Friday Video – No Fooling

As the post goes live it’s April Fools’ Day, which means the press offices and PR departments of car companies have been in overdrive trying to find the wittiest way of plugging their products.

Nissan – Alive (2016) from Alessandro Pacciani™

We’ve covered these efforts before on ESM but, instead, this year we’ve decided to take a completely different approach. The fact is, car advertising in the UK finds itself embattled with the Advertising Standards Authority, which takes a dim view of anything dangerous or exciting. Quite frankly, it’s amazing that we haven’t had car adverts banned from TV altogether, for fear of upsetting Britain’s Victorian morals. Read the industry guidance on car advertising and you’ll begin to understand the minefield marketing departments have to navigate.

Take, for instance, this BMW M4 Convertible advert – banned by the ASA in 2014 after a grand total of a single complaint. Yes, one person, or more likely a single safety-minded organisation, put the brakes on the advert which featured the car on road and race track. The ASA were concerned viewers might not be able to tell the difference, and thus be encouraged to drive dangerously on the public highway.

So that’s why, to celebrate the ridiculousness that are the rules imposed by the ASA, we’ve featured two videos from the incredibly talented director Alessandro Pacciani. We’ve no doubt his work would be banned instantly were it shown on TV, but that’s more of a reason to like it. Also, we were attracted to the absurdity of a Nismo-spec Nissan Patrol in the first video, and the obvious irony of a BMW M4 doing naughty things in the second one:

BMW M4 – Factory Trailer from Alessandro Pacciani™

Consider these your welcome break from the April Fools’ adverts you’ll have endured this morning.

Friday Photo – Retro Livery for Nissan GT-R LM P1 NISMO

Ask any bearded hipster and they’ll happily tell you that retro is obviously cool. This fact is seemingly not lost on motorsport teams, with Nissan choosing to clad one of the Le Mans GT-R racers in a colour scheme from 25 years ago.


Anyone who has played Gran Turismo series will recognise the blue, red and white colours as having adorned a number of previous Nissan Le Mans entrants. In particular, Nissan wants to remember the R90CK from 1990 – the car that took pole position at La Sarthe that year.


However, things didn’t go to plan for the #24 car driven by Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey and Gianfranco Brancatelli, and it retired after 142 laps. In fact, despite numerous efforts, Nissan has never managed to win at the French 24 hour race, with the best result being 3rd place in 1998 for the R390 GT1.

The GT-R LM NISMO is rather different to those historic racers using a (whisper it) front-wheel drive setup to transfer power from the 500hp twin-turbocharged V6 engine. So, is it more Juke NISMO than GT-R? Not really, when you consider the additional 750hp generated by a KERS twin-flywheel system is sent to the back wheels. So, in an unconventional way, it is actually AWD – like a Nissan GT-R.

As you can see, the #21 car has been festooned with the retro livery. Whether it’ll prove to be effective on track remains to be seen, but at least it’ll be looking cool. The old-skool R90CK will also make an appearance in a track parade to celebrate the passing of 25 years since that pole position. Expect more Le Mans news as we build up towards the big day in two weeks time.

Paris 2014 – Nissan NISMO Pulsar Concept and more…

So what has EngageSportMode’s local car manufacturer been up to at the Paris Motor Show? Seemingly sticking bits of red trim to everything it can get its hands on, in order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NISMO brand.

Paris 2014 NISMO Group 001

Chiefly known to anyone who has played Gran Turismo in the last 15 years as the tuner of Skyline GT-Rs, NISMO was formed thirty years ago by Nissan, to lead on the development of race cars and performance parts. Up until relatively recently, Nissan had seemingly been content to keep the NISMO name tag reserved for Japanese-market only products. However, the company now seems determined to use the Nissan Motorsport badge on pretty much the entire model range, with four models on display at the Paris Motor Show.

SONY DSCWe’ve seen some of that quartet already, but the Pulsar NISMO is a new twist on the only recently released c-segment hatchback. It’s Nissan’s first real attempt at a hot-hatch since the Almera GTI; yes, the one with the advert, but is sadly only a styling concept for the time being. It certainly adds some much-needed visual clout to the standard Pulsar which, if we’re being completely honest, looks a little ordinary.


Friday Photo – Nissan ZEOD RC

This weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours race is already building up quite nicely into a three-way battle between Toyota, Porsche and Audi for top honours. But, at the same time, Nissan is hoping for success with its innovative electric racer.

2014 Nissan ZEOD RC Le Mans 01

In fact the ZEOD (zero emissions on demand) RC prototype hit an impressive benchmark in last night’s qualifying session – reaching over 300 km/h (186 mph) purely on electric power alone. Running down the Mulsanne Straight, Japanese driver Satoshi Motoyama reached the impressive figure with the car’s petrol internal combustion engine making no revs at all. Impressive enough for the crazy concept vehicle to qualify 27th overall.

Rear view radar camera visible atop the ZEOD RC.

Rear view radar camera visible atop the ZEOD RC.

The ZEOD RC’s 1.5 litre three-cylinder 400 hp turbocharged engine and twin 110 kw electric motors aren’t the only technologic development the car is demonstrating at Le Mans. Nissan is also making use of the systems found in its road cars such as the Qashqai, with a development of the Nissan Safety Shield and Nissan Smart Mirror. The result is the first completely mirrorless race car. Instead of normal mirrors, the ZEOD RC uses a rear-facing camera that displays video images to the driver, but also incorporates a radar to warn of fast approaching cars. More impressive is the way the system changes dependent on the closing speed and position of nearby cars, taking some of the stress out of the Le Mans traffic.

Here’s hoping the camera system helps the ZEOD stay out of trouble throughout the race and make it to the finish.