In an antechamber in the old Silverstone pit building, a small man in a brown suit is leaping from foot to foot and waving his arms around. This is Kazutoshi Mizuno, the father of Nissan’s barnstorming GT-R, and he is not especially happy.
“Thinking that my car is too heavy is a mistake!” he says, clapping his hands together for emphasis. “All journalists say [affects a funny voice]: ‘GT-R is heavy, heavy, heavy - it should be lighter, lighter, lighter!’ I say, journalists need to develop a more professional level of thinking! More study! More thought! The GT-R needs to be this weight. A car with less weight does not handle. Lighter weight can be dangerous. And it will not be drivable by all customers. You have a responsibility for the customer. I have a big responsibility for the customer!”
There is a momentary lull as Mizuno-san gathers his thoughts. Then he’s off again, this time assaulting a whiteboard in a bid to explain some rudimentary physics. I might have paid attention in school if I’d had a teacher as committed as this.
“All people have the right to enjoy a supercar and supercar performance,” he says, firmly laying out his MO. “All people, anywhere, anytime. Before, the supercar was a very closed market. I wanted to open the market up. Big boot. Accessible performance. You can drive my car at 186mph with your wife. Before GT-R, it was a dream. After GT-R, the dream was real.”
His hands are a blur across the board. The face furrows with concentration. Though he’s tired, his eyes are blazing.
Words: Jason Barlow
Photography: David Shepherd
This article was originally published in the January 2012 issue of Top Gear Magazine