• Jaki Scheckter wins Supercar class
• Five GT-Rs make top 10
• Next gen GT-R set for September 2016
Knysna – Nissan celebrated the end of an action packed racing weekend at the Simola Hill Climb in Knysna with five GT-Rs qualifying in the top 10 for the King of the Hill competition and first place in the Supercar Class for its factory-backed GT-R R35.
The top step on the podium in the Supercar class belonged to Jaki Scheckter, who led this division from practice on day one and who showed a clear set of tailpipes to the Italian and German supercars in this class.
Xavier Gobille, Nissan's local marketing director confirmed that the new GT-R, which was launched at the New York Auto Show in March 2016, will be available in South Africa in September. The first shipment has already been sold out.
Backed by Nissan SA
Scheckter said: "I really loved racing the GT-R, it performed faultlessly throughout the two days of racing and I managed to cut my times with almost every run.”
Scheckter won the class with a final time of 43.591seconds in his R35 GT-R, which was supported by Nissan South Africa and prepared by BB Nissan.
The best performing GT-R on racing day in the King of the Hill competition was the beastly 1340kW R32 GT-R of Des Gudzeit. Des won last year’s event and came second this year behind the custom-built open top racer of Franco Scribante. The Dezzy R32 set a blistering time of 40.324 second for second place on the King of the Hill podium.
Watch: Nissan GT-Rs power off the Simola Hillclimb start line
Fourth place in this prestigious event went to Wilhelm Baard, global test engineer for Nissan. Baard piloted a Nissan GT-R which was upgraded to deliver approximately 1000kW by the team from BB Nissan in Pretoria with backing from Nissan South Africa.
It was a rough and tumble weekend for Baard, who was sidelined on Saturday (May 7) with a misreading gearbox sensor. After the team found and corrected the issue Baard was only left with the few runs on Sunday-morning (May 9) to test the vehicle set-up and build his racing confidence.
Baard, who ended with a time of 42.745sec for the 1.9km course, said: "We did not have many runs to fine-tune the GT-R’s set-up, which is infinitely customisable. This morning we changed the vehicle’s rake to allow for greater downforce at high speed at the top of the course."
Watch: Desmond Gutzeit's 1200kW R32 screams past Gasoline alley
Other GT-Rs that competed for the King of the Hill title was an R32 GT-R driven by Duane Galloway, which finished in fifth, and a modified R35 GT-R of Edrich Zwiers, which was sixth fastest.
Zwiers partnered with NxGen to upgrade his GT-R with a full race exhaust from HKS, an Alpha 6 upgrade kit, Cabb intakes and a flexi fuel system which allowed it to race on ethanol. With these and other conversions the GT-R #35 delivered 500kW and recorded a final time of 43.894sec on its final run.
Zwiers said: "The engine and turbos are left standard and in preparation for the hill climb we raced at Phakisa, Midvaal, Zwartkops and Kyalami. This GT-R has done over 500 laps in the last few months without a fault, before pulling up to the start at Simola and competing for King of the Hill."
11 GT-Rs at Simola
The weekend saw no less than 11 GT-Rs compete at Simola, covering a range of model years and varying stages of tune. The competitors included the top-performing GT-R R32 of Des Gutzeit, a Nismo-tuned R35, a pristine GT-R R34 V-Spec with 680 horsepower and a completely standard R35 with road tyres, running on 95 octane fuel.
Piloting the standard R35 was Ignus Geyer, a car enthusiast from Johannesburg who drove his Nissan GT-R down before the weekend, filled it up at the local fuel station before racing started. Geyer ended the day in the fifth position in the Supercar class.
Geyer said: "The only modification I made was to increase tyre pressure by 0.1 bar," who clocked half of the vehicle’s 9000 km on race tracks across the country.
He said: "I cannot get enough of this car, it is a comfortable everyday drive and a peerless performer on the track.
"I kept saying to myself that I could take another second off my qualifying time in the final run of the Supercar competition and come within two seconds of the much more powerful converted GT-Rs."
Geyer, who ended in fifth place in the Supercar Class with a time of 47.665sec, after clocking a time of 48.735sec during the morning practice runs.