Scotts GTR Track Report
Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:06 PM
I returned from the track last night, and wanted to share my story and impressions with you all.
The track I visited was Lime Rock Park, in CT, one of the most storied and well loved circuits in the US. They have just got done repaving the place, and it looked outstanding. Very smooth, (that is new if you have ever driven there before), no concrete, and the ALMS guys were just there so lots of new sticky rubber on the pavement. Track conditions were 80 degrees and sunny. I was driving in our DE's advance class, with Formula cars, Exige 240 Cup's and Porsche GT3 Cup cars. So it was a fast crowd.
First impressions: Got in the car, started her up and headed out to the track. LOTS of people were watching, from instructors to the Skip Barber crew chiefs. Everyone wanted to see this thing go. I must have been asked 100 times if the GTR's were available yet and how long I waited. I tried to blank that out as I waited to go out for the first time. I sat and waited with the stereo cranked on some tunes, and AC going full blast. As the INT class rolled off the track, and we rolled on, got the switches all up in R mode, and turned off the stereo and AC. I was ready.
First lap was under yellow, and gave me some time to get my seat in the right spot, get the MFD on the right screen, and tires warmed up a little. It took me a bit to get the feel of the paddles through my driving gloves. The wheel felt good, searing is weighted perfectly as well. The start/stop and mark buttons are within a thumbs touch on the wheel, and nice and big numbers on the MFD.
Green flag and we are off, I am about mid pack. The car pulls hard on the strait, even after 100 mph. The turbos seem to have plenty of capacity up top and dont fall on there face. Entering turn 1, I downshift twice in rapid succession, hard on the brakes and then trail brake in. The car is pushing (under steer) with a lot of tire noise. That's ok, as it gives you an idea of how far on the edge you are. Very controllable to point the nose with your right foot. Turn 1 becomes turn 2, and as the car flattens out, I am on the gas. The front of the car pulls its self around (G meter is pegged at 1+) and I am motoring out letting the wheel unwind and setting up for the only left hander on the course. I let the car drift out the right side of the track for a very late turn into 3, tires howl, you can feel the weight of the car here, its not intrusive, but it does not flick like a lighter car, you have to set it. Car settles through the apex and gains speed to nail 4 and be able to be full throttle on the apex. The car has some body roll, but feels good, for a street car. Not a lot of roll in R mode. You can feel the AWD bighting in this corner very well. The car flattens out, and I shift to 4th for a run down the back strait. Braking hard , I am setting the front end to punch up the hill. As the car slides into the hill, I am unwinding the wheel. This is were the very good steering feel in this car comes in. Its much superior to the Z06 in this regards, and you can give almost delicate inputs to get a great result. The Z06 takes more of a heavy hand, as the steering is just not as good. Full throttle up the hill, and the wheel strait at the top of the hill. The suspension unloads, and the car stutters, because it is confused as to were the ground just went. The Z06 does this as well. Kind a scary until you know what is going on. Full power again heading down the mini strait, setting up for west band, a high speed sweeper that heads down hill. The GTR loves this corner and gains time on almost anyone in it. It could use a bit stronger brakes here, but these are stock brake pads... I will say these are the best brakes of any street car I have ever driven. No fade, all 2 hours I was on track. The pads were fin after this abuse as well, the rotors were ok as well. They have a good positive feel even if boiling hot. Impressive. I hit the brakes to set the nose of the car, turn into the apex and steadily apply power while unwinding the wheel. Down the hill I go. Many race cars can go full throttle down the hill. I don't as I don't have the nuts. At the bottom of the hill I am doing around 97 MPH, tap the brakes and power on the apex onto the strait. The car feels heavy here, the tires are howling, because we are in the 1+ G area again. Full throttle through the apex, and onto the strait. The car pulls HARD on the striate. The car will pull on about anything heading down the strait. The power is phenomenal, and I have the shift to 5th gear, and see speeds of 136+ before I am in the brake zone again for turn 1. All of this happens in 1:02, about 2 seconds faster than I did in my Z06... Except... My Z had R compounds.
The GTR is a fairly easy car to drive hard. To be fast in it, you need to drive aggressively. A few times around turn 2, I could feel traction control, but basically it was seamless. Not intrusive at all. The tire wear I saw was acceptable, and not as bad as we were lead to believe. There is plenty of tread on the tires left after 2 hours of me kicking this car in the pants. My STi and WRX had much worse tire wear. The brakes were fine the whole day, all day and the pads have a lot left on em. Rotors did not warp or crack. Temps were constant in the oil and trany. Kept a close watch on that all day. I run with no front plate, so I don't have air restrictions.
Things that I would think would benefit the GTR: 19" wheels, and big fat R compounds. This car would be a monster with good tires. I think the stock ones were fine, but with Toyo R888's, I think this car would be very very fast. I would say more aggressive brake pads help any street car and would help the GTR. Its a heavy car, and we need the extra bite. The seats held me well, but I need to add a 5 point system, as the G's pushed me around a bit. Besides this, this car does not need a lot. Tire PSI got up to 34, so they were warm.
Things I would recommend for you guys running at the track with a GTR:
19" wheels and R compounds
Front brake pads ( have Endless on order)
Front bumper after market tow hook. Be sure to empty the passenger side tool box before you run.
4 / 5 point harness setup
A good set of driving gloves
Some sort of glass cleaner, as the bugs love to kill themselves on the GTR
Some sort of digital tire pressure gage
Bleed the brakes after your 2 hours just to be sure no air is in em
Get ready to answer a lot of questions at the track about your car.
Here is a video I threw together. I am a novice at the video editing just so... Warning.
I have no idea how to embed this so some help from a mod would be great.
Lime Rock Track Map:
2013 R35 BE
Kaizen Tuning LLC
Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:22 PM
Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:29 PM
I loved how you ate each car one by one.....
This car dominates on the track!!!
Good post and great vid.
Other than maybe the Porsche none of those cars could match the GT-Rs acceleration. Of course driving skill plays a huge role..
Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:39 PM
Now email me some high res photos of your baby and I'll create a page for you at thelegendisreal.com along with this video clip
[email protected] is the email. Send as many high res pix as you like. No limit, seriously.
Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:50 PM
"..I dare say that if Michael Schumacher were to find himself in the eye of an Arctic blizzard, escaping from an exploding volcano, he might discover 10% of this car's abilities. But you? Me? Here? Forget it. Nissan, then, has done something odd. It has built a car for a time and a place and a species that simply don't exist."
Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:52 PM
When you were rowing in that green elise in that long right hand sweeper you could tell he was "giving it her all" to stay in front of you,( and we all know how Lotus loves the corners) and as a result almost lost control.
Wow! do the tires love to talk or what!! Thanks Scott! that was awesom. Think I'm gona watch again and pretend it's me driving whoohooo! <<~~ emoticon needs paddle shifters. LOL.
But I am not sure you realize that what you heard is what I meant.
Posted 14 August 2008 - 07:14 PM
Posted 14 August 2008 - 07:18 PM
That is some of the smoothest track driving i think i've ever seen.
It looked simply effortless.
The tire screech was most notable when you just started out cold. Then the tone
changed and even dissapeared on some corners.
It looks like it does understeer a bit through the longer turns but you don't realise the speed
you are actually doing when it does. Even so you seem to have adapted extremely well
to the car's handling.
Exiting the corner shallower (closer to the apex) and letting the understeer
push you onto the racing line seems the trick. That way you can let it work for you rather than
against you, you can get the benefit of the awd pull through the exit, without the negatives.
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