In 1990, the Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Company Ltd introduced two Group C racing cars to race in World Sportscar Championship (WSC) based in Europe and the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship (JSPC). Both the cars used the basic R90C platform and continued to take part in championships until 1993 when Nissan opted to discontinue sports car racing. However, Nissan made a comeback in sports car racing once again in 1997. Nissan R90C during its entire run won three Japan Sports Prototype Championship (JSPC) titles along with several other titles.
The R90C had many features common with its predecessor, the R89C, particularly the mechanical ones. Both the R90C and the R89C were based on similar chassis construction and shared similar mechanical layout. Following the successful run of the Nissan VRH35Z 3.5-L twin-turbo V8 engine in the R89C, Nissan opted to use the same in the R90C as well. Despite some mechanical similarities, both the vehicles were essentially all-new constructions. Lola Cars International was the chassis builder and designated the R90C as T90/10 and the R89C as T89/10.
Compared to R89C, Nissan sensed the R90C as a compromise. Up till that time, Nissan used their R89Cs in both events including: the World Sportscar Championship and All Japan Sports Prototype Championship. Both championships offered different styles of racing tracks, i.e. the European tracks offered higher top speed and endurance, whereas the Japanese events offered small, tighter tracks.
These distinctive natures of racing tracks forced Nissan to built two different vehicles. The basic chassis was provided by Lola Cara International, while the rest of work was done by the Nissan Motorsports Europe. The idea was to build a car with low downforce and high speed for the World Sportscar Championship (WSC). However, R90CP was also assembled at Nismo’s headquarters, Japan which was built with an intention of high downforce and most appropriate for All Japan Sports Prototype Championship (JSPC).
The R90CK was regarded as a progression of the R89C’s design, as the car took many of its stylistic features from the previous R89C. The low front end of the car featured two deep channels on each side of a slanted nose heading to radiator inlets on the sides of the cockpit. There were also present small slated inlets on the leading edge of the vehicle supporting brake cooling ducts moderately. Although, the R90CK featured a longer raked windshield than the R89C, still the surrounding area of cockpit as well as the sides of both the vehicles was alike. To achieve better downforce, the rear wing was positioned high on exposed struts.
The R90CP, where P refers to the home of Nismo, was built as a low downforce vehicle. It had a high nose on front end featuring larger ducts on the inside of the fender rather than narrow channels. The fenders were also revised featuring vertical headlights rather than horizontally mounted as seen in R89C and R90CK. Although, both R90CK and R90CP had identical cockpit, the sides of the bodywork were modified, particularly the rear-view mirror was merged into the bodywork rather than those small exposed mirrors on the side of windshield. The R90CP also featured a turbo inlet on the front edge of the fender rather than placed on the top of the engine cover.