Forget About the GT-R Nismo, This Is the Ultimate Nissan Supercar

1991 Nissan R91CP 10 photos
Photo: 19Bozzy92/YouTube
1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP1991 Nissan R91CP
Still available as of 2023, the Nissan GT-R R35 is the company's fastest and most powerful production car. And to many enthusiasts, the GT-R Nismo is the ultimate Nissan. To me, however, no Nissan is more spectacular than the R series race cars that the Japanese company developed starting in late 1980s.
Nissan may not be as big as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and even Toyota when it comes to prototype racing, but the brand jumped on the high-speed bandwagon back in the 1980s. It all started when it purchased five March 86G chassis in 1986 and created the Nissan R86V. In 1988, Nissan teamed up with Lola to create the R88C. This led to the creation of the slightly more famous and successful R89C the following year.

Developed for both the World Sports Car Championship and the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, the R89C hit race tracks the world over with a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V8 engine rated at a whopping 950 horsepower. Suffering from reliability issues, it wasn't exactly successful but Nissan returned with an improved version for the 1990 season. The R90CK scored four podiums in the World Sportscar Championship, placing Nissan third in the teams' standings.

At the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nissan finished fifth overall while an R90CK driven by Mark Blundell achieved the highest speed on the Mulsanne Straight following the installation of chicanes. The British driver hit 226.9 mph (366 kph).

Nissan fielded a different version called the R90CP in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, winning the series ahead of Porsche and Toyota. The Japanese outfit dominated the series again in 1991 and 1992 with upgraded versions of the same car.

Nissan decided to retire from the World Sportscar Championship after the 1990 season but used R90CK and R91CP cars to compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona in the early 1990s. Raced under an invitational class for Group C cars, the R90CK finished first in its category and second place overall in 1991. The company returned in 1992 and won the endurance race by nine laps with an R91CP.

The race car made its final appearance in 1993 at the 1000 km of Suzuka. The R91CK took an easy 1-2 victory in the then-new All Japan GT Championship before it went into the history books as one of Nissan's most successful prototypes.

Granted, the R series never got a road-legal version so a comparison to the GT-R is a bit silly, but this race car is proof that Nissan can build outstanding machines when it wants to. The Le Mans-spec Nissan GT-R LM Nismo is yet another one, but that's a different story for another time.

Meanwhile, check out this R91CP stretching its wheels at Mugello Circuit. Recently restored and painted in Nissan's iconic blue-white-red livery, the R91CP looks and sounds downright fantastic.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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