Firstly, Nismo is an abbreviation taken from NISsan MOtorsport. Mind Blown, I know. Nismo was founded in 1984 after Nissan decided that it wanted to merge its two motorsport divisions, Oppama Works and Õmori Works. The new found aim of the merged companies was to specialise is sportscar racing and also provide support for teams racing in the Japanese domestic F3 series.
Nismo's first creation was the Saurus, which was designed purely for track use. It was produced in 1987 and featured a 2.0L turbocharged motor, developed totally by Nismo.
Not the best looking machine ever made..
R33 Nismo (for the road):
The groundbreaking GT-R was the next road going product from Nismo. After they developed the track built R32 GT-R for racing, 500 Evolution models were then produced for the roads.
This special edition R33 was released in 1997. The car developed 400bhp and 347 ft lb of torque, which allowed a top speed of over 186mph, and enabled it to reach 0 - 60mph in 4.0 seconds. The engine was crammed with upgrades, such as; forged piston, upgraded rods, polished ports, high lift camshafts and most importantly, higher output turbos and so much more. (Check out my previous article for more info)
Only thirty 270Rs were ever built and they were only produced in 1994. The 270 stands for the amount of bhp produced by the limited run car. They shared the same chassis as the S14 but also featured a host of upgrades. For example, a vented hood with a front-mounted intercooler, Nismo 'Edge' Aero kit, heavy duty clutch, 2-way limited slip differential, NISMO logo front and rear seats as well as other upgrades.
Nismo has since become involved in a plethora of Nissan models. For example, the GT-R Nismo, the Nissan 370z, all the way to the Nissan leaf!
This is perhaps where we can find the majority of Nismo's achievements. Their first noted involvement of motorsports was in the 1960's when Nismo competed in the Japanese Grand Prix sportscar series.
In 1979 Nismo then joined the ISMA GT Championships where they competed in the GT classes with the 240SX, 280ZX and 300ZX. In the 1980s and 1990s, Nissan raced in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans. The ran sports prototypes such as the R88C, R89C, R90C and R391. They won the 1990, 1991 and 1992 JSPC titles, but they never won at Le Mans.
Nismo's race history continued to grow and there is almost too much to talk about. Most notable moments include the 1990s, where Nissan competed in Supertouring championships around the world with the Nissan Primera. They went on to win the 1999 British Touring Car Championship with Laurent Aiello.
Nissan announced in June 2014, that Nismo will enter the LMP1 category to fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship against Audi, Toyota and Porsche. However Nismo didn't perform and on 22 December 2015, Nissan announced that it was closing the program altogether.
Nismo currently participate in the Super GT as a team, where they have won multiple GT500 championships.
So Nismo has proved itself as a company. They are the company from a small island that go against the grain and produce european supercar killers that are available at a fraction of the price. They show incredible performance on and off the track and JDM fans owe them so much. It was recently announced their "Nismo Heritage" scheme, where nissan will be producing parts for old Nismo models in order to keep them healthy. (Check out Michael Fernie's full article on this subject). We hope they keep developing these machines as we just can't get enough of them!