The Corvette has been a part of storied rivalries throughout the years. Usually, it came down to America’s sportscar and Germany’s Porsche. Though, in 2009, when Nissan finally graced U.S. shores with the R35 GT-R, the Corvette had something new to test itself against, and quite possibly benchmark.
Both cars do supercar tricks at a fraction of supercar pricing, so naturally, it’s inevitable for the two to be compared even though they accomplish speed, grip and cornering in very different fashion. And Motor Trend decided it was time for the newest generation of Z06 to face Japan’s Godzilla. Coming off high praise and incredible on-paper numbers, the 2015 Corvette Z06 seemed ready to duke it out with the tweaked 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo.
The GT-R is a very different animal from the Corvette Z06. The GT-R puts you in the hands of AWD and computer trickery to bang out a lightning fast lap time. Power from its 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is up from 545 hp to now 600 hp. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic handles shifting, directing appropriate power to whatever wheels the onboard monitoring tech tells it to.
In the Corvette Z06, a more simple approach. MT‘s test car was equipped with the 7-speed manual transmission which handled and sent the supercharged 6.2-liter V8’s 650-hp to only the rear wheels, assisted by an electronic limited slip differential. MT‘s test car was also equipped with the Z07 Stage 3 aero package, creating more downforce than any GM vehicle ever produced.
The Z06’s extra 50 hp and lower curb weight didn’t stop the GT-R from leaving it a tad behind in a drag race, where Godzilla clocked in .4 seconds faster than the Corvette — but the 1/4 mile is where the AWD Nissan shines above all other aspects. But the Corvette’s sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires handed it a win on the figure eight, where a 22.3 second lap bested the GT-R’s 23.1 seconds. But these cars are made for the track, so that’s where both of these machines ended up next.
MT packed the two cars up and headed to the historic Willow Springs raceway where the two cars received a workout from none other than resident racing driver Randy Pobst. It’s hard to see loyalists cross-shopping these two models, but what they both try to accomplish is very similar indeed.
The results very well may surprise you, with shocking numbers put down by both budget-supercars. Without spoiling the entire write-up for you, Pobst walked away after driving both machines saying, “The Z06 is more fun. It’s a challenge. The GT-R is too boring. And I love the manual shifter. It’s old-school. I’m old-school.”
After a long track day, MT had to pick a winner. Subsequently, there always has to be a loser, too. Read the entire comparison test at the following link, here.