Racing

The first generation Zs (240Z/260Z/280Z) proved to be very successful in many forms of racing. The S30s won many SCCA/IMSA championships and even became quite successful in rally and baja races.

280zx turbo

1983 IMSA GTO Championship 280ZX Turbo driven by Don Devendorf and Tony Adamowicz

The 280ZX proved successful in various classes of racing, particularly in the US. Significant results include 1979 SCCA C Production Category (Bob Sharp Racing 280ZX), 1979 and 1980 IMSA GTU Championship (Electramotive Datsun 280ZX), 1982 and 1983 IMSA GTO Championship (Electramotive Datsun 280ZX Turbo).

The 1983 Electramotive 280ZX Turbo produced over 700 hp (522 kW), and reached a terminal speed of 140 mph (230 km/h) in the standing quarter mile.

The most notable driver to be associated with the car was actor Paul Newman, who raced with the Bob Sharp Racing team. He also helped to promote the car, even by starring in a series of commercials. In 1984 to 1985 showroom stock racing, the 300ZX captured wins on numerous occasions. The car scored its only Trans Am win in 1986 at Lime Rock by Paul Newman for Bob Sharp Racing.

From 1985 to 1987, the Electramotive-developed GTP ZX-Turbo was raced in the IMSA GT Championship’s GTP class and also the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, badged as a Fairlady Z, using a Lola T810 chassis and a VG30ET engine. Following development through 1987, the car would become dominant in IMSA GT in 1988. Additional factory endorsement, combined with a new chassis, transmission and more reliable Goodyear tires contributed to the team’s success. The SOHC VG30ET was making upwards of 1,000 hp (700 kW), with a power band that extended from 4000 to 9000 rpm on a single turbo.

clayton racing 300zx

The Clayton Cunningham Racing 300ZX which won the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona

From 1990 to 1995, Steve Millen drove the twin turbo 300ZX for Clayton Cunningham Racing. The car dominated the IMSA in its GTO, then later GTS categories due to its newly-designed chassis and engine. Millen would rank as the #1 Factory Driver for Nissan for 7 years and earn two IMSA GTS Driving Championships and two IMSA GTS Manufacturer’s Championships. Among enthusiasts and the team themselves, the biggest triumph for the race Z32 was the victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona. In the same year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 300ZX ranked first in the GTS-1 class and 5th overall. In an attempt to level the playing field in the GTS-1 class by reducing the allowable horsepower, the IMSA declared the twin turbo VG engine ineligible. The 1995 GTS 300ZX car would debut with the V8 Nissan VH engine at Daytona and would place first in the GTS-1 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Mosehead Grand Prix in Halifax.

The JUN-BLITZ Bonneville Z32 holds the E/BMS class land speed record of 419.84 km/h (260.87 mph) set at the 1995 Bonneville Speed Trial. The vehicle was built as a partnership between JUN Auto and BLITZ. This record remains unbroken. In 1990 JUN’s first Z32 went 339.2 km/h at their Yatabe test course and hit 373 km/h after some tuning at Bonneville.

xanavi nissan 350z

Xanavi Nissan 350Z GT

The 350Z replaced the Skyline GT-R as the car for Nissan’s factory and customer teams in the Super GT’s GT 500 class. The cars used were heavily modified and featured a longer nose and tail (requiring the production of the Type-E homologation special), carbon fiber bodywork, and a tube chassis. In 2004, NISMO won the GT500 championship. Until the 2007 season, the car was powered by a VQ30DETT V6. In order to increase competitiveness, however, a new 4.5L V8 powerplant has been developed. The 350Z, with slightly more pedestrian modifications also competes in the GT300 class (having started there even before the Skyline GT-Rs were replaced) by teams such as Endless Sports and Mola. In 2003 Hasemi Sports won the GT300 championship with the 350Z. In 2008 season, the 350Zs were all replaced by Nissan GT-Rs in the GT500 class, but they have continued to be used in the GT300 class as the GT-Rs overexceed the horsepower limits which make it impossible to participate. Thus, two 350Zs competed in the series and MOLA won the both Drivers’ and Teams’ championships in the GT300 class.

Xanavi 350Z, rear

Xanavi Nissan 350Z GT, rear

The Z33 is also popular in import drag racing, one Z33 fielded by Performance Motorsport in the NHRA Sports Compact series, with twin turbo claims to put out over 1,700 bhp (1,268 kW; 1,724 PS) and achieved 8.33 quarter mile time with its best speed of 176.72 mph (284.40 km/h).[citation needed] Another 350Z built by Injected Performance holds the record as the highest horsepower, street legal 350Z and highest horsepower single turbo VQ35DE with a quarter mile time of 8.80 with a speed of 163 mph (262 km/h). This car was also featured on the March of 2008 cover of Turbo Magazine. Lazcano Racing’s 350Z is powered by a built Nissan VG30DETT engine and has recorded a 1/4 mile time of 6.6 at over 211MPH.

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