1989 Nissan 300ZX IMSA GTO racecar for auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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IMSA 300ZX front side static IMSA 300ZX front side static
IMSA 300ZX front side cover IMSA 300ZX front side cover
IMSA 300ZX rear side IMSA 300ZX rear side
IMSA 300ZX front side spare IMSA 300ZX front side spare
IMSA 300ZX interior IMSA 300ZX interior
IMSA 300ZX engine IMSA 300ZX engine

As Nissan’s Godzilla was terrorizing local racetracks in the early 90s, it was similarly attacking US Motorsports with this extreme 300ZX

Today Nissan may not exactly be known for its winning motorsports prowess however, around the turn of the 90s, it was a very different story. Godzilla’s back-to-back Bathurst wins in 1991 and 1992 is still the subject of heated debate today, but the Yokohama brand’s motorsports efforts spanned far beyond our fair shores.

In the US, Nissan was heavily focussed on IMSA racing throughout the late 80s and early 90s, taking part in the top-level GTP prototype class as well as the GTO class with their Z31 300ZX. This early 300ZX IMSA Silhouette racer first hit the track in 1989, and will be coming to auction via Stratas Auctions.

READ NEXT: NISSAN Z32 300ZX BUYER'S GUIDE

From 1989 to 1995, Clayton Cunningham Racing produced seven of these factory-backed 300ZX racecars, with this one representing chassis 002.

IMSA-300ZX-engine.jpg

Featuring a twin-turbo 3.0lt V6 which is believed to be capable of 700hp in race trim, and a five-speed manual gearbox with a quick-change rear end: the 300Zx was raced by Clayton Cunningham himself, and John Morton, in 1989 and achieved seven top-five finishes.

High speed instability and a lack of brake cooling were found to be the main weak points in that ’89 season, for 1990, chassis 002 was rebuilt on the longer wheelbase of the 300ZX 2+2 and gained a water-cooled braking system.

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With these improvements, and now with Steve Millen and Jeremy Dale at the wheel, chassis 002 would go on to score four wins and 16 top-three finishes from 1990 to 1992, after which the car was retired from competition and fitted with a passenger seat for happy laps.

It was later sold and continued to see competition in historic racing. Subsequent competition following its professional retirement mean that the car is no longer in 100% original condition as-raced in IMSA GT.

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However, the original turbos will be included in the sale, plus a spare engine, and the car has been repainted to its original red, white and blue racing livery. A full mechanical restoration has been carried out by RM Motorsports, while both engines have been rebuilt by Roush Performance, to ensure the historic racer is 100% ready-to-run for its new owner.

A capable package to this day, the 300ZX recently won vintage races at the 2019 US Grand Prix of Long Beach, and at the 2019 Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

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Both the auction date and pre-auction estimate have yet to be announced, but you can view the car in full at Stratas Auctions.

 

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