Bigger, badder Godzilla for Oz

Nismo to crack Australia with an even madder GT-R boasting 441kW

TOBY HAGON

NISSAN’S potent GT-R Nismo looks set to come to Australia.

Wheels has learnt the highperformance version of the recently updated GT-R could arrive as early as 2017, paving the way for a rush of Nismo products as the brand looks to expand globally.

The GT-R Nismo gets an upgraded 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 punching out 441kW and 652Nm, as well as stiffer springs, stabiliser bars and dampers. It also sports a carbonfibre bonnet and Recaro carbonfibre bucket seats.

While no 0-100km/h claim has been made, it should comfortably

better the current car’s 3.2sec, and possibly go sub-3.0sec. The Nismo GT-R last year set a Nurburgring lap of 7min 08.679sec, the fastest ever for a Japanese production car.

It’s not known how many Nismo GT-Rs could be made available to Australia – worldwide demand already outstrips supply – but it will crack the door to a planned Nismo onslaught. Nissan’s performance arm has formulated a five-year plan that incorporates Australia as a key market.

Australia is known globally as having a high mix of performance models. It’s one of the top 10 countries for GT-R and Nismo sees it as an important market for its global expansion plans.

“We’re trying to reinforce Nismo … to build on the products that we have, introduce new models and grow and expand globally,” said Nismo road-car boss Bob Laishley.

“We’ve got to be careful not just to have Nismo for Nismo’s sake.”

The Japan-based Brit pointed to Europe as key to the expansion – and development – of Nismo.

“Europe can hopefully lead our development because if we can satisfy the European petrolheads then we’ll have a good product.”

He said a small Nismo, possibly based on the next-generation Micra and/or Pulsar, was a high chance.

“For sure we’re looking at working in that area. I would like to do something in that space.”

Laishley said the strength of the Nissan brand and increasing worldwide demand for performance models strengthens the case for expanding Nismo beyond the Japanese market.

“There’s a recognition that growing Nismo outside of Japan is a good idea, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Tune to win

Nismo is the hardcore tuning arm of Nissan and was created when two of Nissan’s motorsport divisions came together in 1984.

Since then, Nismo has been responsible for all of Nissan’s purebred race machines, including the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour-winning GT-R GT3.

The tuning arm works in a similar way to BMW’s M Division, creating beefed-up versions of Nissan’s vehicles for the road.