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If you haven't had the opportunity to check out the Japanese Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC), or as it's now referred to, the Super GT series, you're missing out. Supras battle NSXs, Zs and Imprezas. Lamborghinis take on Ferraris, Porsches and GT-Rs.

There are two classes GT300, for vehicles producing 300 HP, and GT500 for vehicles that are making, you guessed it, 500 HP. Both groups attack the same course at the same time, which makes for some of the greatest wheel-to-wheel touring car action in the world. Back in December of 2004, GTLIVE convinced the organizers of the JGTC to head east for an exhibition run at California Speedway in order to gauge interest in the sport Stateside. It was one Hell of a show, but at the end of the day, the sanctioning body of the JGTC didn't feel it was worth the effort to come back the following year.

Follow the jump, for more on the V8-powerd NISMO 350Z, a pic of the engine and the full press release.

We're really disappointed, now that we know that NISMO, Nissan's motorsports arm and one of the dominant teams in the JGTC Super GT series, has equipped their Z33 (Fairlady Z/350Z) with a 4.5-liter V8. The old turbo'd 3.5-liter mill was nixed to gain an advantage over a field of competitors that have made significant improvements over the past three years (the NISMO team has set the bar, winning two championships in three years).

There isn't too much information about the car, as the team has to keep much of their data under wraps, but judging by the sinister look of the new Z, they've come a long way in both aerodynamic enhancements and weight reduction. Five of these worked over Zs will compete in this year's series (starting in just over a month) and will be campaigned by HASEMI Motor Sport, Team Impul and Kondo Racing, with the remaining two being used by the NISMO team itself. However, all the teams will benefit from factory backing.



PRESS RELEASE

February 9, 2007

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan Motorsports International Co., LTD

Nissan challenges SUPER GT Championship with new V8 engined Z
- 2007 Global motorsport programs announced -

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Nissan Motorsports International Co., LTD (hereafter NISMO)today announced their global motorsports activities for the 2007 season.

Nissan's factory Fairlady Zs (350Z) will now be powered by a stronger 4.5 L V8 engine aiming at victory in this years SUPER GT championship in Japan. Complimented by changes to the chassis and other key components, the competitiveness of the machines that won championships twice in the past three years has now been significantly improved.

The main focus of the factory-backed team this year will be their entry in the GT 500 Class of the SUPER GT Series, the premium racing championship in Japan. Further, support of national and international privateer teams will be provided as Nissan maintains its longstanding commitment to grassroots racing activities.

1. SUPER GT

Entry in SUPER GT with the Z33 type Fairlady Z. Continuing from last year, Mr. Kunihiko Kakimoto will lead as General Manager of all the Nissan teams, while Mr. Yoshitaka Iijima continues as Team Manager of NISMO.

NISMO will technically support and develop cars for teams entering SUPER GT with the Fairlady Z. A total of five Fairlady Zs from HASEMI MOTOR SPORT, TEAM IMPUL and KONDO RACING as well as NISMO will enter the GT 500 class.

The 2007 model Fairlady Z has been developed with a focus on the following areas:

1. Countermeasures to regulations changes (recovery of lower downforce and higher center of gravity)
2. Taking maximum advantage of the normally-aspirated V8 engine

A) Reduction of drag
B) Improvement of body stiffness
C) Weight-reduction

Teams
Car# Entrant Manager Driver Car Name
22 NISMO Yoshitaka Iijima Michael Krumm / Tsugio Matsuda MOTUL AUTECH Z
23 Satoshi Motoyama / Richard Lyons XANAVI NISMO Z
3 HASEMI MOTOR SPORT Masahiro Hasemi Sebastien Philippe / Masataka Yanagida YellowHat YMS Moba HO! TOMICA Z
12 TEAM IMPUL Kazuyoshi Hoshino Benoit Treluyer / Kazuki Hoshino CALSONIC IMPUL Z
24 KONDO RACING Masahiko Kondo Joao Paulo de Oliveira / Seiji Ara TBA

2. Privateer Support

A variety of motorsport programs will be supported by Nissan, allowing our customers to get the most out of their racing investments.

1) March Cup Race /Nissan Racing School:

Although set as an "entry class" category, the March Cup Race allows entrants to enjoy a real racing experience. Using the on-board data-logger lets entrants improve their driving skills while experiencing the excitement of driving a real racing car. A dedicated 'Racing School' using the March Cup cars will be held at each circuit prior to every race, and will feature instruction on proper racing etiquette and maintenance of the car. There will be one additional class added to the Racing School this season in order to provide the authentic environment for anyone who has never before driven a race car, giving them the opportunity to join the series. A GPS system which automatically records the driving patterns will be mounted on the rental cars of the Racing School, giving better guidance for the drivers.

2) Support to Privateers in National Series:

[SUPER GT GT300 class] :
Technical support will be provided to privateer teams. This year, three Fairlady Zs from two teams plan to make an entry to the series.

[Super Taikyu Series] :
Technical support will be provided to privateer teams. Endless Sports plans to have one car entered, and C-WEST will enter one Fairlady Z Version NISMO Type 380 RS-Competition in ST class 1. Furthermore, six Fairlady Z cars are planned for ST class 3.

[Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ) ] :
Formula Challenge Japan started last year with its objective of raising young Japanese drivers to become capable of making outstanding performances internationally. Nissan has taken part in promoting this category since its inaugural season. Also, an engine maintenance service will be provided by NISMO under the integrated management of the promoter. One Nissan Scholarship driver from last season will be promoted to the Formula Renault Series in Europe. This year, four drivers have been selected already as Nissan Scholarship drivers and will be provided support by the company.

3) Major Overseas Activities:

[China] :
China Circuit Championship (CCC) is the most popular motorsports category in China where Chinese drivers compete with touring cars which are developed off locally-built vehicle platforms. Last year, Nissan Tiida won the Championship in its debut year. Continuing from last season, entry to the CCC Touring Car 1600cc class will be made through the Dongfeng Nissan with the Chinese top team, Ghia Sports Team. Staying with the proven Tiida, the team aims to capture consecutive championship titles.

[USA] :
Nissan North America will support teams that enter Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) with the Nissan Titan in the Pro 2 class and Nissan Frontier in the Pro Lite class. The aim is for another double championship title.

[South Africa] :
Nissan South Africa will make its entry in the South African Off-Road Championship with the Nissan Navara, in pursuit of its 7th consecutive Driver's Championship title. It will also enter the South Africa Production Car Championship Race Series with the 350Z after its victory in the championship last season.

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