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Group C: The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age of Endurance Racing: Nissan, Part 2

Submitted by on May 5, 2021

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

In this second part of our look at Nissan’s campaign in the world of  Group C sportscar racing, we continue with the Nissan R90C from 1990. Nissan entered this car for competition in both the World Sportscar Championship and the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship.

Nissan continued the use of the R89C chassis. For the R90C, most of the construction was the same. Although Nissan used a British Lola chassis (T90/10), 70% of the parts were made by both Nissan and NISMO. NISMO is the in-house tuning, motorsports and performance subsidiary of the Nissan Motor Company.

For power, Nissan used the twin-turbo 3.496 cc VRH35Z engine, in fact a V8 DOHC with 800 hp engine power that was already used in the earlier R89C.

The Nissan R90C (chassis R90C/5) entered for Group C Racing at the inaugural Spa Classic back in 2011.

Nissan Performance Technology Incorporated, abbreviated NPTI, developed the Nissan NPT-90 back in 1990 for Nissan Motors. Instead of using of Lola chassis, Nissan’s North American motorsports division developed a brand new car. Despite using a new car, Nissan chose to use the 3.0 liter turbocharged VG30 V6-engine.

Nissan entered the NPT-90 for the 12 Hours of Sebring resulting in a 1-2 finish. The NPT-90 was followed by the upgraded NPT-91 and NPT-91A and NPT-91D variants.

Nissan NPT-90 (chassis 90-10) entered for Group C Racing during the Spa Classic back in 2012.

As Nissan decided to compete in both the World Sportscar Championship and the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, two different cars were developed (R90CK and R90CP).

The R90CK was made by NISMO Europe. Compared to the R90C, the R90CK had a different cowl and rear spoiler and was entered by Nissan for competition in the 1990 World Sportscar Championship and the North American IMSA GT Championship. Ray Mallock Limited conducted the design and development of the R90CK and appeared at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1990 and 1991.

This Nissan R90CK (chassis R90C/7) appeared at the Spa Classic back in 2015 for Group C Racing.

Nissan’s R90CP was built in Japan and differed from the R90CK in having a low downforce design. Nissan equipped the car with redesigned fenders, as the headlights were placed vertically instead of the horizontal position used for the R90CK. The low downforce design also used a much lower placed rear wing. The rear wheel fender bodywork was extended to connect with the rear wing endplates.

Although Nissan withdrew as a factory team from the World Sportscar Championship in 1991, NISMO upgraded the R90CP into the R91 and R92, although based on older chassis.

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