Nissan set about to create the ultimate camera car, and with the GT-R serving as its foundation, few supercars can escape this car’s cameras.
Why bother going to all the trouble? Try as they might, computer generated graphics can never capture the raw detail and emotion of a sports car driven in anger, on real roads, with cameras rolling. To capture ‘the shot,’ you’re going to need a camera car capable of keeping up at high speeds.
Most blurred-background photographs showing supercars on the move were taken at surprisingly slow speeds. As in, barely rolling speeds, so as to prevent camera shake. This process results is gorgeous photos that lack authenticity, as the trained eye will notice that the suspension and tires aren’t loaded up. It’s all a little flat. Slow-speed video shoots are similarly flat.
Enter the GT-R project car, fit for its purpose. Nissan’s brilliant rear-biased all-wheel-drive system is paired with the GT-R’s rabid 565 horsepower 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 to propel filmmakers and their gear to warp speed in fractions of a second. In private testing, Car and Driver managed to capture a scarcely believable 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds with a bone-stock GT-R; accounting for the added weight and aerodynamic drag of the camera gear, we figure the Godzilla camera rig can hit 60 mph in the low 3 second range.
The camer car’s mounting system, consisting of an ultra-lightweight tubular structure, was welded to the GT-R’s chassis under the oversight of Mauro Calo, a professional precision driver and automotive videexpert known for his work on big-budget blockbuster movies and automotive TV shows. A gimbal camera mount adds the stability needed to capture velvety smooth shots whilst approaching the car’s limits of grip.
“When I started to think about developing a high-performance camera car, I quickly realized that the Nissan GT-R was the only car that would meet my criteria,” said Calo. “It has supercar performance, with outstanding all-wheel drive handling and stability. It’s famously reliable, and it can seat the team I need to operate the camera system. There were no other contenders.”
The GT-R stands in a field of one when it comes to high-speed filming, as there are enough seats (spacious enough for adults, no less) to accommodate the entire film crew, including a gimbal operator, a focus puller and a director in addition to the performance driver behind the wheel.
“I knew already, from driving it on photo and video shoots, what a great car the Nissan GT-R is,” said Calo. “But since I adapted my Nissan GT-R to be a high-speed camera car and have been using it to film some of the world’s fastest cars on track, my respect and appreciation of its performance, reliability and stability has only increased. It amazes me and the teams I work with every time we use it.”
[Photos and source: Nissan]