2009 Nissan GT-R: Stretch Goals
June 01, 2009
Much has been made on fanboy websites regarding the Nissan GT-R and the Corvette Z06. At first glance, a showdown makes sense: similar price point, power and performance.
In September 2007 in Nurburg, Germany, home of the Nurburgring, I drove a GT-R in PT2 pre-production trim. The GT-R had prior been photographed at numerous racetracks in such close proximity with a Porsche 997 Turbo that it might have been an appendage.
Still, I was curious. So in an interview with Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in the company's Nurburgring garage on the same trip, I asked if the Z06 was ever on their radar. He replied that in setting goals for and developing the GT-R, they targeted what they believed to be the highest expression of all-round performance, the 911 Turbo. Surpassing the 911 Turbo's performance would, then, eclipse all others.
But he never specifically addressed the Z06. My suspicion? The GT-R team had never considered it and that Ghosn had never even heard of it before I asked the question.
Subsequent drives in the GT-R have only reinforced this notion. The GT-R is indeed far closer to a 911 Turbo in character and driving experience than it is to a Z06. It is now obvious that all those spy photos weren't just about showmanship, and that any kind of GT-R / Z06 "rivalry" --despite all the attendant internet hand-wringing, chest-thumping and weenieism -- has no teeth.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 22,461 miles.