1998 Nis­san Primera (P11)

NZ Performance Car - - Historic Touring Cars Spotlights -

The BTCC Su­per Tour­ing era wasn’t lim­ited to huge­bud­get fac­tory com­peti­tors. As well as the top man­u­fac­turer-based teams bat­tling it out for the podium, there was a sep­a­rate cup re­served for in­de­pen­dent teams.

These, more of­ten than not, re­lied on ma­chin­ery that was a sea­son or two old, and while the hard­ware may not have been top tier, the rac­ing among the in­de­pen­dents was equally cu­tand-thrust. The quicker com­peti­tors among the in­de­pen­dents could of­ten be found vy­ing for mi­nor places with the less com­pet­i­tive of the fac­tory ef­forts.

Eas­ily the most prom­i­nent of the in­de­pen­dent driv­ers was Matt Neal, who spent the Su­per Tour­ing years largely driv­ing for his fa­ther’s Team Dynamics out­fit, first in BMWs, then Mon­deos, and ul­ti­mately fin­ish­ing up at the wheel of a P11 Nis­san Primera. One of those Primeras is now here in New Zealand, in the cus­tody of Can­ter­bury’s Phil Mauger.

The Team Dynamics P11 is very closely based on the last of the NME-built P10 cars, such as the Span­ish Primera de­tailed ear­lier, and, in the metal, the sim­i­lar­i­ties are ob­vi­ous. Tak­ing one of the ’97-spec fac­tory cars, the Team Dynamics guys se­cured the lat­est-spec shell from NME and set about in­te­grat­ing the me­chan­i­cals to the bodyshell for the 1998 sea­son.

Built around its ex­ten­sive roll cage on a jig, the Primera uses all steel pan­els, as per the regs. Front and rear aero re­flect the devel­op­ment in­vested in this as­pect of su­per tour­ers at the time, par­tic­u­larly in the ag­gres­sive front-split­ter ar­range­ment seem­ingly hang­ing from a fac­tory-is­sue Primera front-bumper up­per. Ra­diused front guards house the same 19-inch Rays as the ’96 P10, with an equiv­a­lent water-cooled AP twin-caliper front ar­range­ment. Koni shocks and fab­ri­cated sus­pen­sion com­po­nents at each cor­ner com­plete the chas­sis. In­ter­est­ingly, a stock FWD Primera used a rear beam axle; these cars use the in­de­pen­dent-rear-sus­pen­sion (IRS) ar­range­ment found in the 4WD model P11.

Peer­ing into the en­gine bay of the Team Dynamics car re­veals an ar­range­ment akin to that in the P10, with the same low­mounted set-back en­gine with re­versed head, eight in­jec­tors, Pectel en­gine man­age­ment, and, again, around 224kW.

The gear­box is an Xtrac se­quen­tial unit, with fully in­ter­change­able ra­tios al­low­ing gear­ing to be tai­lored to the track along with the diff — a trick com­bi­na­tion of plate and vis­cous-type LSD.

This is the sec­ond time this car has been brought to New Zealand — its first visit to our shores was at the hands of His­toric Tour­ing Car stal­wart Rick Michels, be­fore it was spir­ited back to its home coun­try in 2008 to run the fol­low­ing year at Sil­ver­stone. Now that it’s re­turned to New Zealand, ex­pect to see Phil chop­ping through the gears at 8000rpm at se­lected His­toric Tour­ing Car meet­ings.


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