Kazutoshi Mizuno is often considered to be the father of Nissan’s range-topping sports car, the GT-R. Like all Nissan employees, it was assumed that Mizuno would retire following his 60th birthday, in accordance with company policy.
Mizuno turned 60 this year, leading many to believe that future versions of the GT-R would somehow lack the spark that the car’s chief engineer imbued in each and every GT-R model.
Rules, it turns out, are meant to be broken, even in Japan. Automotive News (subscription required) reports that Mizuno won’t be retiring any time soon, and is even planning a U.S visit in 2013 to discuss the future of the GT-R with fans, owners and Nissan dealers.
Nissan’s North American marketing chief for the car, Carl Phillips, confirmed, saying, “Mizuno-san is still very much calling the shots on this car. I just had a video conference with him last week. He is the heart of the GT-R program.”
Mizuno will also supervise Nürburgring testing of the car in 2013, where runs will be conducted with base model GT-Rs, not higher-trim variants. As Phillips describes it, “He wants to make sure that everybody who buys a GT-R gets the capability that we say it has, even the base model.”
Phillips describes Mizuno’s role as “very unique,” saying, “He has a real passion for the car inside of him. If he says, ‘I want to have this on the car,’ the car will have it.”
We have a pretty good idea of what that list includes for the 2014 Nissan GT-R, which has already lapped the Nürburgring in 7:18. Look for further details and pricing data to be released closer to the car's launch in early 2013.