Those upset that Europe won't receive Nissan's latest Z car best not read any further. Because there's nothing like an outrageous race car to remind you of how cool the production version is. And that's exactly what Nissan's latest GT500 racer for Japanese Super GT - based on a Z car instead of a GT-R for the first time since R35 replaced 350Z in 2008 - has done; the racing car looks great because the road car looks great, and we're getting neither.
There aren't a ton of details on the 2022 GT500 car, but given all Super GT entrants run to very strict criteria we know the basics. It will have 650hp or so from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder of Nissan's design (each manufacturer supplies their own engine), a kerbweight of just over 1,000kg (with driver and fuel) and a six-speed sequential transmission.
Nissan will hope this new Z GT500 can replicate some of the form enjoyed by its GT-R predecessor, which won the GT500 drivers' and manufacturers' titles back to back in 2014 and 2015. Since then its best finish has been a second overall in 2017 as new rivals from Honda, Toyota and Lexus have edged ahead of Godzilla.
The success in motorsport of both the 350Z and the 300ZX the new Z evokes is deemed sufficiently important to make the press release, too; we might now think of Nissan now as merely churning out electric crossovers, so it can be easy to forget the manufacturer's motorsport prowess. The new GT500 car will aim to get the firm back to winning ways come 2022. Apparently it even fits in with the Nissan NEXT transformation plan, a strategy to "provide superior brand value." It is the most interesting Nissan in years, so perhaps it's working...
Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta commented: "The Nissan Z GT500 symbolizes Nissan's spirit of taking on challenges and bringing excitement to life. Through our racing efforts we continue to innovate our cars and we race to win with the same daring we have displayed so many times over the years."
With the 2022 Super GT season not set to commence until April, there is a while for driver line ups to be confirmed. And, it should be mentioned, to mourn the passing of the GT-R as a top-level race car; in Japan it scored 41 wins in the GT500 class, including seven in its first year and a brace of 1-2-3s. Though GT3-spec cars will continue for a while, the writing is on the wall for Nissan's icon in motorsport. Sad. Still, with replacements looking as good as this Z car, we'll not be glum for too long.
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