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Jay Leno and Usain Bolt Drive GT-Rs

Nissan Ramps up Its PR Work With the GT-R

Working continually to raise the GT-R’s global view, this past week Nissan and their GT-R team worked with both Usain Bolt and Jay Leno for some fantastic automotive press opportunities.

The world’s fastest man has not been shy about his love for the world’s fastest car (or, at least, one of them). Usain Bolt, a veritable international celebrity with humongous marketing presence in Europe and China, as well as most everywhere else people have heard of the Olympics, has been well known for his love of the Nissan GT-R. Looks like Nissan caught wind of this too, and is taking advantage of the situation for some great press opportunities.

Usain Bolt Nissan GTR

This month Nissan reached an advertising deal with Usain Bolt, officially naming him their “Director of Excitement”. To kick off this special title, a unique, one-off (actually, two-off, since Bolt had one made for himself also) special edition Gold GT-R was built and will be auctioned off on EBay. The proceeds of the sale will go to the Usain Bolt Foundation–a charity dedicated to the happiness and wellness of children’s lives in underprivileged countries and societies–and there should be lots of proceeds.

Gold Usain Bolt Nissan GT-R

The very special one-off Bolt GT-R is finished in a beautiful and unique metallic gold paint, features Bolt’s signature across the front, and also has an interior touched up with gold accent trim. The overall look of the vehicle is incredibly striking, and it will certainly fetch a pretty penny. If this GT-R is less to your liking, however, Nissan and Bolt are also teaming up to offer a less limited-run of Bolt Special Edition GT-Rs. The details on this special edition GT-R aren’t confirmed yet, but I’m sure Nissan and their new “Director of Excitement” will come up with something great.

Nissan GTR What If Usain Bolt

The last part of Bolt’s agreement will see him featured in a new series of Nissan “What If_” commercials. Ahead of these commercials, Nissan and Bolt have already released a few promotional videos. Of their partnering together, Bolt said, “Racing is my inspiration, and I want to help Nissan become an even more exciting brand for everyone.”

Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Toshiyuki Shiga welcomed Bolt’s endorsement and deepening ties with Nissan. “Nissan shares the spirit of excitement that captivated worldwide audiences at the Olympics. There is no-one better qualified than Usain Bolt to help us translate that spirit into great experiences,” said Shiga.


In addition to Usain Bolt, Nissan brought in one of the world’s most famous car enthusiasts, Jay Leno, for another PR opportunity…

when they flew the chinned one out to Tokyo to take a drive around the city’s notoriously difficult to maneuver streets in a Nissan GT-R. There’s no special agreement between parties here, just a really neat video of Leno enjoying as cruise in Godzilla through the brilliant and beautiful Akihabara electronics district–an area renowned for its bright lights and tight streets.

“It’s a bit like driving in England, as you’re on the other side of the road,” he said. Perhaps more striking was the difference in the kinds of cars one sees on the road around Tokyo and their condition. Leno said he didn’t see any clunkers or dirty cars, like those he was used to on the Los Angeles motorways.

“I’ve yet to see a dirty car on the road. People here seem to take a great deal of pride in their possessions.”

Leno proves himself a capable motorist, navigating the roadways with relative ease, and then talking about the driving experience. Following that we get to see Leno also visit Nissan’s GT-R Manufacturing Plant where he marvels over the creation process for the GT-R Engine. It’s great to hear a well-known American car enthusiast give the GT-R so much love, and the taste of a different culture is a fascinating one.

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