One heritage car may be dead, but another lives on, sort of. Since its US debut at the Chicago Auto Show we’ve been immensely curious about the front-wheel-drive Nissan GT-R NISMO LM. And no, that is not a typo. The car with which Nissan intends to challenge the toughest enduro in the world is indeed front-wheel-drive. And now they’ve revealed its new livery, a throwback to Nissan’s 1990 Le Mans prizefighter, the R90C.
Twenty-five years ago, Nissan entered five of their 1,100hp R90C racers at Le Mans, built in two different garages on opposite sides of the world but all decorated in the company’s traditional blue-white-red tricolors. Only three of the five finished, with the R90CP — born from the same Oppama works that built the Skyline and Fairlady Z touring cars of lore and piloted by Japan’s legendary drivers Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino, and Toshio Suzuki — finishing fifth overall. The car shown above is an R90C built by the UK works team for Daytona, but visually subtle changes in the livery and its black wheels matches the new car best.
Will the Nissan’s fortunes change with the GT-R NISMO LM? Though it bears the name of a highly focused killing machine, Nissan’s latest race car is an automotive platypus. Engineers claim that by moving the drive wheels to the prow, it opens up the entire back half for aerodynamic voodoo. We will see how successful it is this year at Circuit de la Sarthe as it breaks every commandment in the motorsports bible.