The R380’s international speed records

On separate occasions in 1965 and 1967, the celebrated R380 set out to break multiple international speed records. The first was in October 1965: the 3rd Japan GP was meant to be held that year, but it was postponed to 1966. Prince Motors, which had been developing the Prince R380 specifically for the scheduled 1965 event, decided that instead it would put the racing to the test by pitting it against a range of international speed records.
The date was October 6, and the place was Yatabe, Ibaraki Prefecture. Yukio Sugita of Prince’s Driving Test Section got into the cockpit and proceeded to set new international speed records, one after another, in four categories over distances ranging from 50 to 200km. However, at that time the Yatabe course had not obtained FIA approval, so the 6 new records were valid as Japanese records but not world records.
Two years later on October 8, 1967, it was the turn of T. Yokoyama of the Nissan Racing Team. Following the Nissan-Prince merger in the previous year, the vehicle had been renamed "Nissan R380-II". There were high expectations riding on the R380, which had beaten its old rival Porsche in the 3rd Japan GP. And this time, with FIA approval, it set new world records in the 7 prescribed events (50km, 50 miles, 100km, 100 miles, 200km, 200 miles, 1 hour).

International speed records set by Prince R380 (Oct. 6, 1965)
*2nd attempt at 50km took place on Oct. 14.

Distance/time Time elapsed Average speed (km/h) Previous record (km/h)
50km 12'51"44 233.33 230.51
50km* 12'35"82 238.15 230.51
50 miles 20'35"85 234.40 237.21
100km 25'33"97 234.69 239.35
100 miles 41'06"67 234.88 229.36
200km 51'04"68 234.93 229.18
1 hour - 235.06 229.23

International speed records set by Nissan R380 (Oct. 8, 1967)
Distance/time Time elapsed Average speed (km/h) Previous record (km/h)
50km 11'42"88 256.09 230.51
50 miles 18'54"38 255.37 237.21
100km 23'33"60 254.67 239.35
100 miles 38'15"09 252.44 229.36
200km 47'37"20 251.99 229.18
200 miles 1:16'52"35 251.22 228.54
1 hour - 250.98 229.23


The Nissan R380-II was driven around the Yatabe high-speed circuit by the captain of the Nissan Racing Team, T. Yokoyama.

The R380 was powered by this GR8 engine, fitted with Weber carburetors.

Prince/Nissan* R380 Specifications (1965-1969)


*R380-I *R380A-I
(Type I)
(Type II)
(Type III)
1st Yatabe
3rd Japan GP
4th Japan GP
’68 Japan GP
Overall length / width / height (mm) 3930/1580/1035 3980/1685/985 4080/1785/← 4210/←/←
Wheelbase (mm) 2360
Tread [front/rear] (mm) 1280/1260 1424/1372
Curb weight (kg) 615 660 640 660 680
Engine GR8
  Displacement (bore x stroke) 1996cc (82x63)
  Max. power (PS/rpm) 200/8000 over 200/8000 220/8500 245/8400 250/8400
  Fuel supply system Weber 42 DCOE Weber 45 DCOE Lucas fuel injection
Transmission Hewland (5-speed) ZF (5-speed)
Brakes (4-wheel disc) Girling ←(improved)
Suspension[front] Double wishbone
Suspension[rear] Double trailing-arm
Body Aluminum Aluminum + FRP FRP
Wheels [front/rear] 6x15/7.5x15 7x15/8x15 8x15/10.5x15
Tires[front] 500-15 500/910-15 475/1000-15
Tires[rear] 600L-15 650L-15 620/1130-15 600/1200-15 600/1350-15
*Vehicle name: "Prince R380" up to 3rd Japan GP, then "Nissan R380"


R380A-III in the ’69 Japan GP


Final version: R380A-III (rev.)