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1990 Nissan NPT 90 GTP

  • Powered by a three-litre twin-turbocharged V6 producing in excess of 950HP
  • The fastest and most powerful of the legendary IMSA GTP prototype racing cars
  • The final Nissan model to win the IMSA GTP Championship
  • Presented in the fastest and most aerodynamically efficient ‘high-downforce’ configuration
  • Highly eligible for historic Group C and IMSA GTP events both in Europe and America
  • Sold
  • Chassis no. 90-08
  • Engine no. 4035

 

The Nissan NTP-90 GTP

Group C racing and its American equivalent IMSA GTP were loosely defined formulas of motorsport known for encouraging designers and engineers to push the technological envelope further than it had ever been pushed before. The Nissan NTP-90 GTP is a car which perfectly embodies that ‘free-radical’ spirit.

The successor to the 1989 IMSA title-winning GTP ZX Turbo, the NPT-90 was designed and developed by Trevor Harris and Nissan Performance Technology Incorporated (NPTI) – a full Works-supported outfit based in California and, at its zenith, comprising a 200-strong workforce.

The Japanese marque’s prototype racers had formerly been designed and built by Don Devendorf’s Electramotive Incorporated, though Nissan assumed control at the end of the 1989 season and opted to exercise its muscle – and chequebook – in developing the new NPT-90.

In John Starkey’s definitive book on Nissan’s GTP and Group C racing cars, it’s reported that NPTI spent 40 million US dollars in 1990 alone, establishing a magnificent new facility in Vista and designing, developing, building and running its NPT-90s. The sum only becomes a little mind-boggling when you appreciate virtually all the work was carried out in-house, including aerodynamic testing in NPTI’s very own wind tunnel and composite fabrication in a dedicated workshop.

Unsurprisingly or not, the effort and investment paid off. In the capable hands of Geoff Brabham, Bob Earl, Chip Robinson and Derek Daly, Nissan dominated the 1990 IMSA GTP Championship, winning both the drivers’ and the manufacturers’ gongs. And the NPT-90s repeated the feat the following year. Simply put, they were untouchable!

There are myriad astonishing figures associated with Nissan’s final IMSA GTP prototype, but one really sticks in the mind and that’s the 950HP produced by the three-litre twin-turbocharged four-valve V6 engine.

Electramotive was a master in the then-dark art of electronic engine mapping and data logging. And with this expertise, Nissan’s mighty V6 engine – in the case of this car with its revised four-valve heads – was able to run reliably and realise its extraordinary potential.

When NPTI wound down its activities at the end of the 1992 IMSA season, the remaining Works GTP prototypes, unused chassis and parts were sold to Louis Buffalo of Matrix Motors, who assembled and sold a number of cars. The Nissan NPT-90 GTP we’re offering for sale, chassis 90/08, is the very first of those cars.

Comprising an original Works chassis, the more powerful and reliable four-valve engine, a Hewland five-speed gearbox and the fastest and most aerodynamically efficient ‘high-downforce’ bodywork, this NPT-90 has also been fitted with MOTEC engine management, which is a more straightforward system when it comes to using the car today.

Speaking of which, there is a raft of exciting events for which chassis 90/08 is eligible, both in Europe and across the pond in the United States. Peter Auto’s fiercely popular Group C Racing grid, which of course encompasses the Le Mans Classic, would be a fantastic stage on which to exhibit this Nissan. And its most recent appearance, incidentally, came at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it tore up the world-famous hill-climb.

Alternatively, the Masters Endurance Legends USA series in America, the jewels of which are the Classic Daytona 24 Hours and the Classic Sebring 12 Hours, would welcome this prototype. Finally, this NPT-90 is eligible for the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion, which is held at Laguna Seca in California during the world-famous Monterey Car Week.

There can be few experiences in life as exhilarating, focus-inducing and fast as pushing as hard as you dare in a turbocharged nigh-on 1,000HP ‘big-aero’ IMSA GTP prototype. The Nissan NPT-90 was the car to beat in the fiercely competitive American endurance series in 1990 and 1991 and is thus among the quickest and most powerful racing cars ever developed. Chassis 90/08 is ready to continue Nissan’s winning legacy in the wildly popular historic racing world.

 

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