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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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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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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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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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2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Safety Car

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Safety Car

We’ve seen a lot BMW-badged safety cars recently, including the M4 Coupe DTM safety car and the BMW i8 that paces the newly founded Formula E series. Needless to say, Munich’s vehicles are quite common with racing events, but IMSA is among the very few sanctioning bodies that prefer other marques. For this year’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, IMSA opted for the 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo. The coupe, as you may remember, received an extensive facelift in 2014.

Seeing the 370Z make its debut as a safety car in North America isn’t surprising at all. Nissan is an official partner of IMSA, the sanctioning body for both the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championships, and has fielded multiple race cars throughout the 2014 season. In addition, the Japanese automaker also provides powerplants to various independent companies. The Circuit of the Americas race, scheduled for September 19th, will also include Nissan racers. Two 370Z Nismos and a couple of Altima-based race cars will battle for victory in Texas.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo.

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2014 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3

2014 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3

After setting a new Nurburgring lap record last year, the 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo is set to make a return to the iconic German track in racing guise for the 24 Hours endurance event scheduled later this summer.

Dubbed GT-R Nismo GT3, the racing version of the ultra-fast supercar that lapped the "Green Hell" in 7:08.679 will sport an array of aerodynamic upgrades, including a wide-body kit with revised fenders and side sills, a race-spec rear diffuser and a large wing mounted atop its trunk.

Although the automaker declined to reveal any details in regards to the vehicle’s powertrain and chassis upgrades, the GT3 is obviously fitted with a stiffer suspension and benefits from several engine and transmission tweaks of the usual Nismo recipe.

Three Nissan GT-R GT3 vehicles will be entered in this year’s 24 Hours of Nurburgring - two will be raced by Nissan GT Academy Team RJN in cooperation with Nismo engineers brought straight from Japan, while the other one will compete under the Schulze Motorsport banner.

The factory teams will get four drivers each. The No.80 car will be manhandled by former Formula One racer Nick Heidfeld, who will be joined by GT Academy graduates Florian Strauss, Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe. The No.30 car, on the other hand, will be driven by Nissan Super GT pilots Michael Krumm and Kazuki Hoshino, joined by Katsumasa Chiyo and Tetsuya Tanaka.

Lastly, the Nissan GT-R ran by Schulze Motorsport will benefit from the skills of Gran Turismo creator Kazanori Yamauchi and 2009 GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

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2014 Nissan Altima V8 Supercar

2014 Nissan Altima V8 Supercar

We’ve already had a look and listen at Volvo’s engine for the V8 Supercars racing series, and now another equally uninspiring car is debuting. This time around, it’s the Nissan Altima Coupe that is showing that it can deliver on the race track.

There is no mention of what engine is under its hood, but it’s safe to say that there is some form of V-8, like the series’ name alludes to. This isn’t the Altima’s first crack at the V8 Supercars series, but this is a new design for the team.

The new aero package slapped on this hot Altima includes smaller scallops on the front bar and redesigned rear wing uprights. Also tweaked is the livery, as it now features a pearlescent yellow paint and reflective white vinyl in the "Norton" logo.

There will be two Altimas running the series, with James Moffat at the helm of the No. 360 car and Michael Caruso in the No. 36 car. The racing kicks off February 27th in Adelaide, South Australia and end December 7th in Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales.

Click past the jump to read a little about the road-going 2013 Altima Coupe and to see the full racing schedule.

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2004 Nissan 350Z "Rival Swap" by Tech 2 Motorsports

2004 Nissan 350Z "Rival Swap" by Tech 2 Motorsports

For the most part, when you get together a big group of tuners – we mean real tuners, not some dude that throws 500 lbs of plastic and chrome on his ride and calls it a “tuner” car – there are several clear divides. One of the biggest divides is between the Nissan group and the Toyota group. As the No. 2 and 3 import tuner cars, respectively, there is no love lost between them. In real life they respect each other – for the most part – but under the hood, they despise one another.

This is why you never see a Nissan-meets-Toyota kind of monster build. You’ll see domestic engines in Hondas and vice versa, but you never ever see someone take a Nissan car and drop a Toyota powerplant in it. Well, until now!

Steven Mills, in collaboration with ISS Forged and Tech 2 Motorsports, decided, like many others in the world, that the VQ35 engine found in his 350Z was not up to snuff, even with a wide array of mods. So he yanked it out and dropped in a Nissan powerplant. Oh, you would like to know what engine he swapped it out for. You will be surprised, we are sure of it.

Click past the jump to find out about the engine and read our full review.

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