Originally, the Nismo arm of Nissan had the aim of excelling in the highest levels of motorsports, making sure Nissan wasn’t left out. Naturally, a place where Nismo turned its sights was the 24 Hours of LeMans. Never able to challenge the stalwarts of the LeMans series, Nismo turned elsewhere, including a host of touring car and rally races in Japan.
Currently, Nismo participates in the Super GT Championship and supplies teams in other series running Nissan cars, including V8 Supercars and the FIA World Endurance Championship. Nismo is even plotting a return to the LMP-1 class of LeMans next year, with the aim of challenging the likes of Porsche, Toyota, and Audi. Their hybrid ZEOD RC racecar competed in the experimental class at LeMans last year. It was forced out of the race due to technical issues, but achieved the milestones of completing a full lap under electric power and achieving a top speed of 186 miles per hour.
Not too long after the Nismo division’s debut in motorsports, they turned their hand to tuning road cars. They’ve tested their luck with many of Nissan’s models, including the 370Z, the Juke, the Note, and the European variant of the GT-R. Nismo also runs the GT Academy in the US, in an effort to spool performance enthusiasm in Nissans. Nissan has confirmed that they are working on expanding the Nismo division into other areas, but they haven’t released any specifics.
Nissan recently put out this promotional video, taking a look back at the 30 year history of the Nismo division.