AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Money goes a long way in this word, but having a title (and money) goes even further. We’re not taking about Doctor, or CEO. No, special privileges really abound when you’re royalty.
Case in point, Prince Albert II of Monaco, who recently havd the unique opportunity to drive the Nissan Leaf NISMO RC, a race car loosely based on the world’s first mainstream electric vehicle. The Prince, an avid proponent of alternative powertrain vehicles (he even ordered a bespoke convertible Lexus LS600hL for his wedding) took the nearly-silent race car for a spin around tiny principality, leaving his palace and arriving at the Grimaldi Forum on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Seeing the video its hard not to imagine a field full of electric race cars hitting the world-famous Monaco F1 circuit.
GALLERY: Prince Albert II and the NISMO Leaf RC
Recently, Nissan and NISMO announced its 2012 global motorsports program along with a video highlighting the joint companies past years of success.
For the 2012 season, the Japanese automaker will make their presence known worldwide in racing, competing in both the GT300 and GT500 classes in Super GT, in the European Le Mans Series, continue their support for the GT Academy program and endorse several series in North America including the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Four GT-Rs in total will compete in the Super GT GT500 class, fielded by MOLA, NISMO, Team Impul, and Kondo Racing. But more interesting is the GT-R competing in the GT300 class, where vehicles are limited to just 300-hp and will be fielding the likes of the Toyota Prius, Honda CR-Z, and Subaru BR-Z this year. And while the GT500 GT-R is powered by a V8, the GT300 GT-R will be more like the road vehicle but restricted down to 300-hp.
In America, Nissan will have their 370Z competing in the GS Class of the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series; while the Altima Coupe will be seen in the ST Class. In the Pirelli World Challenge, a GT-R will be driven by Mike Skeen in the GT Class, while Rick Bushey, Greg Shaffer, and Brian Kleeman will be competing in the GTS Class behind the wheel of a 370Z.
We will also see the Nissan Titan and the Nissan Frontier competing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and the Off-Road Championship Series.
And as we mentioned previously, the GT-R will be competing in the Australian V8 Supercars Championship.
Watch the promotional video on the upcoming Nissan Motorsports season after the break.
Nissan Motorsports International (NISMO) has made the release of the GT3-spec GT-R official, pricing it at around $388,000 based on today’s conversion rates.
A joint project between NISMO and JR Motorsports (JRM), the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 packs a 3.8L V6, twin-turbo powerplant that is seen in the factory production model, but pumps out 523-hp. It may sound odd that it has slightly less horsepower than the factory 2013 GT-R with 545-hp, but it’s probably been tuned to GT3 regulations.
What you do get, however, is a GT-R packed with fully adjustable suspension, a gutted-out interior with a full roll cage, extra cooling ducts and an aggressive aero package. Power on the GT3 GT-R will be delivered through a six-speed, semi-automatic paddle-shift system. Those ordering the race-ready GT-R will receive support from NISMO if you’re in Japan, Asia, North or South America and Oceania, while JRM will support Europe, Russia and the Middle East.
Hinting at a possible tuner version of the new March/Micra sub-compact, Nissan has revealed a NISMO concept model at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Standing alongside similar NISMO-tuned versions of the Leaf and Juke, the March NISMO Concept gets the expected goodies.
Included in the package are lighter forged wheels and an upgraded (and lowered) suspension, not to mention a custom aero package with a rear spoiler. Inside the car gets sports seats and an upgraded steering wheel, while outside it’s coated in a pearl white paint with red highlights.
Similar packages were revealed for the Juke NISMO and Leaf NISMO which were unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in December. The Leaf NISMO is transformed into somewhat of a futuristic jellybean in the process, while the aero kit and lowered suspension make the Juke a mean looking sport-cross.
Check out all the cars below, as well as the Leaf NISMO RC race car and find AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon coverage here.
GALLERY: Nissan March, Leaf and Juke NISMO Concepts
GALLERY: Nissan Leaf NISMO RC Race Car
Nissan is no stranger to franken-cars, one of the most notable in recently memory was the Juke-R, a twisted combination of the GT-R hotrod and practically-minded Juke.
While Nismo isn’t going to such extreme lengths, their modifications will grant a little extra power and a sporty look more in tune with a club racer style. Performance modifications are scarce, but Nismo did upgrade the exhaust and slap on some bigger wheels to complement the new sporty body features.
Those features include a modified front grille and bumper, a rear spoiler and air diffuser, accented exterior mirrors and matching side skirts. The specialty Micra is painted pearl white with red accents and comes with sport-designed seats and steering wheel.
Discuss this story at MicraForums.com
Nissan has announced an extensive 10-car lineup for the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon including everything from modified minivans to GT-R race car. Following roughly a month after the Tokyo Motor Show, the salon is in many ways Japan’s version of SEMA, giving aftermarket tuners and race shops a chance to show their wares.
In the brand’s NISMO motorsports-derived area will be four models, including the 370Z NISMO and NISMO Juke Concept, as well as a NISMO-tuned version of the Leaf EV and the Leaf NISMO RC race car. In addition, Nissan will display the Motul Autech GT-R, which won five of eight races in last season’s Super GT series, where the S Road MOLA GT-R team captured both the team and driver’s titles
In-house tuning brand Autech will show off three modified vans, including a custom NV350 Caravan Rider, the Serena Rider Performance Spec Black Line and the Elgrand Rider High-performance Spec Black Line – a wild looking version of what we call the Nissan Quest.
In addition, Nissan will show off two special edition production models, the GT-R Pure edition “For Track Pack”, as well as the Skyline 55th Limited Edition, commemorating the car’s 55th anniversary with a custom aero kit and extra goodies.
The Tokyo Auto Salon takes place from January 13-15 and, as always, look for AutoGuide’s extensive coverage here.
GALLERY: Nissan’s Tokyo Auto Salon Models
Nissan shows off its new direction for Nismo at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show by introducing performance models on less expensive vehicles such as the Juke. Even though none of the details are finalized, Nissan did stress that an expansion is occurring and bringing Nismo to markets outside of Japan has become a priority.
There’s no doubt Nismo is hugely popular with the Nissan crowd here in America, from their 370Z to even 240sx enthusiasts. We’re not 100-percent sure we like the direction that Nismo is taking by offering tuning packages for less expensive vehicles, but we do like the sound of lower costs on their products.
As of now, Nismo will continue on the path of developing engine upgrades, suspension parts, braking components, interior trim and aerodynamic packages for various Nissan models hopefully giving American retailers a new avenue for parts sales.
[Source: Automotive News]
It might not be the GT-R powered Juke R, but Nissan‘s Juke NISMO Concept is a strong indication that the Japanese automaker is planning a higher-performance version of the sport cross. From styling components, to handling upgrades and power adders, the NISMO-tuned Juke takes the sub-compact crossover’s fun level to the next level.
GALLERY: Nissan Juke NISMO Concept
For full details on the Juke NISMO, watch the video below:
While Honda and Toyota have been messing around with electric car concepts for quite some time now, Nissan has been selling the Leaf EV for a whole year now. Aiming to display its expertise in electric vehicles, the company’s Tokyo Motor Show display included a slew of emissions free models, ranging from the PIVO 3 personal commuter, to the stunning ESFLOW sports car.
Sharing the stage with those is the Leaf NISMO, tuned by the brand’s motorsports division. With Nissan having already announced a Leaf NISMO RC race car, purpose built for track duty, this is more of a street tuner version, sporting custom aerodynamics, some 18-inch wheels and an upgraded (and lowered suspension).
Nissan hasn’t officially announced any performance upgrades, although some reports indicate a slight bump in power for the NISMO version.
It may be just a concept for now, but if Nissan gets serious about electric cars in motorsports, then you can expect NISMO parts for electric cars to follow.
GALLERY: Nissan Leaf NISMO
Debuting over the weekend in the Blancpain Endurance Series at Magny-Cours, Nissan‘s new GT-R GT3-spec race car had a solid 8th place finish, competing alongside cars like the Audi R8 and Ferrari 458 Italia.
Driven by Richard Westbrook and David Brabham this car is the creation of NISMO and JRM, and marks the start of what will likely be a much larger expansion by Nissan into GT car racing. Currently Nissan competes with the GT-R in the FIA GT1 series, but that car uses an entirely different engine from the street model, relying on a V8 engine. The GT3-spec car instead uses a version of the factory V6 VR38DETT.
“The car ran like clockwork”, said Westbrook. “I had to keep reminding myself that this was its first race! It’s excellent on tyres, so it means you can lap at the same speed at the end of a stint as you can at the start. For a brand new car to run the whole of the three-hours without a problem is a great achievement. It’s easy but rewarding to drive and I must admit that, even after completing two one-hour stints, I didn’t want to get out of it.”
“To finish where we did is a great debut for a brand new car and a tribute to Nissan, NISMO and JRM,” said Brabham.
GALLERY: Nissan NISMO GT-R GT3
Nissan has released a lone image of its incredible GT-R GT3-spec race car ahead of its first competition test. Built by a partnership between Nissan’s NISMO motorsports division and JR Motorsports (JRM), the NISMO GT-R GT3 will hit the track this weekend for the fourth round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Magny-Cours.
Driving duties during the three-hour race will be shared by Richard Westbrook and David Brabham.
“Testing has been underway since earlier this year and the car has run very well. We now want to place it into a competitive environment as part of its continued development. We have no intention of racing to win at this stage, as we are focused on putting race-miles on the car and collecting as much data as possible,” said JRM Managing Director Andy Barnes.
The car will compete in several more events this year before its official race debut in October.
Built to GT3-spec, the NISMO GT-R is much closer to a production model than the current vehicles competing in the GT1 series in Europe. Perhaps the biggest difference is that the GT3-spec car shares its V6 VR38DETT with the production GT-R, while the GT1 class racers use naturally aspirated V8s.
GALLERY: Nissan GT-R GT3
One of the most hallowed racetracks in the world recently got an electric shave, and not just from a weedwhacker. The Nissan Leaf NISMO RC, which debuted at the New York Auto Show a few months prior, finally got a thrashing around the Circuit de la Sarthe. It was quiet, yet not entirely unexciting.
Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares was behind the wheel of the electric race car, for an event called the “Le Mans vers le futur” that attempts to take the oxymoron out of the phrase “electric race car.”
Click the jump for the video, and skip ahead to 3:00 where things really start to get lively. And if you’re wondering, it took Tavares 22 minutes to lap the track, or about the same about of time it took Duncan Hamilton to get completely smashed on brandy Alexanders.
The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC will perform two demonstrations, Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon at the Le Mans Vers Le Futur, in celebration of the 79th anniversary of the event (June 11-12).
It will be interesting to see how electronic vehicles like the Nismo RC shape the world of motorsports while attaining zero-emissions.
Check out the video after the jump!
Nissan has announced that its Leaf Nismo RC Concept race car concept will be making two demonstration runs at the Le Mans Vers Le Futur, in celebration of the 79th anniversary of the event (June 11-12).
The 24 Hour of Le Mans is the world’s most renowned endurance race and is held on the Circuit de la Sarthe, 120 miles west of Paris. It is considered the toughest, most grueling endurance race in the world. Nissan believes its Leaf racer will provide a glimpse into the future at Le Mans when put in action for the first time outside of Japan. The Nissan Leaf NISMO RC made its debut at the New York Auto Show earlier this year and has been praised for bringing new meaning to the term ‘Racing Green’.
The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC is a car solely built for racing based on the first all-electric production vehicle in the world, and was the first-ever zero emission racing spec production vehicle.
“The 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours has provided us with a great opportunity to show the world that Nissan is at the forefront of automotive innovation,” commented Darren Cox, Chief Marketing Manager (Crossover and Sports Cars), Nissan Europe.
There will be two demonstration runs performed by the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC. The first will take place at 9:15PM on Thursday, June 9th, and the second at 12:10PM on Saturday, June 11th local time.
Rumors had indicated that Nissan would unveil the next-generation Versa at the New York Auto Show this week, but no one saw this coming. Above is a lone image of what the Japanese automaker is calling the Leaf NISMO RC (Racing Competition). Yes, a Leaf race car!
Build by Nissan’s NISMO racing division the car makes use of an electric drivetrain similar to the one found in the production Leaf with a 80 kW electric motor that produces 107-hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, enabling a 0-62 mph time of 6.85 seconds.
Nissan claims it can be recharged up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes and can run for 20 minutes at a time.
With styling cues similar to the Leaf, this car is dramatically different with a new coupe design and 18-inch wheels. Plus it’s 6.7-inches wider, 0.8-inches longer and sports a 3.9-inch shorter wheelbase. Overall it sits over a foot (13.8-inches) lower than the Leaf production car.
Based on an entirely new platform made of carbon fiber, the NISMO RC weighs just 2,068 lbs – roughly 40 percent less than the road car.
“Combining the talents of NISMO, Nissan’s world renowned motorsports group, and engineers behind some of the company’s Super GT and FIA GT1 race teams, the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will serve as a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems, as well as a platform for the development of new green motorsports series,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas in a statement. “Nissan LEAF owners are fully embracing this new world of zero emission technology. We believe the same potential exists in the motorsports world as well, with Nissan proud to be first on the starting grid.”
Nissan has announced it will showcase the car at several motorsports events this year and is examining the possibility of launching a NISMO RC spec series. Look for more images and details from AutoGuide’s 2011 NY Auto Show coverage here, starting Wednesday, April 20th.
Get ready to see more Nissans competing on race tracks across American, with the Japanese automaker announcing the debut of a new 370Z race car. A factory backed team isn’t in the company’s plans, but Nissan is building a spec Z racer with its NISMO motorsports division, that will be eligable to compete in the World Challenge’s GTS class and Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Challenge GS class.
In addition, Nissan is supporting all those out there racing their Nissan vehicles by offering contingency payouts. Prizes range from $250 for a Formula Drift first place finish, to $5,000 for a World Challenge or Grand-Am win.
To get more on the new 370Z race car or the Racer Support and Contingency Awards Programs, contact Nissan Motorsports at 888 833-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.nissan4parts.com.
*Note: The above image is that of the NISMO Z-based BRE 370Z race car. Photos of the new car have yet to be released..
This weekend Nissan will officially return to international sports car racing, fielding an LMP2 entry in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Marking the first time Nissan has competed at this level in over a decade, Nissan’s NISMO motorsports division has partnered with the Signature Group to field an LMP2 level prototype machine. Powered by a 3.4-liter VK series V8 engine, the Signatech Nissan racing team has a busy scheduled planned for 2011, competing in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) series, which along with Sebring includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 1,000 km Spa-Francorshamps, and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Piloting the race car will be Soheil Ayari and Franck Mailleux of France, as well as 25 year-old Lucas Ordoñez of Spain, the winner of the inaugural PlayStation GT Academy competition in Europe.
Nissan’s last outright win at Sebring came in 1994.
GALLERY: Signatech Nissan LMP2 Race Car
Nissan fans will rejoice at the brand’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race this year.
The Japanese automaker has just announced a partnership with Signature Racing out of France that will see the team use Nissan Motorsports (NISMO) 4.5-liter V8 engines in high-level LMP2 prototype cars.
But before the big race in France, Nissan will debut the car at the 12 Hours of Sebring, in Sebring, FL on March 19th. The car is also set to return to our shores for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta later this year.
Ever wonder what would happen if you let a high-performance tuning company run wild on a minivan? Well wonder no longer, as Nissan‘s NISMO division has just debuted a version of the new Elgrand (sold as the Quest in North America) at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon.
Already an imposing beast of a van, the NISMO Elgrand gets its own aero kit with an even more imposing front grille. Matched up with a complete aero package, the van also features a custom suspension drop by the handling experts at NISMO. A set of 18-inch wheels complete the look; although they do seem rather small in comparison to the huge slab-sides of this boxy people mover.
It’s just a concept for now, but knowing the market for these types of things in Japan, NISMO is almost certain to offer copies of this kit. Find the right JDM-market importer and you too can roll up to soccer practice looking like you’re from 2025.
GALLERY: NISMO Elgrand
Nissan recently announced it would showcase a total of nine vehicles at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon, and the Japanese automaker has now decided to take the wraps off its collection in advance of the show.
Above is the Leaf Aero Concept, which Nissan says is a peak into the future at what electric cars could look like. Also set to debut in Tokyo (see below) is the Juke Sporty Package, featuring accessory add-ons (including 17-inch wheels) that will be offered through dealers in both North America and Europe.
Seven other models will also take the stage in Tokyo, including a track-specific GT-R and even a NISMO-tuned version of the Elgrand (now sold in the U.S. as the Quest minivan).
GALLERY: Nissan’s 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon Cars
NISMO’s VK45DE powerplant, which has had huge success in the SuperGT series powering the Nissan GT-R to a championship in 2008, will be installed in LMP2 class race cars from 2011 and on. NISMO has partnered up with Zytek Motorsport, a noted Formula 1 engine builder, with Zytek taking responsibility for servicing and maintaining all the engines.
“Zytek Motorsport is delighted to enter into this partnership with Nissan Motorsports International. We firmly believe that this collaboration between these two excellent brands is going to produce competitive and reliable products. It is an honour to work with a manufacturer of the standing and reputation of Nismo and we look forward to a long and successful partnership,” said John Manchester, Zytek Motorsport’s Operations Director.
Official press release available after the break.