Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo

Zaheer July 29, 2011 0


Electramotive Engineering developed a purposeful series of racing cars for the Nissan Motors which was known as the Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, also known as the GTP ZX-T. The series was developed to race in the IMSA GT Championship. From 1985 to 1990, the GTP ZX-T participated in the championship and became the first car to defeat the Porsche 962 which had previously dominated IMSA’s premiere GTP category. Eventually, Nissan won the constructor’s championship in the years 1989 and 1990, during which they were replaced by the newer NPT-90 model.

The GTP ZX-Turbo took its name from a mutual production with the Nissan 300 ZX engine and the turbocharged VG30ET V6. Though the engine block was similar, the engine of the GTP ZX-Turbo was modified to deal with highly stressful conditions of racing.

Development

In 1984, Electramotive Engineering was named as Nissan Motor’s official North American racing development arm which was also an effort to establish the name Nissan in the United States following the use of the name Datsun. The IMSA GT Championship appeared as a platform for the Nissan motors so that they could showcase their technology, just as they had done at the 24 Hours of Le Mans beginning in 1983. The task assigned to Electramotive Engineering was to maintain, modify and to race the cars. Nissan would bring the VG30ET motors and Electramotive would assist by modifying the engine to meet the race requirements. Lola Cars International became the choice of Nissan and Electramotive to construct a specified chassis to meet their requirements.

The first three chassis developed in early 1985 were known as Lola T810. This initial year of competition was used for the development of the new car in preparation for 1986. Electramotive was assigned the task of modifying T810’s elements in a way which would suite the smaller tracks and shorter sprint races used by IMSA GT. This lead to the cars being renamed as GTP ZX-Turbo’s as their design was evolved beyond the initial T810.

Three more T810 chassis were constructed by Lola and adapted by Electramotive by the end of the year 1987. Some of these cars actually had a similar look to a previous design developed by Lola, i.e. the T710 which was more commonly known as Chevrolet Corvette GTP. The modifications, however, extended to such a point that Electramotive began to manufacture their own chassis to replace the older cars in use and did not rely on Lola for the cockpit tubs anymore. By the year 1988, 5 Electramotive-built tubs were completed. Gradually, Electramotive Engineering became Nissan Performance Technology Inc. (NPTI) by the year 1990 which finally brought a retirement of the GTP ZX-Turbo’s once the new NPT-90s were completed around halfway through the racing season.

Other series

One of the first three Lola T810s built was to be sold to the Le Mans Company in Japan so that it may be used in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship. It made a late debut in the 1985 season, only to suffer mechanical failures before finishing eighth at the end of the season at the 1000km of Fuji. The car continued having serious problems in the next season as well, despite the tuning it received, again finishing at the 1000 km of Fuji. However, the plus point this time was that the car grabbed the sixth position, though it was 13 laps behind the winning car Porsche 962. The car was retired immediately as the team moved on to a Porsche.

As the GTP ZX-turbo retired in 1990, one of the previously developed chassis was transported to Europe where it took part in the Interserie championship in 1991 and despite being quick and swift; the car was not able enough to complete the races. This was the reason that the GTP ZX-Turbo was quickly abandoned without any second thought.

Marketing

The GTP ZX-Turbo made a debut at such a time when Nissan was phasing out the Datsun brand in the United States and therefore, the GTP ZX-Turbo was introduced as a promotion of Nissan’s ability to develop advanced sports cars. This led to the GTP ZX-Turbos being used in television and print advertisements for the whole Nissan brand, but also specifically the 300ZX with which it shared its engine. The media was all hype on the GTP ZX-Turbos at that time.

The GTP ZX-Turbos were also featured as part of a Miami Vice episode revolving around the IMSA GT Miami Grand Prix, although this was primarily using footage of the race itself.

A Miami Vice episode revolving around the IMSA GT Miami Grand Prix also featured the GTP ZX-Turbos, although the footage of the race itself was primarily used to feature the GTP ZX-Turbos.

Leave A Response »