2011 GT Academy winner, Jann Mardenborough, has never been to Spa-Francorchamps before. But during yesterday’s first practice session for this weekend’s 24 Hour race he was 6th fastest out of 66 cars. And he’s annoyed at not being higher up the time sheets.
After its hugely successful reception when launched in Dubai in January this year, Nissan has decided to put the Juke-R into limited production on a build-to-order basis, whilst upgrading its running-gear to that of the MY12 GT-R.
The 10th and final video in the Nissan Juke-R build series broke cover today, and predictably it’s the best one yet. Juke-R hits the track at the MIRA proving ground and we get to see what a 480bhp family crossover looks like on the move.
It seems ironic that a car which already laps the Nürburgring in 7 mins 21 seconds, could need a ‘Track Pack’ to make it more suited to the task. But that’s precisely what Nissan are offering its GT-R customers with this new track-focused edition of its 2012 model.
It feels so wrong… and yet you know you want to try it. Just once. While nobody is looking. The Juke-R is one of those cars that no enthusiast can deny wanting to drive, to sample the absurdity of its near-500 bhp powerplant shoe-horned into a conventional(ish) family crossover.
When the R35 GT-R first appeared on the scene in 2008 with ‘only’ 480 bhp, most of us probably thought, “nice, but couldn’t they have given it more power than an M5?” We then drove it back-to-back with Porsche’s Gen2 911 and found the porker had the legs (just), but otherwise there was little to complain about apart from its brakes.
I must admit to being in two minds about this car, on the one hand I love unusual hybrid cars – Hayabusa powered 2-seaters, supercar-baiting SUVs and even EV sportscars such as the Tesla Roadster. What these all have in common is the ability to surprise and delight, to perform in a way beyond what you would expect from their appearance.
Hopefully mine won’t be the only voice of reason in response to the news this morning that Nissan have decided to build a 480 bhp Juke-R. The idea first surfaced at last month’s Frankfurt motor show – we had a giggle and thought “what fun!”, but then quickly consigned it to the drawer marked ‘Things you might do if the world economy was a little brighter’.
It seems a little frivolous to be offering free servicing on a £69,950 supercar, but Nissan seem to think it will make all the difference in convincing would-be 911 buyers to choose its top-range model instead. Whilst affordability and peace of mind are key attributes of the rest of Nissan’s range, we think it sits a little uneasily alongside a car which can lap the Nurburgring in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds, but hey, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth.
There’s a promotion on at Silverstone this Christmas, that on the surface looks like any other offer run during the past year, however there are two important highlights this festive season that are bound to catch your eye.
Nissan can now guarantee that its GT-R or 370Z will lead the FIA GT1 grid around a lap in 2010.
NISMO enters the FIA GT1 World Championship with fighting talk.