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Nismo to lead development of Nissan R36 GT-R

The R36 GT-R will also reportedly be the first to feature hybrid technology developed with the Williams F1 team.

When the current R35 Nissan GT-R is replaced in 2016, the incoming giant-killer will have big shoes to fill and some serious competitors to hunt. To boost its chances of success, Nissan has recruited its motorsport and performance specialist brand, Nismo, to lead the charge.

Nissan says it makes sense for their performance flagship to be led by Nismo, considering the importance of the model for the brand. "GT-R is somewhat the halo car of Nismo, so it is natural that they would lead the development of that in future," Nissan’s executive vice-president Andy Palmer told Motoring via World Car Fans.

The current 404kW 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 beast was developed by Kazutoshi Mizuno, who was responsible for delivering a car that accelerates from 0-100km/h in 2.7 seconds, with enough cornering agility to match multi-million dollar supercars. The videogame styling and boy racer looks appealed to a whole generation, but the ability to carry four passengers and cruise comfortably every day gave the car a dual personality as a grand tourer as well.

But the responsibility for developing the upcoming model falls to Kinishi Tanuma, as Mizuno has reached mandatory retirement age. Tanuma is keen to leave his own legacy on the GT-R nameplate, with reports already surfacing that quality and value are paramount, indicating the next model will remain relatively affordable and full of technology. The new GT-R may need to appeal to a wider audience too, with some speculation of a more elegant design appearing.

Nismo brings in significant experience to the task of making an exciting wild racer out of the more grown-up GT-R. Nissan’s motorsport and performance division already builds race cars out of the R35, so it makes sense to bring this experience and development effort into the new R36 GT-R right from the start. This should keep Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini on notice about the intentions of the new model.

The R36 GT-R will also be the first to feature hybrid technology, developed with the Williams F1 team, according to some reports. However its creators are keen to better its predecessor’s 1742kg weight, despite the addition of batteries and electric motors.

Until the new model is revealed, Nismo’s version of the current R35 GT-R is due late next year, previewing the brand’s capabilities at extracting the most from the Nissan hero. This model will be the grand finale for the current generation, with the new one scheduled at the tail end of 2015.