Nissan and Nismo have unveiled their new GT500 racer, which sees the Z nameplate return to the Super GT Series.
The Nissan Z GT500 racer will replace the current GT-R GT500 from the 2022 season.
Based on the company’s latest road-going sports car, the Nissan Z, the new racer was shown off at the Fuji International Speedway.
Powering the Z GT500 racer is a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four-cylinder, per Super GT GT500 regulations, that produces around 485kW of power.
This power is sent through a six-speed semi-automatic transmission to the rear wheels only.
Including the weight of the driver and a full tank of fuel, the racer will weigh just over 1000kg – again, governed by regulations.
The Z GT500 racer has a typical racing car silhouette with a low front splitter and aggressive front canards.
Around the side are swollen wheel arches that house light-weight racing wheels with centre-locking hubs.
At the back is a humongous swan-neck spoiler, as well as a large rear diffuser.
“The Nissan Z GT500 symbolises Nissan’s spirit of taking on challenges and bringing excitment to life,” said Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta.
“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.”
In the 2022 Super GT GT500 series, the Z GT500 will compete against the GR Supra GT500 racer as well as an updated version of the Honda NSX Type S GT500 racer.
Nissan has a long history in the GT500 Super GT Series, with a factory-backed presence in the competition’s first year back in 1994.
It last ran a Z-Car-based GT500 racer from 2004 to 2007, which was based on the 350Z (known as the Fairlady Z in Japan).
This new Z racer will be a return of the Z moniker since the 350Z GT500 was replaced by the GT-R GT500 in 2008.
Historically, when Nissan has introduced a new racer into the GT500 series, the racing teams have experienced success.
The 350Z GT500 racer won the series in its first year of 2004 and the GT-R GT500 also won the series in its first year of 2008.
In the more recent years Nissan hasn’t been able to achieve such success in the racing series.
Its last series win was in 2015 with Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli at the helm of a Nismo-backed GT-R GT500 entrant.
It’s hoped that with the introduction of this new Z GT500 racer the Nissan and Nismo racing teams will receive the edge to put them back into contention.
“We are entering the 2022 Super GT series with our all-new Nissan Z GT500 car and our huge passion for motorsports,” said President and CEO of Nismo Takao Katagiri.
“We hope our fans will continue to passionately support the Nissan and Nismo motorsport teams.”
Nissan hasn’t officially revealed its driver line-ups for the 2022 season yet but is holding its annual driver shootout on December 6, 2021.
It’s likely to retain the winning duo of Matsuda and Quintarelli, but there could be restructures in the other teams.
For now, Nissan will continue to use its GT-R Nismo GT3 racer in the GT300 class of the Super GT series. These racers are visually distinguishable from GT500 racers by their yellow headlight covers, windshield decals and number plates.