YotaTech Goes to the Races: 600 HP C-HR R-Tuned vs. Nissan GT-R

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Best way to showcase the R-Tuned’s level of performance? Toyota & DG-Spec race it against a Nissan GT-R at Willow Springs.

In a recent YotaTech post, I shared details of my experiences getting behind the wheel of Toyota’s 2017 SEMA project build and pushing the 600 hp C-HR R-Tuned to its max at Willow Springs International Raceway. Now, I get to witness the power of the C-HR again, this time in a race challenge, and the feat is equally impressive.

Coming from a history of tracking street cars, I was floored by the level of poise the R-Tuned had. The engine is so manic, but the driving experience is serene and delightful. There is grip, everywhere, all the time. There is no understeer, there is no oversteer. It just steers, and goes.

The C-HR R-Tuned makes a claimed 300 pounds of downforce at 120 MPH, and 400 pounds of it at 150. And the aerodynamic upgrades are all adjustable. Well, they are now. The team behind the R-Tuned (Toyota and race preparation shop DG-Spec) discovers that at 150 mph (their peak cornering speed at Willow Springs!), the splitter begins to distort at its full length, because of the downforce put upon it.

It’s a lot to take in. If you haven’t driven Willow Springs, how do you contextualize this level of performance? Well, Toyota and DG-Spec had an idea about that. Let’s take a very fast car say a Nissan GT-R and then let’s see how it stacks up against the R-Tuned. What a great idea.

Toyota C-HR R-Tuned vs. Nissan GT-R

Yotatech.com Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Track Drive Test Review

First, they let me behind the wheel of the GT-R to see how it stacks up against the R-Tuned. In short, it’s very fast in a straight line, but lacks poise compared to the R-Tuned. The Nissan’s heft is unavoidable in the braking zones, and during cornering. The R-Tuned is a much faster vehicle, and a scalpel compared to the GT-R and its butcher’s knife impersonation.

After letting me play with the GT-R, it’s time for a track battle: C-HR R-Tuned vs. Nissan GT-R in a dogfight around Willow Springs. This time around, the professional drivers from DG-Spec, including racer and coach Craig Stanton, are behind the wheel for the track battle, and I get to witness the intense competition trackside.


The R-Tuned’s engine is manic, but the driving is serene & delightful. There is grip, everywhere, all the time. No understeer, no oversteer. It just steers & goes.


Even giving the GT-R a head start, it was all over by turn 3. A 600 horsepower street car has no chance against a 600 horsepower track car, but, man, was it fun to watch!

Toyota had a much higher benchmark than a standard GT-R when developing the R-Tuned. The team runs a 1:25.12 lap time around Big Willow, which is brutally fast. For context, that slots it in between the Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 and the Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SV, and it is faster than a McLaren 650 S. That’s some serious competition.

Afterward, I take a second lap in the R-Tuned and it is bittersweet. It’s so good that I want more, but the sun is setting and it’s time to leave.

Toyota will be using the C-HR R-Tuned for appearances at events all over the country. Recently, it was at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. If the R-Tuned is coming your way, it’s worth making a trip to see it because they have built something very special here. The C-HR R-Tuned has spunk and spirit, and I can’t think of a better way to showcase the passion behind the engineering the brand puts into its vehicles.

Yotatech.com Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Track Drive Test Review

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