Nissan NPT 90

1990 Nissan NPT-90 – One of the Fastest GTP Cars Ever Created to be Auctioned

In the 1980s the team at Electramotive and Don Devendorf were renowned for the preparation of racing and road-going Nissans. So it was only fitting that when Nissan decided to move into the GTP category, Devendorf and his team were tasked to lead the project. Devendorf, along with Yoshi Suzuka and Wes Moss created the GTP-ZX Turbo with a Lola chassis. Through the real-world racing experience of the model, this forerunner to the Nissan NPT-90, went through a lot of upgrades, enhancements, and redesign from 1984 to 1990.

In the latter part of the 1988 season, Geoff Brabham became the GTP driver champion and kept his winning streak using Nissan GTP cars for the next three years. 

1990 Nissan NPT-90 set for Auction

History of the Nissan NPT- 90

In 1989, after the IMSA Championship win using the GTP-ZX Turbo, Nissan decided to make the next generation Nissan GTP car. At the time, Electramotive was starting to run low in the financing department and needed to shore up funding to continue development on the cars. Nissan Japan signed a deal with the team, renaming them the Nissan Performance Technology Incorporated (NPTI).

By 1990, the team moved into a brand-new facility in Vista, California. The new space was equipped with a full engine room, composite shop, wind tunnel, and an on-site engineering and fabrication facility. 

racing the 1990 Nissan NPT-90
Geoff Brabham’s Nissan NPT-90 at the 1990 Grand Prix of Greater San Diego. Source: By Stuart Seeger

The grit and determination of the team brought about one of the fastest GTP cars ever created; the NPT-90. Although the cars were developed by NPTI, Nissan used the cars to run under the GTP ZX-Turbo moniker so they can use the new model’s success to market their 300ZX road cars. Trevor Harris, a well-known racing designer, was the chief designer and trackside engineer for the NPT-90 GTP car that was used by Geoff Brabham for four years.  

Nissan GTO ZX- T driving at Goodwood. Source: Goodwood Road & Racing, YouTube.

The NPT-90, chassis #90-01, was the first of the six NPT-90 chassis that were built. It made its debut in the Topeka 300km Camel Grand Prix at Heartland Park, with Bob Earl and Derek Daly behind the wheel. In its debut season, #90-01 was able to grab three race wins at Sears Point, Mid-Ohio, and Road America with Brabham as the driver. Brabham would then claim the GTP Driver’s Championship with both the GTP-ZX Turbo and the NPT-90. Nissan would clinch the 1990 Manufacturer’s Championship. 

In 1991, the success of the 90-01 would continue as it claimed four top-five finishes, with two second-place finishes at the Road America and Watkins Glen. They would also secure a third-place finish at Mid-Ohio. In the Driver’s Championship, Brabham and Chip Robinson finished first and second, respectively, both racing for NPTI. Nissan claimed another Manufacturer’s Championship win for this year too.

front of 1990 Nissan NPT-90
1990 Nissan NPT-90
side of 1990 Nissan NPT-90
back of 1990 Nissan NPT-90

Although #90-01 was originally scheduled for retirement and the end of the 1991 season, the crash of two of its sister cars during the first half of the 1992 season brought its retirement to a halt. The team brought it out for racing after it received an up-to-date mechanical upgrade and added 1992 spec bodywork. With Brabham behind the wheel, the NPT-90 achieved five podium finishes, providing Nissan another Manufacturer’s Championship. The #90-01 ran its final race on October 11th, 1992 at the 2 Hour Del Mar GTP race, where it finished in 2nd place. In its 22-race career, the #90-01 captured three victories and fifteen podium finishes. 

The Nissan GTP platform showed its superiority and reliability compared to its competitors. With the combination of high downforce, extraordinary power, reliability, and excellent handling dynamic, the NPT-90 was the perfect package in the form of a GTP race car. The example up for auction is in very original condition in its 1992 race configuration. It has the most current version of the NPT-90 program specifications. 

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Nissan dominated IMSA racing with the NPT-90 as the ultimate model of the Japanese manufacturer’s GTP cars. The combination of the twin turbo-charged delivery and the high downforce body design makes the Nissan NPT-90 one of the fastest and most powerful racing cars that were ever made. Chassis #90-01 is a great chance to own an iconic figure of motorsports history. 

Exterior of the 1990 Nissan NPT-90

Since it evolved every year, the NPT-90 has the latest body work that it had when it raced in 1992. It was equipped with updated aerodynamic capability, a sleek front clip, and higher downforce rear bodywork.

back of Nissan NPT-90
side of Nissan
Front of Npt-90

The #90-01 is finished in the historical red, blue, and white Nissan livery. The paint and body show minimal clues of track use, with a few blemishes on the front clip. Other notable signs of wear on the bodywork are seen at the quick mount and latch points. 

Interior 

There were only three NPT-90 that never sustained crash damage during its career, and the #90-01 was one of them. The original tub is still in great structural condition and it is original to its 1990 build.  

cockpit of NPT-90
interior of NPT-90
switches

Engine and Drivetrain 

The #90-01 is equipped with a 3-liter twin-turbo V6 matched with a Hewland 5-speed transaxle, a more developed version of the engine that was used on the 300ZX Turbo. Since the #90-01 was stored for almost seven years, a mechanical inspection will be needed before the car can be recommissioned for track use.  

engine
engine of 1990 Nissan NPT-90
Nissan sign

Racing History of Chassis #90-01

DateEventDriver/s & Result
May 6th, 1990Topeka 300 KilometersBob Earl/Derek Daly – 8th
May 28th, 1990Lime Rock 150 LapsDerek Daly – 24th (DNF) 
June 3rd, 1990Mid-Ohio 500 KilometersGeoff Brabham/Derek Daly – 1st 
July 15th, 1990Sears Point 300 KilometersGeoff Brabham – 1st 
July 29th, 1990Portland 300 KilometersGeoff Brabham – 15th
August 19th, 1990Road America 500 KilometersGeoff Brabham – 1st 
September 2nd, 1990San Antonio 2 HoursGeoff Brabham – 3rd
March 3rd, 19912 Hour West Palm BeachGeoff Brabham – 3rd 
June 2nd, 1991Mid-Ohio 300 KilometersGeoff Brabham – 5th 
June 16th, 19912 Hour New OrleansGeoff Brabham – 2nd
June 30th, 1991300 Kilometer Laguna Seca Geoff Brabham – 2nd 
July 28th, 1991300 Kilometer PortlandGeoff Brabham – 2nd
August 25th, 1991Road America 300 KilometersChip Robinson – 2nd
October 13th, 19912 Hour Del MarGeoff Brabham – 3rd
May 25th, 19922 Hour Lime RockGeoff Brabham/Chip Robinson – 2nd
May 31st, 1992Mid-Ohio 2 HoursGeoff Brabham – 3rd 
June 14th, 19921 Hour 45 Minutes New OrleansGeoff Brabham – 2nd
June 28th, 1992 IMSA GTP Watkins GlenGeoff Brabham – 17th (DNF)
July 19th, 1992Laguna Seca 2 HoursGeoff Brabham – 19th (DNF) 
July 26th, 1992 Portland 2 Hours –Geoff Brabham – 6th 
October 4th, 19922 Hour Phoenix Geoff Brabham – 3rd 
October 11th, 19922 Hour Del MarGeoff Brabham – 2nd 

The 1990 Nissan NPT-90 is currently listed on an online auction with Stratas Auctions with the end date being October 16th. More details of this car may be found at Stratas Auctions.

[Source: Stratas Auctions]