Japan Desk: Nissan At Le Mans

11:32:00 AM

by Roman Vanecek

Everytime I head over to Japan I think this is it, an actual vacation from the California car life. Time to take in the culture and just relax, forget about cars for a while and just enjoy. But as any enthusiast knows you can only look away for so long before spotting vintage Alphas Romeos, Mustangs, or Fairlady Z driving down the street.

Nissans world headquarters are located walking distance from Yokohama station and its facilities are exactly what nismo fans have been waiting for. The gigantic first floor offers a ever changing lineup of its classic and racing legends brought out from the massive Heritage Garage in Zama.

This month in honor of the LeMans race, Nissan brought out a few of their race machines from the past. To compete in the LeMans GT class, manufacturers must start with production road going vehicles with at least one example being built. Even though the final car looks much like a track only race car, images of these cars driving down the street or modifying your own is easily imagined.

The first r33 pictured here is the road going production version, and although this one did not actually race the differences in the aerodynamics from the standard production version are apparent.

This is a LeMans survivor, battle scars and all, finishing 15th overall and 10th in its class in the 1996 race.

On to GT1 class these are true supercars, Only 2 production street models were built with only one R390 being sold through action for the small price of $100,000,000. These featured midship rear V8 VRH35Z power plants built to 550HP. These cars utilized a v8 because a lower center of gravity on the crossmember could be achieved rather than the famed RB26.

The full race version of the R390 featured an upgraded powerplant to 641HP, and out of the three R390's raced at LeMan in 1997 dealing with gearbox failures this particular car was the only one to finish the race.

The successor the R390, the R391 had power reduced to 600HP [R90CK pic8800] The R90CK was Nissans 1990 LeMans entry boasting 800HP in endurance spec and 1000HP in qualifying spec.

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