Nissan’s custom tube-frame Group 5 machines of the ’80s drew racing fans into showrooms with their strong performance and aggressive styling that didn’t stray too far from the road cars on which they were based. The most beloved of that group — the Skyline Super Silhouette — arrives in Gran Turismo 7 on Thursday, alongside a classic Maserati and Porsche’s contribution to the early-2010s hypercar trifecta.
The Skyline Super Silhouette has a fascinating history that our old pal Raphael Orlove uncovered some years back. Pretty much nothing about the Silhouette under the skin was based on the then-current R30 Skyline, but Nissan was able to evoke the car in its exterior design, with a dramatic chin splitter, turbine-style wheels, and very wide, very sharp fenders and wings. Merely looking at this car gives my corneas paper cuts. I can live with it.
Its engine — the 2.1-litre, twin-cam, turbocharged LZ20B four-cylinder — formed the basis of Nissan’s top-flight sports car racing operations at the time. This motor churned 570 horsepower in race trim, which was about on par with what Formula 1 cars worked with. The LZ20B wound up in a few Nissan Group C chassis, including the Skyline Turbo C — a front-engine prototype with a design that further strayed from the road car with which it shared a name. It was unreliable, fans reportedly hated the way it looked and Nissan wouldn’t really figure out the category until the end of the decade.
The Skyline Super Silhouette, though, is an icon. It inspired the Bōsōzoku trend of wild-looking cars and motorcycles with sky-high exhaust pipes and disproportional aerodynamic accoutrements. It also will be familiar to longtime Gran Turismo fans who played GT2 back in the day — where it was known as the “Skyline R30 Silhouette Foumula” (sic). The spelling was one of the game’s many gaffes, stemming from its rushed development.
Beyond that famous Skyline in this update, players will also get the chance to drive the 918 Spyder — Porsche’s last flagship that has been a notable omission from both GT7 and GT Sport. As both games have the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 (in GTR trim, anyway), developer Polyphony Digital has now completed the prior decade’s hybrid hypercar triumvirate. The Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder makes up the last of the new cars in this patch. This chassis — No. 2078 — won the Gran Turismo Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2014.
Unfortunately there’s no new track due for July, but there is a little more in this update aside from cars. The Skyline Silhouette enjoyed a prominent sponsorship from Japanese diecast maker Tomica, and so Polyphony has seized this opportunity to add a new Scapes location called Tomica Town to GT7. Here you can photograph your vehicles in tiny car dioramas, which is just the best idea ever. The new content lands July 28 around 2 a.m. Eastern.
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