GAME ON AT GOODWOOD

A year ago racer Lucas Ordoñez reigned supreme – behind the wheel of a PlayStation® games console. On Friday 3 July he’ll swap computer power for horsepower and will give thousands of motorsport fans the chance to see how good he is in the real world. For Lucas is the first ‘virtual’ racer to take on the famous Goodwood hillclimb.

The young Spanish ace’s Festival of Speed debut will be at the wheel of Nissan’s latest sports car – the 370Z. The coupe’s power, balance and poise are already legendary – including to Lucas who has been campaigning a 350Z in the European GT4 series this year. That was his prize for being the inaugural winner of the Nissan/PlayStation® GT Academy, a competition to find the best virtual racer – and put them on the track.

However good Lucas is, his 370Z won’t be the fastest road car up the hill. That’s likely to be another Nissan, but the 370Z’s big brother – the awesome GT-R. Appearing in the UK for the first time in ultimate SpecV trim, the cutting edge coupe will be out to show the European supercar aristocracy just what Nissan power is capable of.

Lucas Ordoñez will be driving up the 1.16-mile hillclimb on the Friday only but, since The Sunday Times Supercar Run would hardly be complete without it, the 370Z will be running on the other two festival days as well.  Along of course with what promises to be the road car performance highlight of the weekend: the GT-R SpecV.

The GT-R SpecV which was first shown in Europe at the Geneva motor show earlier this year features a carbon fibre rear spoiler, a carbon fibre grille, and carbon fibre brake ducts.  The SpecV is available exclusively in Ultimate Black Opal (RP) body colour.  Inside, the SpecV’s unique two-seat interior (non-SpecV GT-R models also include a two-place rear seat) offers special Recaro carbon fibre bucket seats, while carbon fibre insets embellish the rear centre storage box, instrument panel and other trim areas.

Performance is enhanced with a new high gear boost control device, which momentarily increases boost of the engine’s twin turbochargers for greater torque in the intermediate-to-high speed ranges to provide a more powerful feeling of acceleration, while also allowing the engine to operate at a lower speed for improved fuel economy.  Other modifications include a titanium-coated exhaust system and carbon-ceramic brakes that provide powerful stopping performance.

The GT-R SpecV is also equipped with lightweight, racing-style forged aluminium wheels that were developed for this model and have been sold by Nissan Motorsports International (NISMO) since September 2008.   The lighter unsprung weight provided by the new wheels, together with the enhanced braking capability, an exclusive suspension and high-grip tyres, combine to deliver the SpecV’s exceptional performance.

Not on sale in Europe, the SpecV is only available though a limited number of dealers in Japan priced at 15,750,000 yen.

This year marks the 17th running of the Festival of Speed at Goodwood House near Chichester in West Sussex (www.goodwood.co.uk/site/content/festivalofspeed). More than 145,000 people are expected over the three-days, July 3-5.

Also waving the Nissan banner at this year’s festival will be what promises to be the coolest coupe of the summer – the 370Z Yellow. The clue’s in the name. With its Ultimate Yellow paintwork this is the most cheerful way yet invented to celebrate a scorching summer. It will cheer you up inside, too, with its black leather and suede finish, integrated satnav and BOSE audio system.

But with only a limited number available, some buyers will inevitably be seeing red unless they get a move on.