Developing a Champion:
The Electramotive Nissan GTP Story
"Chris Willes was an Engineer at Electramotive, brought onto the team in January 1986. His primary assignment was to design and develop aluminum blocks for the GTP and Group C cars, and as it turned out, eventually provided for the normally aspirated GTO class and off-road trucks as well. Chris brings an insider viewpoint for every aspect of the complexity of the multiple development programs needed to bring a GTP car to the grid, and then develop it into a dominant winner.
This book extensively covers every aspect of the car’s eventual development into the absolutely dominant Trevor Harris designed Nissan GTP of 1988. And by extensively covering the development, there are pages of photographs and drawings to show the stages of improvements to the main bearing caps and block, from iron block engines through to the eventual alloy block versions. The detail is stunning, including the detail drawings and photographs of each stage along the way. The aerodynamic developments that Yoshi Suzuka achieved with a rolling ground plane 1/7th scale wind tunnel were nothing short of remarkable, and mirrored actual on-track performance.
This book is the absolute authority on how that greatest of GTP cars came to be after three years of struggle in the class. There is also a great deal about the GTO cars and Mickey Thompson Stadium Truck development, which is also highly interesting. This book tells the story of developing a dominant GTP car exceedingly well, in detail that is never available outside of being on the team itself."
"Willes has written and illustrated the engineering story of Electramotive's development of two separate dominant racing engines and campaigning a world-class factory race team, chronicling the challenges and solutions of racing in one of the most incredible periods for motorsports. His large-format thick heavy book is rich in engineering details and discusses many of the corporate management and sponsorship issues behind motorsports."
Paul Williamson, Stay-At-Home Book Review
"An excellent story well told by Chris Willes in great detail. Proud to have worked as copy editor along with John Zimmermann. Lots of IMSA history from the inside engineering perspective of Electramotive."
"Received the book yesterday and it is awesome! You did a fine job—So much info and presented so perfectly. Thanks for the special acknowledgement and it was a pleasure to be a small part of this great project. "
"I finished the book yesterday. I have about 30 books or more covering various racing and general interest automotive topics. Two books stand out: The Dust and The Glory by Leo Levine 1968 - a tome which primarily covered the Ford GT program in the 60’s; and Ford GT by Preston Lerner 2015 - a 50th anniversary publication which covered the same era, less technical, but more in the style of this book. With Developing A Champion by Chris Willes, I now have three outstanding books."
Electramotive Engineering Inc. VP
"This impressive and well-illustrated new book thoroughly documents the evolution of Electramotive Engineering and early development of the dominant IMSA Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo racing cars. Electramotive co-founders Don Devendorf (Hughes Aircraft) and John Knepp (BRE) partnered with Nissan in 1984 to create a car and engine to win in IMSA GTP. The book follows the six-year development of the early Nissan GTP program through the mountain-top experiences of the first victory, an eight-race winning streak, and back-to-back IMSA GTP championships in 1988 and 1989. Compiled by an Electramotive engineer, the account ably combines extensive technical information with storylines for every race. An excellent resource."
Leigh Dorrington, Vintage Motorsport Magazine
"All mechanics should read this book."
"This book is a very accurate accounting of this amazing time written by a key team engineer. Chris’s work is one of the best, most accurate accounts of building a team and the cars, satisfying those looking for a great easy to read story about one of racings best eras plus those looking for the technical details, problem solving and challenges along the way. He blends it together in what will surely be a very popular book."
Ashley Page, Electramotive Engineering Inc.
"Wow, I have started on page one and read every word, and it is fantastic. There is so much I did not know about. Great to have it published! What a fantastic job was done by so few people. Wonderful effort on your part Chris."
Kas Kastner, former Nissan Motorsports National Manager of North America
"The world has waited 30 years for the definitive book on the history of Electramotive and the IMSA GTP car dynasty the company created for Nissan. Now we finally have it!"
Brent Dussia, Electramotive Engineering Inc. Director of Electronic Systems
"Fantastic book! I've had a fascination with the Electramotive story for many years. Particularly the development of the VG30 as a racing engine. Quite a bit of questions have been answered by your book. Love the fact that you included some of the original drawings from components of the car. "
"This is a pretty amazing book. I've never seen anything describe a team's evolution in such detail."