Nissan North America, Inc. today announced that it will continue its year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the icon Nissan Z® with a display of historic Z® racers at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 12 – 15 at Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey, Calif.
Four of the six Z®s appearing at the event, formerly known as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, have significant racing histories – including SCCA National Championships, IMSA Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championship and victories at LeMans, Daytona and Sebring. Among the well-known drivers who have piloted these vehicles are John Morton, Bob Sharp, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Sam Posey, Paul Newman and Steve Millen. The other two vehicles are a production 40th Anniversary Nissan 370Z and a specially prepared Brock Racing Enterprises 370Z tribute car.
In addition to the display vehicles, a number of vintage Nissan race cars have been entered in competition. John Morton will drive the #46 1970 Datsun 510 in the “1966 – 1972 Trans Am under 2 Liter Cars” class and a pair of 1985 Nissan GTPs (#83 and #84) owned by Toluca Lake Classic Motorsports will compete in the “1981 – 1989 FIA Mfg Championship & IMSA GTP” class.
Following are brief descriptions and histories of the Nissan display vehicles:
Brock Racing Enterprises Datsun 240Z
In 1970, when the Datsun 240Z arrived in the U.S, Peter Brock’s Southern California-based Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) racing team helped to change the motorsports world by claiming the first SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) C Production National Championship for the Z over long-established champions from Germany and England.
Datsun 240Zs swept the top 3 spots with Bob Sharp in second and John McComb in third, in another BRE car, to firmly establish the Z® as a force in SCCA C Production racing. Datsun Z®s went on to win 10 straight SCCA C Production National Championships.
The 1970 and 1971 championship car, chassis #492, carried the now famous red, white and blue BRE livery penned by Peter Brock. Unfortunately chassis #492 was destroyed in a racing accident in the 1970s. This vehicle is a faithful replica of that car created by Ron Carter. It carries the BRE front and rear spoilers as well as the aerodynamic headlight covers. Under the hood is a BRE-built 2.4-liter inline-6 cylinder engine with the original triple Solex/Mikuni carburetors and the Nissan Competition intake manifold. Even the wheels are the original American LeMans magnesium pieces, so it is very close to the BRE 240Z that John Morton and the BRE team used to rock the racing world in 1970.
Bob Sharp Racing Datsun 240Z Chassis #00006
This car is the first Datsun 240Z imported into the U.S. It was the original display vehicle at the 1969 New York Auto Show. It later went to the Toronto Auto Show and was damaged when a spokesmodel sat on the roof for a photographer. The car was quickly pulled from the publicity tour and became the first race winning 240Z under the Bob Sharp Racing banner. This car appeared at every SCCA Runoffs from 1970 to 1978. Bob Sharp and the Z® won the SCCA C Production National Championship in 1972, 1973 and 1975. This car was raced as a 240Z, 260Z and 280Z. After its days at Bob Sharp Racing, it was owned and raced for many years by Jim Fitzgerald who had also raced it for Bob Sharp Racing.
When the car was a show car it was originally dark green and a patch of dark green paint was found during the restoration and has been maintained on the car to confirm its beginnings as the infamous “spokesmodel” car. It is owned by Dr. Allan Robbins and was restored by SharpSight Motorsports.
Bob Sharp Racing Datsun 240Z IMSA GTU
This car started its long racing career as a 1970 240Z prepped by Bob Sharp Racing (BSR) in Wilton, Connecticut. It was the second 240Z BSR used to compete in C Production in the SCCA after chassis #006. Bob Sharp won the SCCA C Production National Championship in 1972, 1973 and 1975. Bob Sharp also won the IMSA GTU Championship in 1975.
This car became a backup C Production car for Bob Sharp Racing when new race cars were created for the 1976 season. The new IMSA GTU car was destroyed in Sharp’s crash at Road Atlanta in April 1976. This car was pulled from backup C Production duty and quickly converted to IMSA GTU specs so Sharp could make the next race at Laguna Seca. He finished 2nd at Laguna Seca and won the next week at Ontario. Unfortunately, Sharp crashed again three weeks later at Lime Rock Park, ending his illustrious driving career.
A variety of drivers drove this car after Sharp’s retirement including Elliott Forbes Robinson, Sam Posey and Paul Newman. In 1978 this car held the all-time IMSA GTU lap records at Brainerd, Daytona, Hallett, Lime Rock, Mid America, Mid Ohio, Pocono, Sears Point, Road Atlanta and Talladega. The car is owned by Dr. Allan Robbins and was restored by SharpSight Motorsports.
Nissan Motorsports 300ZX
Nissan competed with the 300ZX in IMSA GTO and then GTS from 1989 to 1995, winning 19 races during that time. Steve Millen won the Driver’s Championship with the 300ZX in 1992 and 1994. Nissan also won the Manufacturer’s Championship in 1992 and 1994. In 1994 the Nissan Motorsports 300ZX took the overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as 1st in class and 5th overall at the 24 Hours of LeMans. This car, Chassis #7 (the Sebring and LeMans winner), is owned by Millen.
After dominating the competition in 1994, IMSA banned the 300ZX’s twin turbo V6 engine. The 300ZXs raced in 1995 with a V8 engine, but they were never quite the same. Millen suffered career-ending injuries in a crash at Road Atlanta and the cars were retired at the end of the season.
Nissan 370Z BRE Tribute Coupe
In recognition of BRE’s multiple championships and the Z®’s first championship, Nissan North America teamed with Brock Racing Enterprises’ Peter Brock to create an updated rendition of the famous BRE livery, a specially modified 2010 Nissan NISMO 370Z Coupe. The new BRE 370Z is not just a show car, however, it’s built for the track as well. As is appropriate to commemorate the championship car, it was built to current SCCA T2 racecar regulations and will see track duty in 2010.
2010 Nissan 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition
To celebrate four decades of Z®, Nissan created a special, limited production version of the 2010 Nissan 370Z Coupe, the 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition. Limited to 1,000 units, the 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition starts out as a 370Z Touring model equipped with manual transmission and Sport Package (including SynchroRev Match™, front chin spoiler, rear spoiler, Nissan Sport Brakes, 19-inch Rays forged aluminum-alloy wheels and viscous limited-slip differential) and adds a premium “40th Graphite” exterior color and red leather-appointed interior.
Additional exclusive equipment includes a high-luster smoke wheel finish, red brake calipers and 40th Anniversary badges on the rear hatch and front shock tower brace. Inside, along with the red leather-appointed seats are red door panel inserts, 40th Anniversary seatback with debossed logo, floormat logo embroidery, red stitching on the center stack, shift boot and kneepads, smooth leather steering wheel with red stitching and interior 40th commemorative plaque. Every 40th Anniversary Z® also comes with a commemorative premium satin car cover.