New HQ to spawn electric Le Mans entry in 2014 and greatly expanded motorsport programme
News of the new Nismo GT-R we've reported on already is just one strand of a host of developments off the back of Nismo's evolution into a global performance and motorsport brand.
Nismo road cars all part of the plan
At an opening shindig for the new Nismo HQ in Yokohama, Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn underlined an ambitious expansion for the performance brand, first established formally in 1984, and since then at the heart of Nissan's motorsport programme. It's also dabbled in road cars on occasion, cars like the legendary R34 Nismo Z-Tune, incorporating Nismo's track expertise into strictly limited-edition models that have since gained cult status.
The new Nismo road cars like the Juke, 370Z and GT-R will have the same spirit but be built in far greater numbers and alongside their regular brethren, the new HQ pooling motorsport and road car development under one roof for the first time. Motorsport will still be core but Nismo's remit is expanding 'to encompass performance road car development alongside Nissan.'
Nismo Leaf previewed electric ambitions
Credit for this expansion has been given by Nissan to the raised awareness of Nismo products through computer games, claiming over 500 million virtual miles were driven in Nissan vehicles in Gran Turismo 5 last year. Giving that generation of gamers the ability to buy real life Nismo products is at the core of the, er, game plan.
The motorsport plan is equally ambitious, Ghosn revealing that Nissan will return to 'Garage 56' following its split from the Deltawing project, this time with its own electrically powered racer that could, in future, spawn an LMP1 contender.
That's some way away yet but with Nissan engines in one third of this year's Le Mans entry there's still a big presence at the 24 hours this year.
A third of Le Mans runners are Nissan powered
The GT-R will continue its development and contest several sportscar championships in 2013, including GT3-class entries in British GT and various classes of the domestic Super GT.
And over in Australia Nissan is returning to competition in V8 Supercars with the Altima V8 Supercar and hoping to reprise the Skyline-based dominance enjoyed by Nissan in the early 90s. Whether the locals will be quite so welcoming is another matter, the Skyline's lockdown on Australian motorsport ruffling more than a few feathers back in the day.
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