Saturday, July 19, 2014

Nissan R390 GT1 (1997-98)

The Nissan R390 GT1 was a mid-engined racing car designed primarily for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997 and 1998. It was built to race under the grand tourer style rules, requiring the manufacturing of at least one street-legal version of the race car. The R390 GT1 design was the work of Ian Callum at Tom Walkinshaw Racing, previously acclaimed as the designer of the Aston Martin DB7. He was recently appointed Chief Designer for Jaguar. Only two R390 road cars were ever built. One was sold through a private auction, without any record, and the other one is stored at Nissan's Zama facility. 

Behind the driver sits the Nissan's VRH35L Twin Turbocharged 3.5-litre double-overhead-camshaft 560bhp V8 engine. And the R390 GT1 features a launch control system and traction control which, when encountering wheelspin, reduces power by limiting fuel to individual engine cylinders.  ( & wikipedia)

Road Car Version

Inside are normal road car appliances such as full instrumentation and leather-covered driver and passenger racing seats. The short-throw gear lever for the Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox and tiny racing steering wheel are reminders of the close alliance between the road car and the vehicle which captured four out of the top-ten spots in the 1998 Le Mans 24-hour race.  (

Only two known R390 road cars were ever built, each of which Nissan originally offered for a price of $1,000,000. One is stored at Nissan's Zama warehouse. The other was sold to a wealthy car enthusiast by auction. The street-legal road car is capable of running 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and 0-100 mph in just 6.5 seconds. The 1/4 mile is accomplished in just 11.1 seconds at 145 mph (233 km/h). The Nissan R390 recorded a top speed of 354 km/h (220 mph), making it not only the fastest Japanese production car ever manufactured, but also the 3rd fastest production car in its time, behind the 1998 TVR Speed 12 (245 mph) and 1995-1998 McLaren F1 (231 mph), but surpassing the Jaguar XJ220 (213 mph). (wikipedia)

1997 Race Car 

A total of eight R390 GT1 race chassis were built over the two years of the program. Completed in time for the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans, the three black and red R390 GT1s were fast in their first competition. one R390 GT1 (#22) was able to qualify in 4th on the grid while its partners qualified 12th (#21) and 21st (#23). (wikipedia)

1998 Race Car

For 1998, Nissan returned, this time with four R390 GT1s. The cars were slightly upgraded, with more downforce able to be generated by a longer rear tail, a new rear diffuser, and, on racing versions, a new rear wing placement for less drag. all four cars were able to finish the race. With this, Nissan was able to finish 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 10th overall, being beaten only by the Porsche 911 GT1.

(Photos from,, &

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