“It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of Nismo road cars without including the GT-R,” said Mr Ghosn. “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 can’t wait to drive it.”
The firm plans to introduce at least one high performance Nismo model every year up to 2016 – in accordance with Nissan’s Power88 mid-term global business plan that was announced in June 2011.
The GT-R Nismo will be developed at the new Nismo headquarters, which has been redeveloped from an existing site within the Nissan Powertrain Engineering facility in Yokohama.
The new HQ brings all of Nismo’s 180 staff together, and includes workshops, engine dynos, fabrication facilities and a showroom with space for eight cars.
Nismo models will be developed at the HQ, but built on the same production lines as Nissan’s regular models – the Juke Nismo runs down the same line as the standard Juke at the firm’s Sunderland plant, for example.
Nissan’s decision to increase the presence of its Nismo brand comes off the back of success it has had in the virtual world – Nismo cars have long been a fixture of the Gran Turismo franchise, and the firm claims that over 500 million virtual miles have been driven in Nissan vehicles in Gran Turismo 5 in 2012 – while the Juke Nismo debuted in the Asphalt 7: Heat game.
Nissan began experimenting with higher-performance road cars almost 50 years ago, when Nissan engineers fitted a powerful engine into an ordinary Nissan saloon to create the Nissan Skyline 2000GT. The Nismo name was used from 1984.
As well as production cars, Nismo will also oversee Nissan’s global motorsports activities from the new HQ, including its Super GT cars in Japan and new Nissan Altima V8s which will compete from this year in the Australian V8 Supercars.