The Nissan R390 GT1 is heading to Amelia Island this weekend! Here's how to get up close with the PlayStation-era icon
In a world where GTRs slide around with true JDM style, there is one such Nissan that successfully trumps them all. Only one road-going example was ever built, and it remains the epitome of what many deem 'the PlayStation generation'. Naturally, we are talking about the Nissan R390 GT1 – and it's heading for Amelia Island this weekend!
Back in the 1990s, Nissan wanted to compete within the GT1 class of the Le Mans 24 Hour race. As per the homologation rules, such a feat resulted in a production variant of their intended racer – thus allowing entry into the world-renowned race series.
Although rival manufacturers were doing similar things, such as Mercedes with the CLK GTR, these marques produced swathes of road-going equivalents in contrast with Nissan. A solitary R390 GT1 was manufactured for the road. Featured at the MotoXpo display, this-one-of-a-kind road legal R390 is sure to attract a huge amount of attention.
The 1998 model was originally built in 1997 and painted in red. The following year Nissan rebuilt the car with a whole host of upgrades, including the iconic rear deck. The finishing touch became the gleaming blue paintwork you see today, and a new VIN number.
Despite its rarity, fans around the world have had the opportunity to drive this track weapon on a variety of video games spanning the last three decades. Back when the Spice Girls stalked the music charts, the R390 GT1 featured in Gran Turismo 2 for the original PlayStation, whilst today it remains a common sight on games such as Forza Horizon 4 on the Xbox One.
For those wanting an even more realistic view than what the latest in gaming technology can offer, heading to the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is the sure fire way to fulfil that dream. If you do, there are some particularly intriguing features of the R390 that may be of interest.
The headlights are relatively well-known to be pinched from Nissan’s own 300ZX of the time, but more intriguing is where the tail lights came from. Those who can get close enough to the car will notice a stamp you would never expect to see on a Nissan; that of Fiat. The rear lights are actually sourced from the Fiat Coupe of the nineties.
Look inside, and you will find a Nismo orientated instrument set. A closer look, however, demonstrates a rather amusing hiccup which perhaps points at the speed to which Nissan built this car to enter the Le Mans series. The speedometer only reads up to 170mph. Although never verified, the top speed for the road going car with its 3.5 liter V8 twin turbocharged unit allegedly could propel the car all the way to 220 mph. A few interesting Easter eggs in there then. We certainly want to look at this animal in the flesh.