The war for the front-wheel drive lap record on the Nürburgring is heating up! Earlier this year the Seat Leon Cupra 280 locked it down, only to lose it months later to the Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R. Now Renault's corporate cousin Nissan reportedly thinks they can do it faster.
According to this report in Australia's Car Advice, Nissan corporate vice president of product planning Keno Kato strongly implied that they'll be targeting a Nürburgring run in a hotted-up front-drive hatchback of their own.
The vehicle of choice will be a Nismo version of the Nissan Pulsar, the hatchback they sell in Europe. Kato confirmed a "fast hatchback" version of that car is indeed coming from Nismo, and while he was mum on powertrain details, he said it will have at least 280 horsepower. From the story:
"Nismo is always very serious. Nismo stands for Nissan Motorsports International, and that's for the competition. So we will not have any plans to offer a kind of fake Nismo," he said.
When asked if the brand will be targeting the Nurburgring record specifically, Kato hinted it was possible.
"It's one of the racetracks," he said. "It is for the GT-R. For any other vehicle, Nurburgring or any other racetrack. But any way, we have to prove the performance of a Nismo on track. There is no question about that."
It's also possible that this Pulsar Nismo could borrow some bits and pieces from Renault's hottest hatch, making for a very interesting inter-company rivalry.
Frankly, I'm happy to hear Nissan will be doing a hot hatch version of the Pulsar, but I just wish it and its base model version were sold here. Remember all those great front-wheel drive performance cars Nissan used to make? They could use a return to form in that department. They don't even make a Sentra SE-R anymore, and the last one was a joke.
We'll have to see if this Pulsar Nismo can set a record 'Ring time. And then — speaking of cars that should be sold here! — we'll have to see what the new Honda Civic Type-R has to say about that.