The R391 25% pattern above was the brainchild of renowned sportscar designer Nigel Stroud. After Nissan teamed with TWR Engineering in 1997-98 for the R390 coupe sportscar, they wanted a fresh outlook for 1999. A team was assembled at G-Force Technologies in the southcoast of England to design and develop the R391 LMP1 open top sportscar, with the guidance of Mr. Stroud.
Stroud had the concept for a while, but the real work began in September 1998. The end product was pictured above in mid April 1999 before testing at Paul Ricard circuit. The team assembled for the vehicle design included:
Chief Designer: Nigel Stroud
Assistant Chief: Doug Skinner
Mechanical Design Lead: Christian Rushforth
Aerodynamic Design: Gavin Palmer
Design Engineers: Doug Bebb, Dan Horstman, Charles Macdonald, and Richard Wilks
Production Management: Duffy Sheardown
Tooling Design: James Morton (also a G-Force director)
Though 3-D CAD was prevalent in 1998, the Nissan R391 started development in the summer from the 25% model pattern pictured above. Stroud led some model builders to sculpt his Le Mans prototype vision for the 1999 race. After some initial tunnel testing, it was a question of gathering the team together in September at the Ford Industrial Estate so work could commence.
The 25% scale model spawned the new development of a more accurate 40% wind tunnel model in the Autumn of 1998, pictured in part below.
Work in progress...