Nissan gets the nod from Monterey

Riley Riley

Nissan will become the first-ever Japanese brand to be recognised by organisers of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

Held annually during Monterey Car Week, it features the world-renowned Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — one of the most prestigious vintage racing events in North America.

Over the past 50 years, Nissan (and Datsun) has won more than 100 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championships and more than 200 races in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) competition in the US.

More than 50 Nissan/Datsun race cars have registered to compete on track at Monterey this year.

These include IMSA champion Steve Millen in his Daytona and Le Mans-winning Nissan 300ZX Turbo, and Hall of Fame racer John Morton driving the BRE Datsun 240Z.

Comedian and vintage car collector Adam Carolla will drive his SCCA National GT-1 Championship 300ZX Turbo, originally raced by Paul Newman.

“The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has honoured a variety of legendary marques steeped in racing history since the event began in 1974,” said Barry Toepke, vice president of communication and historic racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“Never before has a Japanese automaker been so honoured.

“We wanted to change that course and feature Nissan and Datsun because the brands resonate internationally and have fully established their racing pedigree.

“We felt it was time to recognise and honour the Nissan brand for its past, present and future.”

A variety of historic Nissans will also be on display in the paddock, including the original BRE Datsun 510 John Morton drove to the 1971 and 1972 SCCA titles, the GTP ZX-Turbo Geoff Brabham piloted to eight consecutive wins, and an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) driver’s championship in 1988, and Bob Sharp’s four-time SCCA C-Production Champion 240Z.

“Since the first Nissan race win in 1936 in Tokyo with the supercharged Datsun NL-75, motorsports has been a core element of the company’s success – redefining the limits of man and machine, fostering ambition, stoking passion and cultivating a tireless drive for victory – all of which continues today,” Nissan’s global design chief, Alfonso Albaisa, said.

“For others, the cool marine layer and dew-covered fescue of Pebble Beach creates a perfect stage for beautifully-restored cars of significance, but Nissan is a brand that is quite at home spending the week powering down the corkscrew at Laguna Seca.”

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