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GT-R returns to Mountain 30 years on since 12 Hour debut

In 1993, the Australian motorsport landscape changed led by the resurgence of the Holden versus Ford battle in touring cars leaving Nissan out of the battle with its high tech GT-R, but there was still one swansong to come at the Bathurst 12 Hour.

Owned and sponsored by Falken Tyres at the time of the campaign, the GT-R was one of just six sent to Australia to complete promotional work prior to the model’s official arrival on Australian shores months later.

Featuring on many magazine covers during the initial promotion run when it was painted black, it was used as the safety car for the 1992 Bathurst 1000 before it was purchased from Nissan Australia by Falken Tyres to enter the 12 Hour during Easter 1993.

This race was the first to feature high-end models such as the Honda NSX, Lotus Esprit and Porsche 968 in addition to the race winning Mazda RX-7s, which had debuted the previous year.

Being kept relatively in production form, the GT-R was plagued by lack of brakes and from being overweight, which held it back compared to the nimble competition up front, namely Porsche and Mazda.

During the Media Day, the Skyline experienced brake problems ensuring a steady run during the race where it qualified seventh behind the pole sitting Lotus, the factory Mazdas, Wayne Gardner’s Honda NSX and both Porsches.

To aid during the race, Falken flew in race personnel and parts from its two-time Group N1 Super Taikyu Championship winning team from Japan. An oversized radiator needed to be changed at the last minute, but once a new one was installed it was good to go.

Driven by leading Sports Sedan driver Keith Carling, Graham Neilson and Bill Gillespie, the GT-R finished fourth outright and third in Class T, 16 laps behind the two Mazda RX-7s, which finished 1-2 in the event.

Only racing the once, Falken Tyres elected to enter the exotic Maserati Shamal in the final Bathurst 12 Hour for 13 years in 1994 where it finished eighth outright and finished fourth in Class X.

Meanwhile, Falken retained ownership of the GT-R proudly displaying it at stores across Australia until being purchased by a private owner in 2004.

Having been out of the public eye for more than a decade it made an appearance at the Phillip Island Classic in 2021, before being sold again to Greg Boyle of Autosport Engineering in Sydney.

At this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, the GT-R has been reunited with the Mountain it completed 1535km around back 30 years ago.

And what a sight it is.