Europeans get very serious about their hot hatches. So do the Japanese. In fact there's been a whole back-and-forth lately over who makes the fastest one, and now Nissan looks set to throw its racing hat into the 'Ring.

That would be the Nürburgring, of course, where automakers trade bragging rights like baseball cards – only they don't give them up willingly. Renault set the front-drive lap record in 2008 with the previous Mégane R26.R then set the bar even higher with the Mégane RS 265 Trophy. That was before Seat stole the honors with its Leon Cupra 280, only for Renault to take them back again with the Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R. Seat is rumored to be considering a renewed assault, but it won't be the only one nipping at Renaultsport's heels in the coming years.

Honda, for its part, has made no secret of its ambition to set the record with the upcoming Civic Type R, and now word has it that Nissan is planning an assault of its own. Its weapon of choice would be an upcoming Nismo version of the new Pulsar hatchback which is just hitting the European market now as a rival to the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, et al. There's no word on what its specs would be, but if it's going to challenge these players, it's going to need between 270 and 300 horsepower, a stiff suspension, big brakes and probably some sort of trick differential.

Now if you're thinking that Nissan would only be stealing the record away from its own sister company, consider first of all that, despite their alliance and common CEO, Renault and Nissan operate as two separate companies. If anything, one could end up lending its expertise to the other, much like Audi did with Bentley at Le Mans where the latter interrupted the former's winning streak in 2003. Not that Nissan needs any tips on how to tackle the Nordschleife: with the GT-R it has, after all, been trouncing everything this side of the record-holding Porsche 918 Spyder.

7:54 is the time to beat. Game on.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Months Ago
      I'm going to pursue the Honda Element 'Ring record in my '03 ....seriously...who cares? Just make a reliable, stylish affordable car that's fun to drive on regular roads in everyday conditions.
      Jeff Helgeson
      • 4 Months Ago
      I realize how far fetched this sounds, but I'm about 90% sure I saw a few of these (or way more likely an EXTREMELY similar domestic car) in various stages of camo nestled inside an industrial complex in Novi MI. I had just started skating again and was going over there at night to get my balance back, saw some vehicle wrap camo and went over for a look. I don't have a smartphone and couldn't get decent pics, but they look great whatever they are. I'm having trouble showing coordinates but they were parked behind that "Alpine Electronics" building, near the top of that vertical line of parking spaces.,-83.4339827,265a,20y,41.62t/data=!3m1!1e3
        Jeff Helgeson
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Jeff Helgeson
        100% sure they were Nissan and prototypes. Novis economy, like most areas surrounding Detroit, is a huge center of OEM suppliers and reseachers. Bosch has a huge facility about 500 yards from there, Mahle and Brembo are nearby. It's pretty cool really.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Given the quotes from Keno Kato, this could be an impressive performer, faster than the RWD iDX... “A fast hatchback is under development by Nismo,” Kato said. “Nismo is from racetrack, so it is aiming at a lap time. That’s the meaning of a serious car. “Nismo is always very serious. Nismo stands for Nissan Motorsports International, and that’s for the competition. So we will not have any plans to offer a kind of fake Nismo,” he said...." "“Silvia on the mountain road in Japan was a joke. Far behind the Civic Type-R, but nobody cared,” he said. “Whereas iDX, that is no discussion. Like Silvia. For Silvia, probably there was no discussion of a lap time.”
      • 4 Months Ago
      Hopefully some of this Nismo Pulsar technology will dribble down to a Nismo Sentra.
        • 4 Months Ago
        I hope so too. Hell, if they build that Nismo Sentra Concept to production, then Nissan will regain some respect they've lost over the years. They still have a very long way to go though.