First day on track – Snetterton

Another super duper day at the wonderful Snetterton, this time in the new GT3. “What are the differences?”, I hear you all ask in a chorus of poetic voice.

0

What started out as a typically British, wet, autumn day very quickly evolved into another gorgeous, warm sunny event. I was actually quite looking forward to rain as Snetterton is a great, fun circuit when playing around on the limits of traction. I also wanted to ensure I didn’t eat through tyres and brakes. Worried about being on standard discs, I didn’t want to chew through a set on my first trackday.

Regardless, it wasn’t long before a dry line appeared on track and as traffic increased, so did traction, allowing me to further push the GT3 into the farthest reaches of our universe. I’m near on 500 miles with the new GT3, but I can really start to feel the increase in power – not as an absolute, but the minor changes to the map making an overall improvement throughout the whole rev-range. With an unnamed friend in his Nissan GTR (warranty blah blah) acting as reference, I was quite expecting to be left behind, only making time up on the straights. But it didn’t quite pan out that way with a frentic number of sessions consisting of nose to tail action, cementing the fact that the new 3.8 is more than a match for the massively fast GTR.

A forever changing cat and mouse game, the GTR would make progress on the two straights of Snetterton, but the light weight nature of the GT3 made a killing under hard braking and sharp turns. Again the Nissan would take large chunks out of the GT3 from some of the very tight chicane exits, where its four wheel drive would aid exit traction when I’d be crossing my arms trying to keep the car straight (which has been immense fun!).

Where are the improvements? Well, the overall speed of the car is a minor, but noticable difference. There’s also a better connection between steering wheel and front wheels under hard acceleration and turn. I always used to notice a lack of gravity up front as though the steering was searching for some feedback, in vain. That appears to be remedied with some real proper feedback, including less understeer and better communication. But the most significant improvement has to be in its aerodynamics. Hard braking in the Gen1 used to be hugely amusing with sweepstakes trying to determine the direction the car would take – quite often at the point where your braking pressure is at the maximum point before the ABS cuts in. I remember quite clearly in the Gen1 at the huge long straight at Snetterton (Revett straight) you’d be coming down from 140MPH really hard on the brakes, perhaps harder than any other circuit – and the car would jitter and swerve all over. The deep front dam and the exagerated spoiler seem to have given the car impressive road holding that has ultimately aided its on-limit stability.

So, not a huge amount of differences. I have to ask my dealer if I actually got my dynamic engine mounts, because frankly I can’t feel any difference and I’d be mighty pissed off if I’d been sold a marketing gimmick that had no functional value. It’s still a ridiculous car and there really is nothing like it. It’s supremely quick now for a 3.8 normally aspirated car and still retains that unique nibleness and litheness that makes it the envy of cars with twice its horsepower.

Just a word, meanwhile, to the people on trackdays who seem to think it’s OK to piss fuel/oil all over the circuit and remain on the racing line while plumes of smoke destroy your chances of credibility. I know sometimes ‘things’ happen that are outside of your control, but please for the love of god use some common sense.

0
  • Davey S2

    Nice write up Cem and glad you are enjoying such a fantastic new car.

    After keeping the identity of your GTR owning friend annonymous do you think it was a good decision to post a picture of his car with the registration number visible?

    • Thanks Davey

      All I’ll say is that it was a GTROC trackday and there were at least 6-7 R35’s there.
      Over paranoid owners are simply a creation of mass confusion caused by Nissan Marketing versus Nissan Sales.

  • Wurlie

    Cem – thanks for all the info you are providing to us who are waiting for the cars – it really is great to hear first hand experiences.

    It is very interesting to see that you did not think much of the active engine mounts – pls let us know what the dealer will say :)

    I notice that you have not ordered leather inside – any special reason for that?
    Many thanks again, Wurlie

  • Hi

    I am actually contacting you with a uncomon issue. You are a moderator at GT-R owners forum?

    I myself am only interested in Skyline’s I do not ahve one and do not believe I will ever have unless lottery pays off. I just want to spread word to enthusiastics that there is a 400R for sale in Finland. I just stumbled on the add while looking at cars for sale magazine. Car is for sale by a import company. I have no other info than what the add said. Car is number 34 not driven on track, one owner etc.

    I was just thinking that someone more interested should know since I don’t think these are for sale so often. I have nothing to do with the car other than reading the add. All info is in Finnish but if you want to inform of this on your forum I would imagine that someone can speak english in a import company..

    Here is the add:
    http://www.esv.fi/?info=open&id=491

  • terryb

    Hey Cem

    I missed you on the day but I was in the matt black mk1 996 GT3 – I was only up there for the afternoon so was out lapping in preparation for the following day’s Time Attack.

    We actually had a chat at Donno in 2008 – I had a CSL back then and you were out with a bunch of other GT3s on track – awesome.

    Hope to see you at another trackday some time – I will definitely come and say hello if I do :)

    Cheers

    Terry

    • Hello Terry, I think I remember standing behind your car when you were getting noise tested – you came up quite late if I remember. I was coming out of the toilet by the mic’s :)
      Come say hello next time, would like to talk about time attack.

By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

← PREV POST

By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

NEXT POST → 34
Share on