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2019 Nissan LEAF NISMO RC

2019 Nissan LEAF NISMO RC

Better in all areas than the old one, but still almost useless

The new Nissan Leaf Nismo RC is as much a race car as it is a PR stunt. Yes, it builds on the experience Nissan gained by developing the first race-going Leaf only it doesn’t actually go racing anywhere. Nissan says six will be built and, with 327 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque on tap, it’s quite a beast but it’s not homologated for any series, and it will never be, so what is really the point?

The Nissan Leaf is without a shadow of a doubt the most successful EV car on the market today. Since its introduction in 2010, nearly 400,000 units have been sold worldwide and, as of October 2018, the U.S. is the Leaf’s biggest fan, buying over 126,000 examples in the first ten months of this year. It’s natural, then, to see Nissan partner with Nismo and create a new racing rendition of this eco-friendly compact car.

The first Leaf Nismo RC, that was unveiled back in 2011, looked like a big lump of fat. It was round in all areas and was about as aggressive as a pufferfish. With technology still in its infancy, the output wasn’t ground-shaking either: a little over 100 horsepower and about 200 pound-feet of torque. But it taught Nissan some important lessons about EVs and, so, we’ve expected a lot more from this new car, and we’ve got a whole lot more. There will also be more than one built but there’s still an issue: Nissan won’t enter the Leaf Nismo RC in any racing series since it doesn’t comply to any set of regulations in the world. It’s a test mule, which is a bit sad.

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Why Can't the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look Like This Leaf Nismo RC?

Why Can’t the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look Like This Leaf Nismo RC?

Because The Leaf Lives In the Real World And The Leaf Nismo RC Does Not

In 2011, Nissan unveiled what was called the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC - an electric racer made of carbon fiber, with a propulsion system partially borrowed from the production Nissan Leaf and with exterior touches reminiscent of the Nissan electric car. Fast forward to this day, and we’re looking at a new Nissan Leaf Nismo RC. It looks better, it is much quicker, and only eight examples will be produced.

While some of the tech inside is clearly amazing, one has to wonder, why can’t the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look like this Leaf Nismo RC?

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2019 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3

2019 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3

"Godzilla" returns with new upgrades!

As the current Nissan GT-R is preparing for retirement with a new, hybrid-powered model underway, the race-spec Nismo GT3 was upgraded for the 2019 racing season.

Last revised in 2015, the GT-R Nismo GT3 has now received a new aerodynamic package on the outside and borrowed the recent changes that Nissan rolled out for the road-legal sports car. The race car also boasts an upgraded chassis that includes new suspension components, more durable brakes, and a more reliable transmission. That vehicle that has won many races in series like the Blancpain GT Series and the Super GT, just to name a few, will hit the track with these new upgrades for the 2019 season.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.

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Nissan Shows Off Cool Formula E Nismo Livery in Geneva

Nissan Shows Off Cool Formula E Nismo Livery in Geneva

The Japanese firm joins the series for the first time

A small series that didn’t get too much attention a few years ago, Formula E has become quite the big thing. Larger automakers all over the world are now interested in the series, with Audi, Jaguar, Renault, and Mahindra already competing this season. In addition, Venturi, DS, Nio, and Andretti run their own team. Although the 2017-2018 season is far from over, the FIA is already rounding up the lineup for the next championship and has already introduced the second-generation Formula E car at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Here, three competitors unveiled their liveries for next season, including Nissan, which joins the championship for the very first time.

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2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT500

2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT500

Nismo redesigns the GT-R for the 2017 Super GT championship

The current Nissan GT-R, also known as the R35, was introduced in 2007 as a successor to the popular R34. Redesigned from the ground up, the R35 set many new benchmarks for the GT-R nameplate. It’s the first to no longer feature the Skyline name and the first GT-R to use a V-6 engine (previous generations have used inline-six units). More importantly, it’s the first GT-R offered globally, being exported to the U.S. and giving Nissan unprecedented popularity in the sports car market. Finally, it is also the longest-running GT-R model. While previous versions were produced for three to five years, the R35 is ten years old as of 2017. Although a bit long in the tooth, the current GT-R is still making headlines on both the road and the track, the latter fueled by numerous versions prepped by Nismo. One of them is the GT500 and it just received an update for the 2017 racing season.

Used by Nissan in Japan’s top-spec Super GT racing division since 2008, the GT-R has brought the company five championship triumphs in nine years. However, after winning the series in 2014 and 2015, the GT-R was defeated by Lexus and its RC F-based GT500 race car in 2016. Nissan wants to fix that in 2017, which brought significant modifications to the GT500 rule book, with a revised version of its Nismo-built, race-ready GT-R.

"We will make further development improvements during off-season tests and aim to create a race car that will shine brilliantly within the history of motorsports," said president and CEO of Nismo, Takao Katagiri. "We hope to thrill fans with a fast, more appealing GT-R that will excite fans as it lines up on the grid for the opening round competing against the new Lexus and Honda machines."

The new GT-R GT500 was unveiled at the Twin Ring Motegi along with entries for rival companies Lexus and Honda, and was showcased once again at the Nismo Festival at Fuji Speedway in December. The 2017 Super GT Series is scheduled to begin in April.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Nissan GT-R GT500.

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BMW And Nissan Plan To Enter Formula E

BMW And Nissan Plan To Enter Formula E

Both could get a piece of the action as early as 2016

Nissan and BMW are reportedly preparing to join the all-electric Formula E series. According to Autosport, the two manufacturers are in talks with existing teams to join the series as early as next season, which is scheduled to commence on October 9, 2016, in Hong Kong.

Nissan, which axed its LMP1 program in 2015, would need approval from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which also oversees the Renault e.Dams team. BMW, on the other hand, would have to change its position on the series’ dependence on mid-race car swaps, the main reason it ruled out a Formula E program in the past.

The only certainty right now is that if Nissan or BMW commit to entering Formula E in 2016, neither would be allowed to develop its own drivetrain, meaning a tie-up is their only realistic chance of joining for season three.

If it joins the series, Nissan will become the first Japanese manufacturer to do so. On the other hand, BMW will be the second German maker as the European country is already represented by ABT Audi Sport.

The current grid for the 2016/2017 season includes 10 teams from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Monaco, and China. The latest brand to join Formula E is Jaguar. Next season’s calendar includes 14 venues in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Both Montreal and New York will host two races. The season is scheduled to begin on October 9, 2016, and come to a close on July 30, 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Nissan Drops From 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours; GT-R LM Nismo Canceled

Nissan Drops From 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours; GT-R LM Nismo Canceled

The Nissan GT-R LM Nismo has to be one of the oddest cars out there. Let’s face it – a front engine configuration, front-wheel drive, plus its weird overall design – the car really didn’t fit in well amongst the other racers. Back in June when the GT-R LM debuted at Le Mans, technical difficulties led to it running without its hybrid system. Back on October 1st, Nissan said it was working on the associated problems and that the GT-R LM would be ready for the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016. Those plans have changed, and it’s likely we’ll never see the car in this form again.

Official word has come down from the powers that be, and the GT-R LM Nismo project has officially been canned. Surely this wasn’t an easy decision, but Nissan has released a statement saying, “The teams worked diligently to bring the vehicles up to the desired performance levels. However, the company concluded that the program would not be able to reach its ambitions and decided to focus on developing its longer term racing strategies.”

It’s unfortunate the project has been completely cancelled, though Nissan has confirmed it will “focus on developing its longer term racing strategies.” This gives hope that Nissan will return someday with a prototype that will live up to the hype the company spreads. Until then, we’ll have to sit back and enjoy the FIA World Endurance Championship without the GT-R LM Nismo.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Nissan GT-R LM NISMO Gets Gentex Racing Rear Vision System: Video

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO Gets Gentex Racing Rear Vision System: Video

Gentex Corporation, a company known for manufacturing military helmets, respiratory, and electro-acoustic products, has just introduced a Full Display Mirror system for OEM applications at the 2015 SEMA Show. Composed of glare-eliminating exterior mirrors and a high-dynamic range imager, video of the vehicle’s rearward view is captured and streamed to a unique mirror-integrated display. This new system was showcased on the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo race car.

The technology has already made its debut on the Japanese prototype racer during the 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier in 2015 and will become available for OEM applications by the end of the year. The Full Display Mirror system replaces the standard rearwiew mirror with an LCD display that captures video footage from a camera mounted on the GT-R LM’s massive fin. The combo allows the driver to see what goes around behind his car despite not having a rear windscreen.

Although Gentex doesn’t provide details as to which manufacturers will use the Full Display Mirror in the future, it does say it will soon be found in passenger cars.

"Our work on the Nissan race car pushed our development teams and our integration engineers to design a Full Display Mirror system that could handle the ultimate test of performance in the 24 hours of Le Mans. This development work helped us perfect our Full Display Mirror system, which we just began shipping for OEM applications this quarter,” said Craig Piersma, Gentex director of marketing.

Though it was originally developed for the race track, the Full Display Mirror could be used to improve rearward visibility of a wide range of road-going sports cars. The Porsche Cayman, Nissan 370Z, and Chevrolet Camaro are just a few of the vehicles that could benefit from this product. But, until mainstream automakers adopt this technology, let’s have a closer look at how it works in the video above.

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2015 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO

2015 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO

So far, Nissan has yet to clinch ultimate victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it’s not for lack of trying. The Japanese automaker made its initial debut at the prestigious racing event in 1986, with best results achieved in 1998 with a third-place podium from the #32 R390 GT1 car driven by Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Aguri Suzuki, and Masahiko Kageyama. A year later, Nissan opted to simply provide engines rather than field full prototype racers. 

Now, after a 16-year departure from the top echelon of endurance racing, Nissan is back with one of the most unusual cars to ever take the grid. At first glance, the GT-R LM NISMO looks totally unlike its main rivals, and for good reason – while the other marques all feature mid-mounted engines and RWD, the GT-R LM places its engine ahead of the cockpit and uses FWD.

This setup is the brainchild of Team Principal and Technical Director Ben Bowlby, also known for creating the All American Racers DeltaWing and the ZEOD RC. Nissan calls it the “ultimate GT-R," but with such a radical reinterpretation of the rulebook, will it have a fighting chance against the current crop of proven machinery from Audi, Porsche, and Toyota?

Updated 10/01/2015: Back in June the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO made its race debut at Le Mans. However, the car featured some technical difficulties and it had to race without its hybrid system engaged. Now, Nissan announced that the team has been working hard to address these technical issues and that the GT-R LM NISMO is ready to make its race return at the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.

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Nissan Will Delay Its Return To FIA World Endurance Championship

Nissan Will Delay Its Return To FIA World Endurance Championship

It’s Friday, the day of the week companies like to unload all their bad news because fewer people are paying attention, or so goes that line of thinking. Today’s bad news comes courtesy of Nissan, which announced that it’s delaying its return to the World Endurance Championship, following the many technical issues that plagued the 2015 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo’s debut at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The problems centered around the GT-R LM’s non-functioning energy recovery system, meaning the three cars entered were powered solely by their 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6s, putting them at a significant disadvantage compared to the Audi, Porsche and Toyota hybrid prototypes. The power deficit meant the Nissans were getting overtaken by LM P2 cars on the Mulsanne Straight, and because the ERS wasn’t functioning, the front brake pads also had to be replaced more frequently than planned. The ERS was to power the rear axle as well, but Nissan quietly shelved those plans in the lead-up to the race.

“We know people will be disappointed, but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us,” said Nismo boss Shoichi Miyatani. “We are racers and we want to compete, but we also want to be competitive. That is why we have chosen to continue our test program and prepare the GT-R LM NISMO for the strong competition we face in the World Endurance Championship. When you innovate, you don’t give up at the first hurdle. We are committed to overcoming this challenge.”

Continue reading for the full story.

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Nissan Le Mans Pre-Qualifying Session: Video

Nissan Le Mans Pre-Qualifying Session: Video

Nissan has been incredibly open with the development of its bizarre front-engine, front-wheel-drive science experiment, the 2016 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo, and now the team is preparing to make its race debut in one of the racing world’s toughest arenas, at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. In this latest video, Nissan drivers and engineers discuss the progress that’s been made since the first Le Mans test session earlier this month.

The team has found some time since arriving at Le Mans but there’s still a long way to go. The fastest of the three Nissans, the No. 23 car of Olivier Pla, Jann Mardenborough and Max Chilton, posted a 3:38.468 in the first qualifying session, a roughly five-second improvement over its best time during the test day. However, that’s still over 20 seconds adrift of the blindingly fast time set by Neel Jani in one of the 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrids in the same session.

There are still a few more qualifying and practice sessions before the race itself, but, barring three Porsches, three Audis and two Toyotas all suffering catastrophic failures, don’t expect to see the Nissans vying for the race win this weekend. The team won’t say it, but they’re likely looking at this weekend’s race as a 24-hour practice session, in which they will try to learn as much as possible before the WEC season continues. The GT-R LM Nismo has completed several 24-hour race simulations at NCM Motorsports Park (near the Corvette factory of all places) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, so the durability should be there to get them to the end.

The GT-R LM Nismo is a radical rethink of the Le Mans prototype formula. The front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout is unique in a field of mid-engine race cars. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 combines with a flywheel kinetic-energy recovery system to produce around 1,250 horsepower, and Nissan says the lack of an engine in the back cleans up aerodynamics around the rear bodywork. It’s weird, but that’s why we love it.

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Nissan at Le Mans - Scrutineering Timelapse: Video

Nissan at Le Mans - Scrutineering Timelapse: Video

With the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans only a couple of days away, the teams are gearing up for what promises to be one of the most spectacular races of the year. While drivers and engineers are giving their best during qualifying, the PR teams are making sure there’s enough buzz to keep enthusiasts excited ahead of Saturday’s green flag. We’ve already seen Toyota showcasing all of its Le Mans attempts since 1985, but now it’s time to check out Nissan’s latest video of the 2015 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo.

Though it might not be as spectacular as watching Toyota racing prototypes evolving over the course of three decades, Nissan’s "Scrutineering Timelapse" shows what happens when entrants exhibit their vehicles in the town of Le Mans. There’s a lot of packing and unpacking going on, as well as a media event that includes presenting the team that will soon take to the track.

As a brief reminder, the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo is one of the more exotic competitors of this year’s LMP1 battle. With its engine mounted at the front and power routed to the front wheels, it uses a layout Le Mans hasn’t seen for more than five decades. For the uninitiated, most LMP1 prototypes are either rear- or all-wheel-drive and have their engines mounted behind the seats.

We will find out whether Nismo’s out-of-the-box approach will make a significant impact on the track this weekend. The race begins Saturday, June 13th, at 8 AM EST, and ends Sunday, exactly 24 hours later.

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