Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Nismo Festival 2016 Part 1 - Nissan Racing DNA

Next to the R's Meeting, Nismo Festival is one of the biggest events for GT-R fans: a celebration of history, motorsports and everything Nissan, it spreads through a full day of exhibition races, parades, historic-cars runs and talk-shows. There is also plenty of tuners and makers showcasing their latest products: a very dangerous place to be for your wallet!

This was my third time attending the event and, frankly, it seems to never get old for me: Fuji Speedway in December is always a beautiful place to be at. I arrived nice and early to avoid morning traffic, ending up in front of the gates at 7:30am, which allowed me to take a good walk around before peak hours.
R32, R34, Z33: yes, definitely Nismo Festival
The first morning event gives fans the opportunity to ride shotgun in some original Nissan racers, mostly from the JGTC and Super GT years. Having personally experienced it myself I can guarantee that nothing will prepare you for the braking and cornering speed of these machines! This year I was just happy to walk through the pits during the warm-up session.
The drool is serious here
From old GT racers and Le Mans prototypes to modern GT3 and Super GT machines, Nissan's racing heritage is all on display.
2016 Blancpain GT and 2015 Bathurst 12 h Winner 
Prince R380 (left) and Nissan R381 (right)
Super Taikyu R35 GT3
2016 Forum Engineering Super GT (GT500)
Super silhouette
Watching these racing icons blasting down Fuji main straight is always special.
Ready to leave the pits
Track action
Fans taxi ride
Second event of the day was the Z Challenge exhibition race: an one-make sprint battle for Z33 and Z34 owners. This was actually the closing act of a three-events season that took place on tracks like Tsukuba and Sodegura. The cars are just slightly tuned and divided in 3 categories based on power and performance level. I have been (am?) considering entering the series as I'd love to get started in amateur racing, but this would mean I will need to buy a Fairlady...we'll see!
Last minute fine tuning
This shade of orange is just fantastic on the Z33
Wild color and wild aero package
In between races I took a walk around the Nismo parking area which, as you can guess from the name, was reserved to Nismo complete cars only. The R35 Nismo lineup was nothing short of impressive and also included a rare N Attack Package model; sold in Japan only it consists of refined aero parts and performance enhancements, all for a jaw-dropping JPY 8,000,000 to be paid on top of the price of the car!
How many can you spot?
N Attack Package
Love how they incorporated the Nuburgring record set by Michael Krumm on the wing
This pair of Z33 s-tune caught my attention as I'd never seen one before. Developed with street usage in mind they were released before the Nismo 380RS model.
Very mid 2000 looking
s tune GT badge
This red Nismo 400R was sitting alone as no other sister model were present. To be honest it was far from being in great shape, including missing the original OEM wheels, but still one hell of a rarity with only 44 ever made.
Needs no introduction
Like the color, but no original wheels?
Others side events were ran through the day, like family group pictures sessions with other Nissan racers displayed on top of the pit area.
The white prototype is the Nissan NP35
While the Pennzoil GT-R needs no introductions I also always liked the Fairlady Z that was fielded in the GT500 class.The intricate multitude of canards and fins on the rear side is absolutely mental.
Hundred of hours spent in the wind tunnel
Isolated form the rest of the cars there was this commemorative stand for the Le Mans R33, including some memorabilia displayed from back in the days.
Le Mans classic
Hardcore fans/nerds and Nismo supporters were given the chance to bring home some spare parts and race memorabilia (mostly carbon aero bits and pieces of recent Super GT cars). A very smart way for Nismo to get rids of parts that have no value while recovering some money.
For sale

Quick lunch break at the Orizuru restaurant, just to find the 1998 JGTC Pennzoil R33 lurking in one corner.

JGTC 1998
The day went by with a few more exhibition races and events all leading to the gran finale.

Motul GT-R 2016

Gran Finale
Super GT works driver and fellow Italian Ronnie Quintarelli led a charity event that raised 700,000 yen to support Italian families in Amatrice (Italy) affected by the earthquake earlier this year: well done!
Race cars, Fuji in winter and free access to the whole circuit make it difficult to imagine a better way to spend a Sunday. Will be back next year.

Part 2 coming soon, stay tuned!

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