Why The Nissan GT-R Is Still An Icon After 15 Years

As part of the aerodynamic development we touched on earlier, Nissan recruited the services of its best engineers, including the man who developed its successful Le Mans prototypes, Yoshi Suzuka. After whittling down the original 80+ sketches submitted as part of the internal design competition, design boss Nakamura chose 12, of which three became models used in wind tunnel testing.

The goal was an unprecedented Cd=0.28 or lower, but this proved challenging. In August 2004, those three models in 1/4 scale form were taken to the wind tunnel and tested around 300 times. What the engineers learned resulted in two refined models of 40% scale, one of which was used to develop the GT-R while the other became the Nissan Skyline V35/Infiniti G35 test mule. But even with the involvement of the car’s exterior designers (Hirohisa Ono and Masato Taguchi), the drag coefficient could not be dropped below 0.32.

Suzuka realized that a different approach was needed. He asked the chassis department to lower the frame rails as low as the passenger compartment to eliminate transition and smooth airflow beneath the car. Later, a CFD program made wind tunnel testing easier. After some 18 months and over 2,000 wind tunnel runs, a stylish look was decided upon that exceeded the team’s goals with a Cd =0.27.

In 2005, the GT-R Proto Concept was revealed to showgoers at the Tokyo Motor Show, previewing what 80-90% of the production version would look like.

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