though the Nissan put up a slightly faster lap time.
- For the next few months the subject of Nissan GT-R vs. Porsche provided good content for readers of places like Autoblog and Jalopnik to continue the name calling and finger pointing (not to mention the repeated cry for tests against the Corvette Z06)
- At the end of April, the beginning of May, Nissan made a public announcement showcasing their record time around the Nurburgring of 7 minutes and 29 seconds. A full 11 seconds faster than the best time achieved by the Porsche 997 Turbo
Clinton Deacon of World Car Fans ended a post on the subject with the following line:
The world can now look forward to a response from the GT-R's main competitor, the Porsche 911 Turbo whose best time stands at a lowly 7 minutes and 40 seconds.
Porsche fires a shot at Nissan
For almost four (4) months it looked like Deacon was wrong. Porsche stayed silent on the subject. Then, just this week in an interview with Carsguide.com, Porsche's August Achleitner, the 911 product chief said in reference to the GT-R's purported "ring" time,
This wonder car with 7:29 could not have been a regular series production car. For us, it's not clear how this time is possible. What we can imagine with this Nissan is they used other tyres.
According to Carguides.com, Achleitner believes the time achieved by Nissan, with ex-Formula One driver Toshio Suzuki, would only be possible with a semi-slick race-style tire. You see, Porsche had procured their own production GT-R and ran it on the Nurburgring with their own driver against their own car(s). The results were predictable; The GT-R's time came in at 7 minute and 54 seconds as compared to 7 minutes and 38 seconds for the 911 Turbo. It should be noted that these times were done on the same day, in the same weather conditions, with the same driver in each car.
To us, it's understandable why Porsche calls into question the lightning like results claimed by Nissan. If they are true, it would make the Nissan GT-R the second fastest production car around the ring ever (the number one spot going to the Pagani Zonda F.) While that in itself isn't the issue, the biggest problem with Nissan's claim is that according to published horsepower, the GT-R is on par with the 911 Turbo, yet 20 kilos (44 lbs) heavier. That's a big weight difference and one that would be hard to get past when shaving more than 10 seconds off of your lap time.
Nissan and Porsche you can Stop the Flame War
Here's an idea. Let's put this argument to rest once and for all. One of the better suggestions we've seen to date comes from a reader over at Autoblog. He suggests the following:
I don't want to step out of line here...I know how much empty speculation means to a lot of people here. But, you know, maybe Porsche and Nissan could meet at the 'ring' -- Porsche with their cars and Nissan with its car -- and actually test their cars...together. I know it's a really odd concept, but work with me here.
- Porsche brings the 911 Turbo, GT3 and GT2
- Nissan brings the GT-R
- Mechanics from Porsche get to inspect the GT-R
- Mechanics from Nissan get to inspect the Turbo, GT3 and GT2
- Once everyone is satisfied, each car gets 3-laps on the 'ring
- Toshio Suzuki drives the Nissan and Walter Rohrl drives the Porsches
With the best of three laps recorded for each car, they can put this stupid flame war to rest.
What a great suggestion. Porsche? Nissan? What do you say? Can we get this done? Or, is the publicity (good or bad) just too much to give up?
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