Nissan has returned to the top class in sports car racing, and to celebrate the occasion the automaker has applied the historic livery of the 1990 R90CK Group C car to its latest GT-R LM Nismo. At next month's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the #21 GT-R LM Nismo will wear the same colors as the prototype that won pole at the famed endurance race 25 years ago.
The blue, white, and red color scheme recalls Nissan's liveries of the 1980s and 1990s, but was specifically patterned after the R90CK driven by Mark Blundell on his pole-setting lap of 3:27.020. That car started from pole at the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans, but succumbed to mechanical problems over the course of the long, punishing race. Still, the 1,100-hp prototype that once hit speeds of 227 mph on the Mulsanne straight remains a point of pride for Nissan, which is why the automaker is paying tribute to that history with its latest Le Mans racer.
"Our racing heritage is hugely important to us," said Darren Cox, Nismo's Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, in a release. "Our 1998 car hangs on the wall at Nismo HQ in Yokohama as a reminder of our Le Mans podium, and the blue liveries of the Group C and IMSA era of the '80s and '90s are a firm favorite with the fans. So much so that when we first started talking about the possibility of a third car livery specifically for our LM P1 debut at Le Mans this year, this was the one that fans across our social media channels called for. It's a great way to celebrate our past achievements at such a key moment in our current motor racing history."
The new GT-R LM Nismo uses an unorthodox setup, with a front-mounted twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 powering the front wheels and a flywheel-based Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) providing part-time all-wheel drive. Nissan will campaign three P1 cars at this year's race, which will also be contested by top manufacturer-backed teams from Audi, Porsche, and Toyota. Whether Nissan's front-engine gamble will pay off remains to be seen, but the retro paint job will be a welcome sight on the grid.
Watch a time-lapse video showing the #21 GT-R LM Nismo being put together below. Also watch a video of the Nissan R90CK lapping Goodwood circuit. That car will take a parade lap at Le Mans with Mark Blundell behind the wheel before the race on June 13.