Nissan’s Skyline and GT-R brands are no strangers to smashing records, as these six prove. Here are some of the most notable record-breaking Nissan GT-Rs!
Record-Breaking Nissan GT-Rs
Most race wins – Nissan Skyline GT-R Hakosuka
It may have been the success of the R32 GT-R Group A touring car (which won four consecutive championships and every one of the 29 races it entered in the early ‘90s) that secured the Skyline the nickname of ‘Godzilla’, but it was its great grandfather, the Hakosuka Skyline GT-R that started it all. Indeed, the OG still holds the record for the most race wins.
So successful was the Hakosuka GT-R that people would often say: “the Skyline’s only rival is Skyline.” This vehicle’s momentous record of 50 victories over a period of just two years and 10 months will never be forgotten in the history of Japanese racing.
The first win came on May 3, 1969, at the TS-b race of the 1969 JAF Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway. That was the 4-door Skyline model. From the 1969 Japan Grand Prix in October of the same year, at which the GT-R chalked up its 7th victory, a fuel injection system was adopted. This pushed maximum output to 230PS/8,400rpm, which was enough to give the Skyline an even greater edge on the circuit.
The KPGC-10 arrives
It was two years and 33 victories later, at the All Japan Suzuka Automobile Race (March 1971) that the two-door KPGC-10 coupe version was added to the formation and continued to dominate the race track. Attracting nationwide attention, the GT-R’s string of consecutive wins stopped at 49 (with 29 consecutive wins for the works team), when a Mazda RX-3 took the chequered flag first instead. The GT-R wasn’t trumped for long though, as its 50th victory was achieved at the very next race.
That historic 50th victory came on March 20, 1972, in the first round of the Fuji GC Series – the Fuji 300km Speed Race. Because of strong winds and rain, the race had been shortened from 20 laps to 12, but while raising huge clouds of spray, car No. 15 (pictured above) – a GT-R driven by Kunimitsu Takahashi – managed to cross the line first. In doing so, the legend of the Skyline as a racing machine to be feared by all was born.
Rarest – Nissan Skyline R33 LM
When it comes to rare Skylines, there are a number of extremely limited edition models that spring to mind, namely the Nismo R33 400R (of which only 44 examples were produced), or the Nismo R34 Z-Tune (which ended production after only 19 cars had been converted), but both of these exclusive models seem as common as a Ford Fiesta compared to the Nissan Skyline R33 LM.
Built as a homologation car to allow the company to enter its new R33-based GT1 racer to compete at the legendary Le Mans endurance race, only one R33 LM was ever made, making it the rarest Skyline on the planet.
The racing version was stripped to 1150kg and converted to rear-wheel-drive, while its RB26DETT was tuned to 400bhp in line with Group N regulations. It also featured a steroidal wide arch bodykit to improve aerodynamics, cooling and grip.
The one road-going version looks very similar from the outside, with each bulbous arch adding an extra 50mm to the car’s width, combined with aggressive front and rear vented bumpers and deep side skirts. Unfortunately, the huge kit does dwarf the 18in wheels somewhat, especially without the racecar’s tarmac-skimming ride height. Under the bloated skin is a similarly uninspiring story, with the engine de-tuned to 300bhp and a regular R33 interior. The only upgrades being a Nismo alcantara race steering wheel and chequerboard trim Recaro recliners.
The road-going R33 LM currently resides at Nissan’s heritage headquarters, DNA Garage, in Yokohama. So unless you fancy making a trip over to Japan – oh, and Nissan decides to let you in – you’ll probably never see it in the metal. Shame…
Most expensive – Paul Walker’s R34 GT-R
A Nissan Skyline that was driven by Paul Walker in 2009 film Fast & Furious (the fourth one) sold at a US auction for a staggering $1,357,000, which works out £1.08million, making it officially the most expensive ever sold.
The Bayside Blue R34 GT-R was uniquely customised to the petrolhead movie star’s exacting specification by Daryl Alison of Kaizo Industries including removing all exterior stickers to highlight the car’s clean lines and installing a custom roll cage, a titanium strut brace, a bespoke dashboard-mounted PC and a Turbonetics front-mount intercooler. Under the hood, the 2.6-litre twin-turbo straight six engine is tuned to 550bhp, twinned with a six-speed manual transmission. Externally, the GT-R received Volk Racing RE30 wheels, Nismo lowering springs and a howling Nismo NE-1 high-performance exhaust.
The car was sold in the exact same specification as used during filming, with the vehicle not being modified after performing its duties on set. This includes everything down to the custom OMP racing bucket driver seat remaining in Walker’s preferred seating position.
The car was used as the main hero car for all of the exterior driving shots with Walker and is a true GT-R, as many of the others used in the film were dressed up stunt cars using a GT-T as a base.
At the time of filming, the R34 was not allowed to be imported into the US, so was impounded by the US Border Force after filming and was the subject of a lengthly legal battle before being released and exported to Germany where it has remained ever since. There, it stands as a shrine to the legend that was Paul Walker. I’m not crying, your crying…
Fastest top speed – Severn Valley Motorsport’s Hulk R35
Having completing a 259.42mph pass of the measured mile, Severn Valley Motorsport’s ‘Hulk’ R35 is the World’s fastest Nissan GT-R.
The record breaking run took place on an ex-RAF runway at Elvington Airfield, UK in April 2019. Piloted by Mike Little, the run brought the title of World’s Fastest GT-R back to the UK by beating the previous record, held by American GT-R tuners ETS English Racing, by just under four miles per hour.
The Severn Valley team, who are renowned for their prowess when it comes to tuning Nissan’s R35 GT-R, were aiming for over 260mph. In fact, they reckoned they could’ve gone even faster, as the car was still accelerating at the finish line as well as battling a gusty 15mph headwind. However, plans to push any further once the record was in the bag were abandoned, due to not wanting to risk damage to the car or injury to the driver.
The record-breaking spec was running a full billet engine block with Alpha 22 76mm twin turbos, which are good for over 3000bhp utilising up to 4bar of boost. However, the team actually ran a detuned map on the record run of around 3.5bar of boost equating to roughly 2500bhp, but even this was spinning the wheels in every gear!
The record run was completed using road legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, supplied by Michelin themselves, while a big brake setup and a special 200mph ‘long chute’ parachute was fitted in case of emergencies.
Quickest quarter mile – Croydon Racing Developments R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R Jun II
Built by Australian tuning specialists Croydon Racing Developments, based in Smithfield, New South Wales, this unbelievable R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R achieved a world record-breaking quarter-mile run of 6.37 seconds at 224mph in June 2022. That makes it the quickest GT-R in the world of any generation, including the latest R35 models.
Codenamed JUN II, this quarter-mile specialist machine unleashes 3000bhp from its highly tuned RB30 engine, yet retains full factory chassis including working doors, glass and all the necessary trim to allow it to be legally driven on public roads in its homeland of Australia.
Featuring a RB30 billet block with 3.2-litre stroker kit and a custom JHH race head, the car’s engine bay is further enhanced by a Promod 110/108 turbocharger making 100 psi of boost. A water-to-air charge cooler helps keep it healthy, and a whole heap of nitrous oxide adds to the get-up-and-go!
The car wears a custom carbon wide body kit to house the 275-equipped 12in rims and pair of parachutes to slow this beast down after it flashes past the finish line. This is a car that Croydon has been developing for the last 20 years and has been launched down the strip over 2000 times. It might have a few twists in the otherwise stock chassis, but the firm reckons there’s still more to come from this mega machine.
Quickest Nürburgring lap – Nissan R35 GT-R Nismo
19th November 2013 was the date that experienced Nissan racing driver Michael Krumm took to the fabled Nordschleife circuit in Germany to put in a lap that would go down as the fastest ever for any factory Nissan GT-R. The record time was a blistering 7:08.679, and was completed after months of testing in a specially developed track version of the firm’s 2014 R35 GT-R Nismo edition and was, at the time, the fastest lap by a volume production car. Watch the onboard footage, here.
When the new Nissan GT-R Nismo edition was conceived as the flagship of the Nismo brand, the team agreed the car would first have to earn its place atop the range before the world would see the final design in an auto show setting. So as show cars were being readied for debut on stage on two continents on the same day, at the Tokyo International Motor Show and the Los Angeles International Auto Show, Nismo engineers built a prototype to confirm its abilities on the tarmac of the Nürburgring.
The record breaking run was a little controversial, however, as the ‘track options’ that were reportedly added to the car for the record attempt included non-road legal parts such as special race tires, bucket seats that contributed to a significant 50kg weight saving, bigger spoilers, different dampers and brake pads, and a custom ECU map. These upgrades were said to be made available to customers at a later date. Make of that what you will, Ring lap sceptics!
For more fun Nissan info, have a read of our Nissan GT-R trivia article next!
Words by Dan Sherwood.