“Build it and they will come”
Or so Stephane Ratel hopes. The head honcho of the FIA GT Championship revealed his vision for 2010 and the following years last week. Central to his plans for a Wold Championship was the creation of a new class of cars to take on the GT1 mantle. This is a bold move in these times of financial constraints and budget cuts but fortune favours the brave, or so we are told.
Of course Stephane can draw some comfort from the fact that as he spoke to the room two of these cars actually exist, the Ford GT from Matech and the Nissan GT-R. SpeedHunters will be examing the proposals for the future of GT Racing in the next week or so but as Rod is eagerly awaiting the piece on the R35, it would be an act of cruelty to delay any further.
The GT-R is a full factory project handled by NISMO, the motorsports arm of Nissan. The aim is to test and develop the car in 2009 with a view to selling on at least 4 examples for the 2010 FIA GT Championship.
Ok, some numbers. The car is built to to 2010’s proposed regulations so it is 4.73 meters long, 2.04 meters wide and weighs in at 1,250 Kilograms.
It is powered by a 5.552 litre V8 engine developing around 600bhp. The engine type is a VK56DE which in everyday life is the muscle that shifts the Nissan Titan pickup truck.
The 600 horsepower is fed to the rear wheels only, through a triple plate clutch and a Ricardo 6 speed transaxle gearbox.
The brakes, both front and rear, are 6 piston caliper with carbon disks and pads. There is double wishbone suspension at the front with muli-link at the rear.
In common with other new cars the tyres and wheels are the same front and rear, this is done to maximise the tyre life. There are new restrictions on how many mechanics can work on the car, two down from four, and this makes the tyre stops much longer than before. The 18′ tyres are provided by Michelin.
So much for the statistics, what is the plan for 2009? NISMO have formed an alliance with FIA GT regulars, Gigawave Motorsport, to run a limited programme of four races in the 2009 FIA GT Championship. The team will make their race debut at Silverstone on 3rd May for the RAC Tourist Trophy, the first round of this year’s Championship. The next outing will be Oschersleben on 21st June.
Then onto the Blue Riband event in the FIA GT calendar, the Spa 24 Hours. A further race is planned, probably Zolder in October but the final decision has yet to be taken.
The car will be driven by Micheal Krumm and Darren Turner, Michael is a long time factory driver for Nissan with many successes in Japanese Super GT with the NISMO 350Z and GT-R. Darren was an Formula One Test Driver for McLaren and has been a works driver for Aston Martin and Mercedes Benz in sportscar racing and Seat in Touring Cars. They make a really formidable pair. A third driver will be recruited for the Spa 24 Hours.
Gigawave is the world’s leading company in the On-Board Camera and RF Transmitter technology. They design, manufacture and implement the technology for many TV, military and security applications and motorsport uses their services in Formula One, Moto GP and FIA GT. The incredible shots of Valentino Rossi in Moto GP come as a result of Gigawave’s work.
An indication of how serious Gigawave are about the GT-R project is that they have pulled out of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours where they had an entry for their Aston Martin DBR9.
The team and the drivers were noncommittal about the performance of the car at Le Castellet and given that they are running to 2010 rules they will be at a significant disadvantage to the cars running to the current formula. However at a race like Spa 24 Hours the strengths of a car like the GT-R can propel it up the order.
The car at Le Castellet looked fantastic and sounded great, GT racing is about to get serious again.