Rosslyn - Nissan South Africa and the high-performance team at dealer group BB Nissan is saddling up nearly 2000 horses for its charge up the hill at this year’s Simola Hill Climb in Knysna.
The team is preparing two very different Nissan GT-Rs for the festival, which will be held from May 6 to 8. The first GT-R is dubbed “Godzilla” and will showcase the unrivalled tuning capabilities of the GT-R engine and platform; it will also aim for the overall title of 'King of the Hill', while the second Nissan GT-R will compete in the supercar class.
Xavier Gobille, managing director of marketing, sales and aftersales at Nissan South Africa, says: “The GT-R has a cult following among performance enthusiasts the world over. By entering two GT-Rs at different sides of the performance spectrum, we hope to showcase the unmatched technical range of this supercar.”
Return of Godzilla
'Godzilla' will feature uprated engine components, stronger turbos and different suspension componentry to deliver more than 750kW – or 938kW at the flywheel – and over 1000Nm. A special aerodynamic package is being fitted that will help keep this über powerful GT-R low and pointed on its charge up the hill.
The 2011 King of the Hill, Wilhelm Baard, will pilot Godzilla. He is a Vehicle Testing Specialist at Nissan South Africa and former winner of both the Simola Hillclimb and the Long Tom Hillclimb.
Baard says: “The competition is increasing every year and to take the fight to some of the custom-built machines heading to Knysna, you can expect quite a few GT-Rs with power output north of 750kW.
“With that kind of power on tap and the GT-R’s dynamic capability, one of us will surely break the 40 second barrier up the hill.”
Baard explains that the four-wheel drive GT-R has a distinct advantage at the upper portion of the hill climb course. Here, he explains, the fast switchbacks are no match for the GT-R’s perfect weight balance and high-speed sure footedness, giving the driver the ability to attack virtually all the corners without lifting a foot off the accelerator.
Standard GT-R in attack-mode
The second GT-R will feature only minor upgrades and will showcase the inherent engineering brilliance of the stock Nissan GT-R. With a few performance tweaks, this GT-R delivers 424kW and 847Nm on the tarmac, or 530kW/1059Nm on the flywheel.
It will be raced by racing legend Jaki Scheckter.
Scheckter has competed extensively in motor racing abroad and at home, and he participated at King of the Hill at the Ceres Hill Climb and has finished third in a standard R35 Nissan GT-R in the 2012 Knysna Hillclimb, where his time was a mere 0.07 s behind the highly modified racing GT-Rs.
Scheckter said: “I’m very grateful to be part of the Nissan team and race the awesome Nissan GT-R in standard form up the hill at Knysna. The hillclimb will show what the GT-R is capable of when compared to the other supercars in the race.
“We can only see how we are doing after a few runs up the hill in terms of the King of the Hill shootout against the highly modified cars, but for the new supercar group we are looking very good and we definitely aim on winning the class with the GT-R!”
The two GT-Rs are currently undergoing final preparation and testing at BB Nissan Hatfield’s High Performance Centre. Both GT-Rs will take part in a special Track Attack open day at Zwartkops on Monday, May 2.
The Nissan GT-R has been an overwhelming favourite at South Africa’s premier hill climb event in Knysna since its inception. In 2014, four out of the top ten finishers drove GT-Rs and in 2015, 6 GT-Rs claimed the top 10 positions, while a GT-R R34 was crowned the overall winner.