2018 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3: Factory Racer Refined

Topline: In a press release Thursday, Nissan announced its factory-prepared GT-R Nismo GT3 customer race car would receive a significant overhaul over its 2015 iteration, and a deployment of the updated car in early 2019.

What’s New: subtle, yet significant mechanical redesigns improve the already competitive GT-R Nismo GT3 package, which won the 2015 12 Hours of Bathurst. In comparison to the 2015 model car, the 2018’s engine is mounted 150 millimeters (6 inches) further back, and lower than before, courtesy of the shallower oil pan used with its new dry sump oiling system. These changes improve weight distribution and further lowers the car’s center of gravity.

Suspension geometry and frame crossmember have been fettled to further increase rigidity and hone handling, in addition to the improvements made to the car’s engine mounting. Aerodynamic changes zero in on the proper balance of low drag and high downforce to keep the GT-R adhered to the track in fast corners, but competent in straight line sprints.

The dry sump system contributes to reliability boosts, too, as it resists sloshing that can result in loss of oil pressure. A redesigned six-speed sequential transmission that feeds the rear wheels (as opposed to all four on the road car) demands less maintenance than its 2015 forerunner, and modified brakes resist wear or failure better than before. 

Drivers can be kept within temperature spec, too, by an optional air conditioning system. We wonder if it adds weight.

Quotable: “To develop the 2018 model Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, Nismo, as the official sporting arm of Nissan, has made full use of the advanced technology and expertise we have gained through our vast experience in racing, and this car is built to be competitive in GT3 racing around the world,” stated Nismo CEO Takao Katagiri in the car’s press release.

“Whilst this is its first year of actual competition, it is already demonstrating its competitiveness, having attained achievements such as a [third] place podium finish in the Japan’s Super GT (GT300 class) and a third place overall finish in the Blancpain GT Series Asia. I would like to greatly thank our official partner teams for being the first to choose and demonstrate the full potential of the car and we have high hopes that a number of teams will be competing with the 2018 model Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.”

What You Need to Know: The R35 generation of the GT-R platform has been on the market since late 2007, and it will celebrate ten years on the American market on the seventh of next month. Fans have wondered for years when its replacement is due, and investment into the R35’s GT3 motorsport program suggests Nissan is trying to keep the car’s market relevance alive, even though the GT-R is no longer the budget supercar killer it was at launch a decade ago.

Nissan’s other major enthusiast car, the 370Z, is in a similarly rough spot, with its 2019 model year receiving minimal attention, though rumors of a new Z car have surfaced in recent months. Allegations of platform development shouldered in tandem with Mercedes-Benz and an all-wheel-drive, twin-turbo V-6 making 475 horsepower pique our interest. But those murmurings remain no more than rumors at present. The GT-R has no such buzz about a successor of its own, and with more money poured into its racing program, we might just see the R35 GT-R outlast even the cockroaches.

The Drive contacted Nissan for additional information on the GT-R Nismo GT3, and we will update when we hear back.

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