For most people, the name ‘Godzilla’ relates to a rather corny film about a gigantic, angry lizard that wreaks havoc on Nineties New York City. It’s all a bit naff and over the top, but entertaining nonetheless.

In the motoring world, on the other hand, ‘Godzilla’ refers to one of the most iconic cars to ever be put into production — the Nissan Skyline GT-R. While there’s plenty that’s entertaining and over the top about the GT-R, it certainly isn’t naff.

The Godzilla moniker was originally attached to the R32 GT-R from 1989, and petrolheads the world over have continued to use it to label each subsequent generation of GT-R, right up to the present day. For Nissan, it’s come to be something of a badge of honour.

Having spent many hours driving GT-Rs as a kid on video games such as Gran Turismo and Need for Speed, getting behind the wheel of a real one on a racetrack has always been a dream of mine. You can imagine my excitement, then, when I was handed the keys to not one, but THREE different versions of the Japanese supercar for a few hot laps of Silverstone.

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1999 R34 Skyline GT-R

The R34 Skyline GT-R is arguably one of the most famous cars in the world. First launched in 1999, it went on to star in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, as well as the popular Gran Turismo video games.

Under the bonnet, there’s a 2.6-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six engine churning out 276bhp and 392Nm of torque, with power being sent to all four wheels. While this may not sound like a great deal by modern standards, it was by no means slow when I took it out on to the track.

Considering the R34 is nearly 20 years old, the way it drove was seriously impressive. Not only was it incredibly quick in a straight line, its four-wheel-drive system meant it was no slouch through the corners either.

The only problem with the R34 was, well, me. I’m an incredibly average driver at the best of times, and cars this age don’t quite have the same levels of technology on board to stop you from making a fool out of yourself as modern cars do.

You can probably guess what happened next. A bottled attempt at some heel-and-toe downshifting saw me lose control of the car and spin out going into Stowe Corner at the end of the 120mph Hangar Straight.

Thankfully, the only thing damaged in the accident was my pride.

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2017 R35 GT-R

The arrival of the R35 GT-R in 2007 saw Nissan drop the Skyline name and establish the GT-R as a model line in its own right.

This time around, a 3.8-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 sends 562bhp and 673Nm of torque to all four wheels. I thought the R34 was quick, but with a 0-100kph time of 2.7 seconds, the R35 was on another level.

There’s all sorts of wizardry going on behind the scenes, too, all of which is intended to provide you with as much grip through the corners as possible. There’s so much grip, in fact, that it actually becomes uncomfortable at points.

At the speeds this thing allows you to corner at, you can feel gravity tugging at your lower back, trying to pull the base of your spine away from the rest of your body towards the side of the car.

When you consider the fact the GT-R can behave like this on track, then drive you home in comfort at the end of the day, you start to realise just how much of an impressive vehicle it is.

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2017 R35 GT-R Nismo

As if the R35 GT-R wasn’t bonkers enough already, Nissan’s in-house performance division Nismo felt it was necessary to squeeze even more out of the Japanese supercar.

The GT-R Nismo is the end result. Power has been boosted to 592bhp thanks in no small part to turbochargers from the GT-R GT3 race car, and carbon-fibre body panels help to keep weight down. The suspension and anti-roll bars have also been modified to make the GT-R Nismo even faster through the corners.

However, to really get the most out of these tweaks, you need to have the skills and the confidence to drive the GT-R Nismo at the limit. As I had neither, I found it a bit harder to manage through the bends than the standard car - which was far more flattering to someone of average driving ability.

While the GT-R Nismo is by all means an absolute weapon on the track, but If it were my money, I’d opt for the standard R35 and use the change to pick up a second-hand R34 Skyline GT-R as well - which would be doable.

Two GT-Rs for the price of one sounds pretty good to me.