Nissan R390 GT1 Try this link https://photos.app.goo.gl/b221iy8Mebb3SsfY8
In 1995 Nissan decided to enter Le Mans with an entirely newly designed car. Nissan connected with TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) from England, the same team that designed and successfully raced the Jaguar XJR-9 winning Le Mans cars. TWR also produced the Jaguar XJR-15 which was designed primarily as a street car. In fact, many of the chassis components were actually pilfered from the Jaguar chassis parts of this car and if you study the body shape you can clearly see the lineage. The new race car was completed and ready for the 1997 Le Mans race. Nissan sent three cars over to France to compete all with the distinctive Black and Red livery.
All three cars performed great in pre-race qualifying but cars failed scrutineering at the 1997 event, so they had to be modified in order to be allowed to race. The necessary modifications damaged the cooling air flow around the transmissions so during the actual race two of the three cars began to struggle with gearbox problems and, around halfway through the race, two of the three cars (#21 & #22) finally succumbed to mechanical failure and were withdrawn. The third R390 was able to survive the rest of the race (albeit with two complete gearbox changes along the way) finishing 12th overall and 5th in class, although many laps down from the race winners.
My model of this car.
I built this car back when the Tamiya kit first came out, I guess about 10 or more years ago. This is basically a straight from the box build except I opened up the front clip section adding carbon fiber detail. The engine bay has relatively accurate plumbing added too.
After this rather tepid showing in 1997, Nissan was back for 1998 with basically the same car design, but this time with four cars and all new liveries of various shades of blue and white checkerboard and a striking green and silver version. The cars were slightly upgraded, with more downforce able to be generated by a longer rear tail, a new rear diffuser, and on racing versions, a new rear wing placement for less drag. In 1998 all four cars were able to finish the race. With this new design, Nissan was able to finish 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 10th overall, being beaten only by the Porsche 911 GT1. Over the two years of the program, a total of eight R390 GT1 race chassis were built.
My model of this car.
This car required a fairly complex modification to the lower side air venting and the rear clip section in order to replicate the new extended rear design. The decals are aftermarket from Renaissance. The engine is as the kit represented it with the major plumbing added.
In order for Nissan to race in the GT class at Le Mans, a homologated road version was required to be built. Therefore, the R390 was built originally as road car, then a racing version of the car was developed afterwards. Only one R390 road car was ever built and is stored at Nissan's Zama facility in Japan. This car was originally painted red, with a red interior and it had the same cooling vents and shorter rear end of the 1997 car. When the new design of the 1998 car was complete, this red car was converted into the blue car that is presented here with the longer tail and still no rear wing, but oddly, at least to me, is that they chose to leave the two openings for the rear wing struts in the rear body work.
The one and only R390 road car was produced as a prototype for the development of the race-cars and was never intended for sale, although Nissan did offer to build further versions at a value of $1 million each, and as expected, found no takers. Just looking at how one would have to twist themselves into a pretzel just to enter the vehicle is reason enough to cause a buyer to shy away from one. The lone R390 GT1 is currently stored at Nismo's Zama facility in their Japanese warehouse, along with the #32 R390 GT1 race car from 1998.
My model of this car.
I could have built the red, early version, of this car without much headache because the body follows the Tamiya kit almost perfectly. Just a few changes and no rear wing and a coat of red paint and it is done. Even the wheels were the same, but I chose to do the newer blue version, since that is the configuration of the car today. This also started with the Tamiya 1997 R390 GT1 kit, but then it was substantially modified.
The car is painted Tamiya Mica Blue topped with clear. The road lights at the bottom of the front clip were removed. The three slots above the front wheel wells were filled in. Two NACA air inlets were added to the front “hood” area. The lower side air intakes were completely changed to reflect the new design. The one windshield wiper was changed to two. The rearview mirrors were changed up and one was added to the interior. The doors were opened and hinged with all new scratch built inner door sides. In some reference material the car had the name “NISSAN” at the top of the front windshield, so I added it on the model, also, on the real car, the brake calipers are gunmetal, but I took some artistic license and made them red on the model, just because I wanted some contrast to the body color. The wheels are close to the actual cars wheels, but not exact since I was unable to find the same wheel in model form. Unlike the real car in the pictures I found, I added red Yokohama tire decals to the car since I only had 4 remaining and thought that red Japanese tire logos on a Japanese car would work. Two new “street style” seats were added to replace the single racecar seat. The interior was painted with Tamiya Flat Black and Dull Red (intended for the hull of warships). A rear window was opened up in the rear bulkhead. The two NACA air scoops alongside the rear window on the race car are not present on the road car version, so I filled them in. The double fuel intake behind the door on the right side was changed to a single one. The engine required some modification as the air plenums of the race car were replaced with a carbon fiber unit more appropriate for the de-tuned street engine. The exhaust was now routed to the rear to exit at the extreme outer edges of the rear quarter panels with a muffler added rather than just before the rear wheels. Substantial sound and heat “insulation paddings” were added to the engine bay and all around the rear wheel openings (I used that old standby, Duct Tape for this). The area behind the wheels required the most work. The rear was extended as it is on the real car. A new “duck tail” rear spoiler was built and added. The entire rear fascia was rebuilt with the new shape, angle, lights and openings with screens and license plate. I have to admit, this rear clip caused me huge problems forcing me to modify it countless times until I felt I had the proper proportions and look of it. Seriously, it was a real bear to get it to this point so I am glad it is finished.
I am happy with the overall result and I am pleased to have all three versions of the evolution of the R390 side by side on my shelf.