Nissan GT-R Driver Blows Up Transmission Showing Off Launch Control on a Cold Start
Looking for attention? You got it, bud.
For something that's supposed to make it dead-simple to rocket from 0 to 60 miles per hour as quick as possible, launch control sure does claim its fair share of victims. But this particular tragicomedy doesn't feature a completely avoidable crash—no, what you're about to witness is a Nissan GT-R parting ways with the inside of its transmission after a botched launch over-revved the engine on a cold start.
Of course, the Nissan GT-R was the subject of a class action lawsuit in 2009 after owners complained of a very similar problem, and Nissan allegedly tried to squeeze through a loophole by saying that using launch control—a feature they built in, mind you—technically voided the car's warranty because it required turning off the traction control. The case was settled and the company temporarily removed launch control from the GT-R, but it made a triumphant return a few years later.
But those issues were tied to excessive, premature wear on the gearbox, not the kind of sudden detonation on display here. The video was filmed at a car meet in Birmingham, England last week, and according to the description, the tuned Nissan had been parked "for quite a few hours" before its owner decided to hop in and peel out on a street lined with other people's cars.
You'd be forgiven for thinking he's about to take out a baker's dozen of them, but instead, something goes wrong in the launch control process and the car's transmission immediately disintegrates as the engine pops off the rev limiter several times. The image of the jacked-up GT-R literally wetting the (road)bed and leaving a trail of transmission fluid and metal bits behind as it coasts down the street is at once chuckle-worthy and a little sad.
Launch control is something of a violent process for a car's internals—think about the forces at play in a Dodge Demon launch, for example—and manufacturers often set break-in periods where vehicles have to reach a certain mileage or operating temperature in order to protect the engine and transmission. Revving the piss out of a high-performance car that's still waking up is the exact opposite of a gentle touch.
A video of how launch control is supposed to go in a GT-R is embedded below. The process is fairly simple: after setting the car in its hardcore "R" mode and holding the VDC Off switch for five seconds, all you have to do is put the transmission into manual mode, push the brake to the floor, push the gas to the floor, and release the brake when you're ready to launch. The car will automatically rev to 2,000 RPM as you're getting ready and go from there.
It probably didn't help that this model appears to have been tuned by Severn Valley Motorsport, who are known for their extreme GT-R builds (and for sticking its twin-turbo V6 in a Nissan Qashqai to create the world's fastest SUV). With a high-strung engine packed full of performance parts, warming everything up is that much more important, something this owner was kind enough to demonstrate for all of us.