Driving an R32 GTR

I want to start by saying I have never driven anyone else's car before other than Ash's (my husband's) so when Peter contacted me asking if I could do him a massive favour and drive his cars the weekend of the Datsun nationals I was speechless, filled with excitement and fear all in one. I still couldn't see how I was doing him the favour but anywho! So with an adamant yes I was locked in to help showcase his cars over a 3 day event, the Datsun Nationals.

I organised the Saturday off work and we were offered the R32 GTR day one to drive to Penrith Regatta Centre for registration followed by a cruise. Ash was unable to get the Saturday off work and I contacted Peter and let him know that only I was able to attend and I understood if he didn't want me driving the GTR on my own. Practically laughing at me he stated that it was still there for me to drive if I wanted to...

As if I didn't!  

So Saturday I arrived at Peter's where he had the two GTR's sitting side by side ready to go! I got comfortable adjusting my seating position and started her up. I had a moment of disbelief as I looked around at all the GTR badges and then looking left to Peter sitting in his R35, I just couldn't stop smiling! Sitting on a decent incline, and on a loose gravel surface I managed a hill start without stalling nor flicking up stones! Cha Ching! Proud moment haha

Stopping for fuel I was still in disbelief I didn't even take any photos or film any of it, I think I snapped a shot or filmed live to Instagram but that's about it. (Shots below taken from the archive after a previous passenger run and shoot with Peter and his GTR).

Unfortunately it was a long weekend and double demerits meaning there were ridiculous amounts of traffic and of course a lot of police patrolling the roads which meant we had to stick to the speed limits, which we would have done anyway of course, cough cough... Though leaving a few intersections I was able to give it some throttle and feel the RB26 twin turbo liven up. Disappointingly though it didn't have the sound I was expecting and was lacking some serious induction sound, it had the power but not the grunt. And far too quiet to satisfy me...

Arriving at the regatta centre we parked up and Peter registered his 5 vehicles for the weekend. 

After cruising around checking out the other beautiful Datsun's and Nissan's we met up in a huddle and we're given a briefing of the weekend's adventures. Starting that day if we wished to take part was a cannonball styled run, where we would receive a map upon leaving the grounds and were to follow the directions, answering questions along the way and finishing up at eastern Creek tavern for a drink and a feed.  

The cruise ended up being a run too good not to do though we weren't too keen on heading back to the tavern for a feed and decided we will just do a bit of the cruise up through the Blue Mountains (my local roads I know far too well) and head back down a mountain pass and home dropping off the run 3/4 of the way through.  

Even writing this I am still in utter disbelief that Peter allowed me to drive this run in his GTR all on my own, having known me for only a couple of months. It went initially from a 40 minute drive to Penrith then home, to a 6 hour day (with multiple stops for coffee and lunch) up through the mountains on a long weekend, the busiest time on the roads! And probably the highest weekend stat's for accidents...

This drive was painfully slow due to the amount of traffic about but we were able to open up the throttles as we twisted up and over the mountains occasionally finding patches of open road before us. Approaching the overtaking lanes I could hear the R35 ahead of me downshift and I knew we were about to take on the slow snake, downshifting and putting my foot to the floor I followed Peter...

Driving these roads often in my Silvia I was really able to feel the difference and focus completely on the car rather than the road before me. The biggest difference I found was in the weight and the AWD. The car felt heavy, not heavy in steering, but I felt stuck to the road heavy. You know when you are so tired you feel sunk in your bed and you can't physically move, yeah that kind of heavy (later finding out that there is over 200kgs difference in weight). My Silvia feels like I'm on skates and I constantly need to be ready to catch either the front or rear depending on the corner and my speed/line whereas with the GTR I was able to steer into corners and felt somewhat safe whether I took the corner too fast or didn't take the right line I was able to correct without fear of needing to possibly catch it. I'll definitely be looking into my tyres and control arms to see if I can get a bit of stability and trust in my own car but I do feel the R32's weight and the all wheel drive did impact on this safety feeling.  

After a stop at the Hydro Majestic for coffee and a chat we made our way over the mountain spying a few Datsun's along the way before veering off and down Springwood, another awesome road spoiled by traffic! I really would love to have another chance of driving this beast either up Bell Bird Hill or back down Springwood to really get the ultimate GTR experience. Why not both? 

But seriously what an experience and one  I will never forget. I am forever grateful and cannot thank Peter enough, even though he kept thanking me...

My first ever test drive and review is on an iconic Japanese beast with so much history especially here in Australia being BANNED from Bathurst in 1992 for being too "dangerous".  

Sunday being show and shine I was given the honours to drive his Kenmeri! Yes you read that right! My second ever drive and review would be on one of my dream cars, a KPGC110 Skyline. You can read about that on my next blog post...

Monday being a track day at Eastern Creek we were given the R32 again to drive alongside Peter as he was entering the track event and wanted company allowing us permission to take part in the parade laps at the end of the day, which we ended up leaving before due to the big weekend and we were all extremely drained! 

So in summary do I still want an R32 GTR?  

Hell yes I do! I would have to sort out this sound issue I have, it may just be the stock sound muffled by the high flow exhaust system but I do want more sound under acceleration! I like grunt! I don't think I'd have my license long though owning a GTR, the ride is so smooth I felt like I was doing 40km/h everywhere. Even when we were cruising on 100km/h it felt slow!

I would love to now drive a worked/modified R32 and compare a basically stock one with a highly modified one. And of course I'd love to open up a GTR on the race track with no one in front to hold me back! 

Again thank you Peter! Thank you so much for trusting me with your baby...