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October 9, 2016

What Engine Does the Nissan GT-R Use in Super GT?

Everyone knows that the R35 Nissan GT-R is synonymous with its mind-blowing 3.8-liter VR38DETT twin-turbo V6 engine. Generating 570 horsepower and 633 Nm of torque in its 2017 guise, it eats more expensive super cars for breakfast. And though this engine is powerful and durable enough for motorsports use, did you know that Nissan doesn’t use this engine for its Super GT effort, at least in the top-tier GT500 class?

Since 2014, Super GT’s GT500 racing class has moved its regulations to mirror the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). This means that the cars, including the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 are actually more of purpose-built race cars than heavily-modified road cars. As part of the regulations, GT500 cars share a common carbon fiber monocoque, transmission, brakes, dampers, and fuel tank.

The rulebook has also influenced the engine where the Nissan GT-Rs competing in the GT500 has had its twin-turbo V6 engine swapped for a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Don’t fret though, this purpose-built 2.0-liter single-turbo direct injection engine called the NR20A puts out in excess of 550 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque (Nissan doesn’t quote the exact figures).

Impressive as these figures are, they’re actually slightly lower than the Nissan GT-Rs competing in the lower GT300 class which happens to keep its VR38DETT engine. Massaged for racing duty, these 3.8-liter units generate over 550 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and over 650 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm.

So how is it that the GT500 cars could lap faster than the GT300 ones? The answer is found in two key areas: weight and aerodynamics. GT500 cars weigh some 300 kilograms less than their GT300 counterparts (1,020 kilograms versus 1,300 kilograms for the Nissan GT-R). Factor in more downforce generated by the complex aerodynamics of GT500 cars and these cars can lap up to 10 seconds quicker compared to GT300 cars. Other factors include brakes where GT500 cars run on carbon discs while GT300 ones have to contend with steel discs; and tires where more advanced tire compounds are being used by cars running in the GT500 class.

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