It was only a matter of time before the new, retro-futuristically re-designed 2022 Nissan Z would morph its way into a racecar. Just like that, the Z is set to make its appearance at the top tier of grand touring racing in its home country of Japan in the Super GT series. The new Z replaces Nissan’s GT-R supercar in the series and marks the first time since 2007 that a Z model will represent the brand in the GT500 class.
The Nissan Z GT500
We all knew the Z was going racing, we just figured it’d be Chris Forsberg piloting one in the 2022 Formula Drift series. That will probably still happen. However, we didn’t think the new Z would replace the outgoing GT-R in the GT500 category this quickly.
The last time the Z replaced the GT-R in the GT500 series was 2004, two full years after both the debut of the Z33 chassis and after the road version of the R34 GT-R was out of production. The current version of the GT-R began production in 2007, just to help with some of the timelines here.
President and CEO of NISMO Takao Katagiri said, “We are entering the 2022 Super GT series with our all-new Nissan Z GT500 car and our huge passion for motorsports. We hope that our fans will continue to passionately support the Nissan and NISMO motorsport teams.”
It’s Not A Road Version of the Z
The GT500 class is a silhouette class, where the actual chassis of the racecar is a tube frame, carbon fiber monocoque mashup and the body is styled after a production car’s shell. The engine isn’t even similar to what the road version of the Z will get. The 2023 Z’s VR30DDTT V-6 is replaced by a specified 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 that’s boosted by a Garrett Motion specific turbo. At 51 psi of boost, this little engine is capable of making up to 650 hp on 102 octane fuel.
What About GT300?
As for Super GT’s second-tier class—the GT300—there hasn’t been anything official from Nissan on that front. The Super GT allows for GT3 cars with some minor modifications in that class. The only GT3-spec car from Nissan is the GT-R NISMO GT3, so it’s possible we’ll still see that sports car in Super GT, just not in the GT500 class.
It must be somewhat of an odd feeling, we’re sure, for GT-R fans to know that their top-spec road car no longer represents Nissan in the top class of Japan’s premier GT series. Maybe we’ll see a new GT3 spec Z car in the next few years. We wonder this with the consideration that the GT-R is entering its 15th year of production on the PM chassis, has reduced its offerings to just two trims: the Premium and the NISMO, and shows no plans for the R35 GT-R heading in to 2023, as of yet.
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