November 5, 2012
Kazutoshi Mizuno: The Man in Front of GT-R
Nov. 5 – Sugo, Japan – Kazutoshi Mizuno is leading the continuing evolution of the Nissan GT-R, acting not just as chief engineer, but as the supercar’s main frontman and cheerleader.
The Global Media Center spoke with the man dubbed “the Godfather of the GT-R” at its Japan debut last week. We asked first how testing at the famed German circuit of Nurburgring had factored into the 2013 model.
Every year in spring and fall for around a month, respectively, we develop the car intensively in Germany. The Nurburgring circuit puts the car into twice the performance stress of a track like this one.
We work on specific issues such as heat or the forces acting on the car, aiming to make a car road-capable in all global conditions – and not only the tough conditions of Nurburing, but even on winding German mountain roads where the speed limit is 100 kph. There are many cars that cannot make that speed limit, so it is very important to put our car into such tough conditions.
Another thing is endurance. When we go to Nurburgring, we test drive the car over 3,000 km, about the same as driving 400,000 km on public roads twice a year. So, this year our themes were enhanced quality and consistent upgrades, and by testing in Germany we can achieve both aims.
To prepare for the launch of the 2013 model year, the Nissan Tochigi plant line is on full operational mode. We already have pre-orders for the 2013 model, and we are now asking the plant to increase their production capacity.
What are your plans for global auto shows?
This car will be displayed at global motor shows in the U.S. and Europe. This year in particular we are offering a version with a fashionable interior, called “amber red”. This is intended to increase our customers base of women or slightly older drivers, and we intend to display this special interior version at global auto shows.
What are the merits of this GT-R model to competitors?
What is important for Nissan as an automaker is our commitment to areas such as safety. We not only contend that in a GT-R a normal car conversation is possible at 300 kph on the German autobahn, or that the car can do a lap at Nurburgring in 7 minutes 18 seconds, but we consider areas that other competitors don’t.
‘How do we design a car to endure a flat tire at 300 kph that can make it to the repair shop?’ or ‘how do we protect the passenger in case of an accident at 200 kph?’ or ‘how do we activate the VDC (vehicle dynamics control) system at over 250 kph?’
Overall, besides just marketing tag lines, we need to develop technologies of trust that other manufacturers don’t. That contributes to the Nissan brand and what I want to push.