With the launch of the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo and 2014 370Z Nismo at the Chicago auto show, Nissan’s Nismo motorsports wing began an expansion of the factory tuner brand. Now, that expansion moves into phase two, with Nismo’s headquarters shifting to the Japanese automaker’s Powertrain Engineering Complex, and a GT-R Nismo model soon to top the performance brand’s range.
Though Nissan confirmed a GT-R Nismo, calling it the “ultimate Nissan performance supercar,” no details were given about the upcoming car. Considering that the last GT-R to wear a Nismo badge, the R34-generation 2003 Nissan Skyline GT-R Z-Tune, received a significant horsepower bump compared to the standard model, you can likely expect performance of the R35-gen GT-R Nismo to be even greater than the Black Edition (pictured above) or Track Pack variants. As part of Nissan’s “Power 88” plan, Nismo will launch at least one new model every year for six years. One of those vehicles is the GT-R Nismo, though there’s no word on when we can expect it.
Helping to facilitate Nismo’s transition from a primarily motorsports-focused operation to a more mainstream specialty car maker like Ford’s SVT division, the brand’s headquarters is relocating to a former production site with more engineering and development resources. Nismo’s team of 180 people will have access to a workshop, engine shop, fabrication room, and carbon composite processes at the new facility. Nismo vehicles will be produced alongside their standard counterparts, beginning with the Juke Nismo this year.
What other Nissan vehicles deserve a Nismo variant? Tell us in the comments below.
UPDATE: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced at the Nismo press conference in Yokohama, Japan that the brand will return with a "pioneering race car incorporating electric technology" for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Like the experimental Nissan DeltaWing that ran last year, the new car will occupy a special section of the grid reserved for innovative technologies, Garage 56. Nissan says the new entry will test new powertrain technology, and will carry on the spirit of the DeltaWing. Nissan says data gathered from this entry will help "enable all parties to evaluate the incorporation of this breakthrough technology ahead of a potential return to LMP1 in the future."
That last bit is important, as Nissan hasn't competed at the top level of prototype racing since the R390 GT1 of 1998 -- a factory effort also headed by Nismo. The electric powertrain tech employed in the 2014 entry could end up in a future Nissan LMP1 car, which might someday go up against Japanese rival Toyota's TS030 hybrid racer.