IMSA GTP: THE NISSAN YEARS
with the seat belt still attached to him!
“It was still a Lola with the Lola
bodywork; it had Bridgestone tires, and it
also had horrendous throttle lag. It had
1,100-something horsepower when we
qualified, so it was a bit of a monster.”
Committed to turning Electramotive’s
fortunes around, the unloved T810 would
become Kastner’s rallying point.
Aero wizard Yoshi Suzuka came up with
all-new bodywork shaped in Electramotive’s
wind tunnel. Kastner and Moss arranged for
beefier Hewland gearboxes to replace the
trail of broken Weismanns. Moss carved
valuable pounds from the hefty Lola by
ditching the heavy, stock engine block for
a new, lighter aluminum piece he designed;
it also improved reliability. Only the original
Lola chassis and rock-hard Bridgestone
bias-ply tires remained by 1987.
A one-off gift at the early-season Grand
Prix of Miami – access to buttery
Bridgestone radials reserved exclusively for
Porsche’s 962 – allowed Electramotive’s
development prowess to show as Brabham
and Elliott Forbes-Robinson took Nissan’s
first victory. However, an immediate
return to bias-ply rubber hastened the
last two changes as ’ 88 approached.
“With Trevor Harris coming onboard,
there was a sense that there was a
genuine light at the end of the tunnel,”
Brabham says of the renowned chassis
designer. Electramotive unbolted
everything that attached to the T810,
replaced it with a new Harris tub, and
found triple the torsional rigidity.
“Just driving out of the pit lane I knew
it was 100-percent better,” Brabham
recalls. A new tire vendor completed
Electramotive’s vehicular purge.
“We get Goodyears, go to Riverside,
use the same setup, and instantly go two
seconds faster,” Kastner recalls. “We said,
‘Man, the world’s in trouble now...’”
With Kastner steering it, Electramotive
evolved into a powerhouse driven by
creativity. “It was an aerospace think-tank
kind of place,” says Honsowetz, who worked
under Kastner at Nissan. The only thing
the outfit lacked was a leader of its own.
“We went through at least three team
If the Electramotive Nissans had a perceived
weakness it was durability in IMSA’s enduros. The
Daytona 24 Hours did elude, but Sebring wins for the
ZX-Turbo in 1989 and ’ 90 were followed by an NPT- 90
1-2 in ’ 91 (ABOVE, the second-placed No. 84; BELOW,
winners Derek Daly and Geoff and Gary Brabham).