January 1995 signalled the arrival of the eagerly awaited next generation Skyline, the R33 GT-R. It didn’t disappoint. Although Japanese law prevented the peak power from its twin-turbo 2.6-litre straight-six from exceeding the 280PS of its predecessor, the R33 GT-R improved upon everything else that had made the R32 so well loved and respected.
The Skyline continued to astound on the world’s racetracks, scooping up trophies wherever it went. By this stage Group A had been replaced with the GT series and the N1 Endurance series, and in the latter the GT-R soon racked up another legendary 50 wins. In Australia the race car earned the nickname Godzilla, so crushing was its superiority. It was inevitable that motorsport”s governing bodies would soon find ways to legislate the formidable GT-R out of contention.
Another moment of history was captured by the R33 GT-R when it took the production car lap record at Germany’s daunting and demanding NurbÃ¼rgring in October. A near-showroom spec R33 blasted around the 13-miles and 172 corners of the Nordschleif circuit in 7 minutes 59 seconds. Anyone who has ever been to the circuit will more fully understand the scale of that achievement.
The R33 GT-R spawned both a large and unofficial tuning industry, and an official one in the form of Nissan’s own NISMO (NISsan MOtorsport) division. Despite the artificial 280PS ceiling for production cars imposed by the Japanese authorities, Nissan’s engineers had designed the GT-R’s engine to cope with significantly more power than that for motorsport use. NISMOs ultimate R33 GT-R was the 400R, so named because that was the amount of horsepower it produced, and race-trim Skylines proved reliable with 608PS.