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Nissan has been building anticipation for its new Cummins-powered Titan XD, and finally we’ll get a chance next week to drive the truck and actually report on it. But at SEMA, we were afforded a few chances to see the “Truck of Texas” in a few different configurations at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, with none being more intriguing to us that the Nissan and Cummins collaboration to go for the Land Speed Record with its new Titan XD Triple Nickel.

“Project Triple Nickel,” as it is officially called, is a working collaboration between Cummins and Nissan North America, but as Nissan told us bluntly, the partnership and overall plans are still in the infancy stage. Modification began on the 2016 Titan XD Triple Nickel just a few weeks ago, though it’s a long ways from the final product. So far, the team has outfitted the truck with a special lowered suspension, salt-flat style disc wheel covers, Mickey Thompson tires, an Ultra Shield seat, a Stroud Safety parachute, a custom-fabricated front air dam and bed covers and, of course, a brushed nickel-colored wrap. Additional modifications – including a roll cage, additional safety equipment and more – will be added within the next few months as the truck is developed with an eye toward setting new class speed records.

Of course the Titan XD Triple Nickel will feature the Titan XD’s new V8 turbo-diesel Cummins engine, which pumps out a 555 lb.-ft. torque rating. This test will provide a number of opportunities for the team to see how everything holds up.

“We’re looking for opportunities continuously for how we can test the truck, test the motor, and bring that back to the development team, because land speed record racing is unlike anything you would do with a truck on a normal basis, that any customer would do, so it’s a great opportunity to stress-test the truck in a number of ways, and to bring that information back to the development team to say, take a look at this, take a look at that, maybe there’s opportunity here or maybe there is not,” said Brent Hagan, Senior Planner for the Product Planning Department. “For us, it’s that pursuit of continual improvement with the truck, so that’s why we’re doing it, but we’re very much still at the onset of this thing.”

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“This is a partnership between Nissan and Cummins,” Hagan said. “Right now we’re still working through when we’re going to, how we’re going to do it, and getting this truck ready. If you look into it, the interior is gutted, it has one race seat, so it’s far from being ready to race, and there’s a lot of work the team still has to do to be able to be on the salts.”

An interesting fact about Nissan and Cummins is that both companies currently employ land speed class record holders, both at Bonneville as well as the East Coast Timing Association, which holds events in Wilmington, Ohio. Cummins has lengthy history of land-speed record racing, starting in 1931 on Daytona Beach and continuing to the salt flats of Bonneville and the airstrips of Wilmington, Ohio. .

“Cummins and Nissan have had an innovative partnership for more than five years, with excellent results, including the award winning powertrain for the all-new 2016 TITAN XD truck,” said Jeff Caldwell, general manager of Global Pickup & Van Business, Cummins.  “Our working teams have been discussing a land-speed record racing project for some time now, and we are thrilled to debut this truck at the 2015 SEMA Show. Our founder, Clessie Cummins, would be proud of the volunteers willing to spend the time pushing his diesel to its limits.”

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It’s not everyday a manufacturer announces it will enter its truck into such a unique event, but it’s cool to see that Nissan will look to push its new 5.0-liter diesel to the limits. Be sure to check back for a first ride story of the 2016 Nissan Titan XD very soon.

More SEMA 2015 Coverage
Honda Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Unveiled at SEMA

Toyota Shows Off Tundrasine Limo Truck Concept at SEMA

Up-Close Look at Nissan Titan XD SEMA Project

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