There will be no new GT-R before 2020 and the rumoured death of the Z-car won’t take place under the watch of Chief Product Specialist and Nismo boss Hiroshi Tamura. That’s the message from the 2015 Nismo Festival, where the head of Nismo won’t actually tell us much about what is being worked on behind the scenes, but he is willing to spruik the motorsport link to Nissan - and Nismo’s - DNA.
“That’s a secret, I’m sorry,” he says to most questions we ask him during our brief press conference.
“Nismo is currently present in three markets: Europe, USA and Japan,” Tamura-san tells us. “We are preparing to launch in other markets globally and bring our range of vehicles to those markets. It’s important for Nissan, for Nismo, and it is something we have been working on for some time.”
As we’ve seen in Australia though, the launch of the Nismo brand has dragged on somewhat.
While Nismo is an important part of Tamura-san’s brief, its the GT-R that everyone wants to know about. Pressed on whether the Vision 2020 Concept is in fact the next GT-R, Tamura-san is non-committal, despite admitting that these concepts very often do become the production car.
He also reminds us that the driveline that came into production in the twin-turbo 300ZX had been shown in a concept car some years before. Will the Vision 2020 Concept’s hybrid drivetrain feature in the next GT-R? Tamura-san won’t commit to an answer on that either.
“If you take a look at the concept we showed in 2001, for example, you can see a lot of that in the current GT-R,” he says. “Sometimes these design models aren’t entirely accurate and, despite having our spiritual DNA within them, things need to be changed to make it to production. We need time to work on and release the evolutionary upgrades - not just for the styling but also the mechanical underpinnings and the engineering.”
It seems, then, that the Vision 2020 Concept is at the very least a window into Nissan and Nismo’s future regarding the new GT-R. Tamura-san is also unwilling to admit that the new GT-R’s release has been delayed by rumoured issues with crash testing in the US specifically, and simply reiterates that engineering work takes time.
Shifting focus slightly, we ask the Nismo boss whether the new GT-R will be designed with a Nurburgring lap time as its most important achievement.
“There is a limit to how far we can push that kind of development,” he says. “Firstly, the GT-R is a road car, so no matter how fast we want it to be, it has to be usable for the road for customers.
"Secondly, you can make a hybrid car go however fast you like around the Nurburgring, but the development costs might mean that car will end up costing the customer a million dollars or more. Will anyone pay one million dollars for a GT-R?”
We also ask Tamura-san whether the 370Z is the last hurrah for the reborn Z car.
“At some time, everybody has to die,” he says. “When, we don’t know. There have been stories about the Z Car dying, and stories about a new version being released soon.
"Neither is true. These details are only in my head and no one at Nissan has said anything about any of this to journalists. No one knows about these things.
"The Z car will not die while I am working at Nissan though.”
Whatever the future holds for Nismo, though, one thing is certain. Australian fans of the tuning arm of Nissan have to wait a little longer for it to launch locally.