Rod Millen’s Leadfoot Festival in New Zealand never fails to provide a litany of purely insane automotive contraptions built for the sole purpose of going fast in an entertaining manner. This year the Nissan Micra of Glenn Hodges is the first of surely many to hit YouTube providing delight and excitement.
You don’t often think of the Nissan Micra as being a performance car, but Glenn and the team at The Lab set out to change that. With a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter version of Nissan’s VQ-series V6 sitting in the middle of the car providing power to all four wheels, the intention was to build a modern-day Group B-style car. With over 650 horsepower, and a 0-60 time just over 2 seconds, it’s fair to say the mission has been accomplished.
What is it about New Zealanders that makes them both capable of and interested in making these crazed machines? Is there something in the water of the Antipodes, or a genetic trait that makes these folks want to turn normal cars into speed demons? I’m convinced there must be, but to find out what it is would take a scientific experiment the likes of which I cannot afford. Where were we?
During Leadfoot, this car was driven up the hill by touring car racer Paul Radisich. He wasn’t quite able to put the car into the top ten fastest of the weekend, finishing in 11th. I can imagine it would be slightly difficult to hustle a 650-horsepower Micra up the tight winding course in a quick time, especially as it still uses the 5-speed shift-it-yourself gearbox out of a Nissan Navara (That’s a Frontier for us Americans). Though, to be fair, it doesn’t look like Radisich is doing much shifting based on the in-car clips.
Watch the hillclimb from multiple angles right here, but then go check out The Lab’s YouTube channel where the whole build for this car is documented. There can’t be a cooler Nissan Micra anywhere in the world. This is it, and I must know more about it. Join me, won’t you?