1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R LM Pilots: H. Fukuyama, M. Kondo, S. Kasuya Team: NISMO Nissan Motorsport Race: 10th overall (5th in GT1) at Le Mans in 1995 TSM - 154343 (resin)
Starting in the early 80s, Nissan began a broad racing campaign. In 1984 they even created NISMO, that became their motorsports and performance division. From then on you could see NISMO cars from the JTCC to Le Mans to Daytona. In 1990, a R90CK even started at pole position at La Sarthe. Though at other fronts good results were coming, the Le Mans podium was off limits for Nissan. Still, the manufacturer didn’t give up, and NISMO continued to develop cars aimed to win Le Mans. But then, in 1994, the new GT1 class came into effect. With that, all of Nissan’s potential racing cars became obsolete. A new car was necessary, so instead of starting from scratch, Nissan looked towards its own stable. NISMO would create a car to win at Le Mans based on their current R33 Skyline GT-R.
A very interesting characteristic of the GT1 class was homologation requirements. The manufacturer only needed to produce ONE road-going car for homologation. So as long as NISMO made one road-legal car, they had total freedom in the GT1 project. So NISMO created the R33 GT-R LM. From the outside the car looked a lot like a regular R33, but the similarities were only skin deep. The chassis was of a unitary steel construction, with double wishbone suspension front and rear. The engine was Nissan’s famous RB26DETT. It was an inline-6 displacing 2795 cm³, with DOHC and 24 valves. Turbocharged, it delivered a hefty 400 hp to the six speed manual gearbox.
Though it looked a lot like an R33, and even had the same engine, the GT-R LM had one huge difference. One of the reasons that the Nissan Skyline was so revered was its ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system. In the name of mechanical simplicity (and durability), NISMO deleted the high-tech system. So the GT-R LM was a rear-wheel drive car. NISMO produced three GT-R LM, one a street car for homologation and two race cars. At the 24 Heures du Mans of 1995 NISMO lined up GT-R LM #22 and #23. Their competition was McLaren F1s and Ferrari F40s, that unfortunately proved to be too strong. LM #22, though starting in 34th place, climbed up the grid and finished 10th overall. It was fifth in class, behind four McLarens.
In scale the GT-R LM #22 is nothing short of a gem. As usual, TSM makes a fantastic model, and their oh-so-nice display case makes the model stand out. I don’t display my models in their cases, but TSM has the best cases in 1:43, bar none. So for a Le Mans nut AND Skyline fan like me, this one was super.