One of the most prestigious and grueling racing events held in the world is the "Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance Race". It has brought excitement and pleasure to motorsports enthusiasts worldwide, ever since it was first held in 1923. In 1997 Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Entered their latest Nissan R390 GT1 which was developed to vie for this renowned racing event.
The R390 GT1 took its name from a car, R380, that excited Japanese motor sports enthusiasts over thirty years ago. Jointly developed by Nissan and TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing), the R390 GT1 is the state of the art racing expertise of them. Aerodynamically refined low and sleek body styling is suggestive of Nissan's highly competitive Gr. C machines raced during the 1980's. The 3.5 liter V8 engine, producing an awesome 600 horsepower output, is bolted directly to the carbon composite monocoque and works as a load-carrying element. The tremendous power is delivered to the rear wheels via a transversely mounted, six speed transmission. The four wheel double wishbone suspension system is connected to the horizontally mounted shock absorbers via pushrods and bell cranks to provide optimum road handling performance.
Three R390 GT1's were entered in to the 1997 Le Mans event and, among them, the car No. 21 achieved a pole position in the pre-qualifying race. Although the overall result was rather discouraging, the R390's outstanding performance, displayed during the early stage of the race, was something to behold and promising for the year to come.