MONTICELLO, NY - GT-R owners revved up to the Monticello Motor Club in New York for the third ever GT-R Experience. This is an invitation-only event for current and future owners; it is as unique as the car that starred in the show. New York was the third event in the series, the first was at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida and the second was at Laguna Seca Roadway in Southern California.
The GT-R experience, hosted by Nissan, featured on site driver's ed from Skip Barber driving instructors, autocrossing and other drills for owners, and would-be owners, to put the 2013 to the test. "Clearly this is the kind of place where you can explore the capabilities of the car," said Carl Phillips, Nissan North America's Chief Marketing Manager for the GT-R.
Kelly Heaphy loves a challenge. Growing up Heaphy's mom raced Corvettes. At this event, Heaphy got a chance to push her favorite car, the Nissan GT-R, to its limits at the track. "I kind of like, hey look boys I can do better than you are, and definitely this car turns heads, you know blonds in a bright red car, who is that? Wait, wait what's going on and they really want to keep up with you," said Heaphy.
Heaphy's friend Andy Morris owns the car she drove at the event; it is his second GT-R. "This is a car I can afford, I can drive hard, I can replace the parts without having the expense of a true exotic and it performs as good or better than most of those cars," said Morris.
Morris and Heaphy turned their GT-R experience into a competition, complete with trash talk and time challenges. "If we had another car I would totally win," taunted Heaphy. "But you don't like to compete," replied Morris. At the owners event, Morris took on the drag races and followed the leader. Heaphy did the auto-cross and the slalom exercises. Then they both did hot laps coached by world-class professional drivers from the Skip Barber Driving School.
"I know I am better than some of these guys. I mean I love cars. I live, sleep, dream everything about cars, and for me this is vacation," said Heaphy. But the car tricks were not actually Heaphy and Morris's favorite part of their GT-R Experience. It was meeting the legendary Kazutoshi Mizuno, the chief engineer behind of the GT-R.
"I think the opportunity to meet Mizuno is probably the best thing here because I had no idea I was even going to get that opportunity," said Heaphy. "Our GT-R team gets energy from customers so these kind of events make good energy for us," said Mizuno-san.
Mizuno-san plans to keep improving his creation for at least five more years. And he said as long as customers keep buying the GT-R's, drivers will get to keep experiencing this unique event.