Nismo to nurture Nissan GT-R

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Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has confirmed the Japanese company's motorsport arm, Nismo, will develop at least one new high-performance model per year, and the next model to get the go-fast treatment will be the GT-R super car.

The Nissan chief said that development of a new Le Mans race car "that will act as a high-speed test bed" will be undertaken alongside new production models at its new global HQ in Yokohama, reflecting the renewed investment in Nissa's motorsport division. Those production models include the Juke Nismo and 370Z Nismo road cars - neither of which have been confirmed for Australia.

Nissan is not short of other donor cars for the Nismo crew to work on either, and the Altima mid-sized sedan arriving in Australia later this year would be an ideal candidate too.

The Nissan Altima race car makes its Australian motorsport debut wearing Nismo livery in March 2013, contesting the V8 Supercars championship. There is also the reborn Nissan Pulsar SSS to consider, which is powered by a 147kW/250Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine that could be given the Nismo treatment.

"Whether it's a small car or a sports car, if it's wearing the Nismo badge it offers something special," said Mr Ghosn, who added that, "It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of Nismo road cars without including the GT-R".

It's not clear how Nismo plans to tune the GT-R, but it is possible that Nurburgring lap times could tumble once again, with the 404kW/628Nm expected to be worked over for a big power boost and significant chassis tweaks.

"The standard road car is a global supercar and the GT-R's performance on track reflects the passion and talents of the Nismo team. The GT-R Nismo will be special and I ca't wait to drive it," stated Mr Ghosn.

Nissan says the new GT-R Nismo will be on sale in 2014.

There is also the potential for hybridised sports cars to emerge from the new Nismo factory in Yokohama, as Mr Ghosn confirmed the company's return to the famous Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race in 2014 would include electric technology.

"We will return to Le Mans with a vehicle that will act as a high-speed test bed in the harshest of environments for both our road car and race car electric vehicle technology," confirmed Mr Ghosn.

Nissan competed at the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 2012 with the experimental DeltaWing racer in its own unique class, but Mr Ghosn says the car maker could make a return to the high profile LMP1 category in future.


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