Finally, Nissan gives us numbers for the race-going Z
Yesterday, amid the custom builds and product booths that densely packed the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nissan flaunted its brand-new Z GT4 racer to SEMA show attendees. While the official reveal of Nissan’s latest track rat happened back in September—and the car has even seen some competition, thanks to NISMO’s rigorous testing in Japan—the industry show debut marked the first time that it could be drooled upon by the American public, who finally received some powertrain stats.
Featuring a beefy front valence, massive rear wing, roll cage, steam-roller-sized slicks and other calling cards of purpose-built road racers, Nissan’s SEMA car comes dressed in a black-and-red livery with its famous number 23 tattooed on the nose in white. (Fun fact for the workday watercooler: Nissan’s frequently uses the numeral because, in Japanese “2” is pronounced “ni” and “3” is pronounced “san.”) The GT4 car joins a list of venerable Z racers, from the first Fairlady Z (S30), which tamed Monte Carlo rally stages in the early-1970s, to the modern Z GT500, found in Japan’s Super GT series.
In addition to providing the first real-life glimpse of the car, Nissan also opened up the stat sheet on the GT4 racer. For increased bang, Nissan passed its VR30DDTT engine—utilized in the current Q50 and road-going Z car—to in-house motorsports tuning firm NISMO. Now, the race-tuned 3.0-liter twin-turbo DOHC six-cylinder cranks out 450 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of twist, up from 400 and 350.
While the length of the machine (172.4 inches) is the same as its stock counterpart, the GT4 racer is an inch wider (73.6 inches). The whole rig weighs about 3100 pounds— though, keep in mind, balance of performance rules may alter the final stats depending on series.
Speaking of sanctioning bodies, where will this thing compete? In 2023, Nissan will provide pilot customer teams with its new Z for wheel-to-wheel racing in SRO’s Pirelli GT4 America series and Japan’s Super Taikyu Series. (Note: As of this writing, the Z racer is pending SRO homologation.) Stateside, it will rub shoulders with perennial contenders such as the Aston Martin Vantage, Porsche’s 718 Cayman, and BMW’s M4, and newcomers to GT4 racing like McLaren’s Artura and the recently unveiled, seventh-generation Mustang.
As far as which team will elect which pony, we will likely learn in the coming months. “We are in the throes of preparing for the 2023 racing season—testing here locally this past weekend,” said Nissan’s global program director for sports cars Michael Carcamo. “And we look forward to continuing to talk with teams and continue to establish the Z as a force to be reckoned with on tracks around the world.” Additional teams who choose the Rising Sun for the 2024 season will be able to place orders by mid-2023. But first, they’ll have to scrape together $229,000 and then search for additional change in the couch cushions to pay for shipping and handling.
Time will also reveal which car, out of the ballooning GT4 roster, is the odds-on favorite. If appearance signifies performance, look for Nissan’s newest Z to be at the top of the pylon.