copyright Ashley Page, Martin Spetz, and Michael
Text copyright Michael J. Fuller
|While it seems contrary to history, if not intuition, the realities were that the early days of the Electramotive Nissan IMSA GTP
program were somewhat lean from a budgetary standpoint. But consider
that Electramotive would debut the Lola-designed Lola-Nissan 810 in
wouldn't design a completely new car until 1990, following the transition from Electramotive to Nissan Performance
But between 1985 and 1990 Electramotive worked from strengths within the organization and developed some of the better examples of improvisational engineering (perhaps only exceeded by the Porsche 962 customers) as they developed the Nissan-Lola 810 into the Nissan GTP ZX-T.
The Nissan GTP ZX-T had a protracted debut which started at Portland in 1986 and carried on through until all the components finally came together for the start of the 1988 season. The developments came in three majors steps; the introduction of the Yoshi Suzuka developed bodywork at Portland in 1986, the replacement of the Weismann gearbox and Lola bellhousing at the start of the 1987 season, and the Trevor Harris re-designed monocoque for the 1988 season. One also can't neglect to mention the switch off of Bridgestone onto Goodyear rubber.
So by 1988 roughly 95% of the car was Electramotive designed and manufactured (the Lola uprights carried over). And 1988’s results were a reflection of all the methodical hard work the team had put in: 9 wins, 8 poles, 10 fastest laps, and the IMSA GTP Driver’s Championship for Brabham (they just missed out on the Manufacturer’s Championship by 1 point) even having skipped Daytona and Sebring. Electramotive’s virtual ground-up redesign of the Lola 810 paid tremendous dividends for Suzuka and the team, “In ’88 we won 8 races in a row (with chassis #8801, nicknamed "Elvis" because it was the king, responsible for all 8), only to have a drive shaft fail and costs us a 9th consecutive win.”
1989’s statistics were even better with 10 wins (including Sebring), 9 poles, and 7 fastest laps, and this time both the Driver’s and Manufacturer’s Championships, Nissan’s first.
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