In the mid 90’s, even with the disappearance of group C, the the endurance races were so popular. In this context was created a new championship, the BPR Global GT Series, an international endurance racing series for mostly privately entered modified road cars ‒ like Ferrari F40, Lotus Esprit V8, Porsche 911, and the amazing McLaren F1 – .  Nissan decided to enter in the BPR in 1995 with the Skyline GT-R, but the car was not fast enough to battle for wins.

All changed in 1996, when Porsche (who else?) exploited a loophole in the simply written regulations and upped the ante. The regulations stated that the race car must be based on model that can be driven on public, so Porsche decided to built a race car which was followed by a street-legal version that was offered for sale.

nissan-r390-3

So Nissan started working on a new car to try victory in Le Mans: the R390 GT1. Unlike Porsche and Mercedes with its GT1 and CLK-GTR, Nissan followed the spirit of the regulations, building the road car first and then the racing version. In this sense, Nismo decided to work with Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) in the development of the new Nissan. They decided to upgrade the old VRH engine – used in the Nissan R89C -, instead of the 2.6L inline-6 engine used in the Skyline GT-R – which was too heavy-. The upgraded engine was a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V8 made from aluminium that provided 641cv at 6800 rpm. The gearbox was a six-speed sequential manual. With this engine and the monocoque chassis, the weight was just over 1000 kg.

r3902_nissan_03

Only two R390 road cars were ever built, which Nissan originally offered for a price of $1,000,000 but were never intended for sale. One was sold privately via auction, and registered for road use. The other is stored at Nissan’s Zama warehouse.  This street-legal beast was capable of running 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. The Nissan R390 recorded a top speed of 354 km/h , 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 and 1995-1998 McLaren F1.

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