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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Racing History of Chassis #90-01
|Date||Event||Driver/s & Result|
|May 6th, 1990||Topeka 300 Kilometers||Bob Earl/Derek Daly – 8th|
|May 28th, 1990||Lime Rock 150 Laps||Derek Daly – 24th (DNF)|
|June 3rd, 1990||Mid-Ohio 500 Kilometers||Geoff Brabham/Derek Daly – 1st|
|July 15th, 1990||Sears Point 300 Kilometers||Geoff Brabham – 1st|
|July 29th, 1990||Portland 300 Kilometers||Geoff Brabham – 15th|
|August 19th, 1990||Road America 500 Kilometers||Geoff Brabham – 1st|
|September 2nd, 1990||San Antonio 2 Hours||Geoff Brabham – 3rd|
|March 3rd, 1991||2 Hour West Palm Beach||Geoff Brabham – 3rd|
|June 2nd, 1991||Mid-Ohio 300 Kilometers||Geoff Brabham – 5th|
|June 16th, 1991||2 Hour New Orleans||Geoff Brabham – 2nd|
|June 30th, 1991||300 Kilometer Laguna Seca||Geoff Brabham – 2nd|
|July 28th, 1991||300 Kilometer Portland||Geoff Brabham – 2nd|
|August 25th, 1991||Road America 300 Kilometers||Chip Robinson – 2nd|
|October 13th, 1991||2 Hour Del Mar||Geoff Brabham – 3rd|
|May 25th, 1992||2 Hour Lime Rock||Geoff Brabham/Chip Robinson – 2nd|
|May 31st, 1992||Mid-Ohio 2 Hours||Geoff Brabham – 3rd|
|June 14th, 1992||1 Hour 45 Minutes New Orleans||Geoff Brabham – 2nd|
|June 28th, 1992||IMSA GTP Watkins Glen||Geoff Brabham – 17th (DNF)|
|July 19th, 1992||Laguna Seca 2 Hours||Geoff Brabham – 19th (DNF)|
|July 26th, 1992||Portland 2 Hours –||Geoff Brabham – 6th|
|October 4th, 1992||2 Hour Phoenix||Geoff Brabham – 3rd|
|October 11th, 1992||2 Hour Del Mar||Geoff 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]