Racing in the Past: Nissan R85/R86V

10 Jan

In the 80’s, Nissan took a more global approach to their racing efforts. They established NISMO in 1984, to focus their R&D efforts on building brand awareness through motorsports. By 1986, they were already travelling to LeMans, with a March chassis and VG30 twin turbo powerplant and chasing down Porsche. A very steep climb in very short order!

The R85V was the first car NISMO brought to the world competition stage. The car featured a chassis developed by March. However, the original versions of the car (raced in ’83 and ’84) actually featured a turbocharged 4 cylinder. In typical motorsport marketing fashion, Nissan ran these under the “Silvia” nameplate, to help bring attention to their newly redesigned sporty coupe.

The powerplant in the R85/R86 versions put down over 1000hp. These engines were developed by Electramotive in California, and were similar in spec to those used in the GTP program here in the states. While the primary R86 chassis car failed to finish LeMans, the R85 car did, coming in 16th. LeMans is challenging enough even for a seasoned team. For a new setup to come out, and not only finish, but finish 16th was a major accomplishment – and the world took notice.

NISMO continued to develop the car, using a variety of powerplants. For the ’88 LeMans event, the engine was a twin turbo V8. While power was down compared to the previous V6’s, they were able to keep the revs lower, and run much lower boost, which improved reliability. While this powerplant failed to finish their debut event the previous year, in 1988, NISMO finished 14th overall. This same spec car was raced at various long distance events, including Suzuka and Fuji. By 1989, NISMO began using a 3.5 liter V6 version, which finished 4th overall at Suzuka


One Response to “Racing in the Past: Nissan R85/R86V”

  1. Chris JDM February 21, 2013 at 7:15 AM #

    Interesting read, in Australia Nismo has got a great history. Won the Bathurst convingly our most famous race and got banned. Now after a decade it’s back with a V8 supercar engine I believe from America based on the Ultima model.

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