Page 1 of 2 Next >> Run out of El Segundo, California by Don Devendorf's Electramotive, Nissan's GTP program was by far the most successful sports car effort of the Japanese manufacturer during the late 1980s. The cars used consisted of a chassis built to specification by Lola, a Nissan supplied V6 engine and a body developed in-house. Following back-to-back IMSA Championship wins in 1988 and 1989, Nissan bought out Electramotive and retitled the company 'Nissan Performance Technology Inc.' or 'NPTI' from 1990. The first fruit of this reorganisation was an all-new car introduced halfway through the year.
The design team was led by Yoshi Suzuka, who for the first time could create an aerodynamics package without having to work around an existing chassis. This was vital as the GTP cars relied heavily on ground-effect aero for their performance. Accordingly, Suzuka's design featured massive tunnels that ran on either side of the cockpit and exited behind the rear suspension. Additional downforce at the front was generated by small diffusers mounted ahead of the front wheels. The rear end featured a full-width rear wing, which served predominantly for trimming the balance.
Trevor Harris then filled the space left by Suzuka with a bespoke chassis. This was constructed from a honeycomb structure sandwiched by aluminium sheets. In choosing the gauge of the material used, Travis had to consider both maintaining the high level of rigidity required to make the ground-effect aerodynamics work, while also keeping the weight down to a minimum. To clean up the airflow into the tunnel, the front springs were mounted high in the monocoque and were actuated by rockers. Other than the location of the springs, the double wishbone suspension was conventional on both ends.
The NPT-90 was fitted with a further development of the twin turbo V6 previously used. It initially displaced just under three litre and featured a single overhead camshaft. The engine was an area of constant development with four-valve heads quickly being readied. A smaller displacement version was also constructed, which allowed the car to run at a lower minimum weight. In its original guise, the NPT-90 featured turbo inlets in the flanks just behind the door, while later versions sported prominent snorkels. The intercoolers were fed from intakes in the nose with the ducts running through the chassis. Page 1 of 2 Next >>