Page 1 of 2 Next >> To underline the performance credentials of the newly launched 'Z32' 300 ZX, Nissan expanded their North American motorsports effort to the competitive IMSA GTO class in 1989. The Japanese manufacturer tasked Clayton Cunningham Racing to construct and campaign the new V6-engined machines. Based in Southern California, this specialist company had previously been involved with Mazda's IMSA program.
Constructed to the very lenient IMSA GTO regulations, the new 300ZX was very much a silhouette racer. The car's bespoke spaceframe chassis was built from chromoly steel tubes. Suspension was by double wishbones and coil springs over dampers on all four corners. It was clothed in a carbon-fibre composite body that followed the design and profile of the production model. However, the only components actually carried over from the road-going 300ZX were the taillights.
Mounted virtually under the dashboard was a mildly modified version of the VG30DETT twin-turbo V6. Fitted with twin-cam, four-valve per cylinder heads, the engine was good for at least 650 bhp and as much as 800 bhp at the end of its career. The turbos were mounted relatively high on either side of the engine, while the intercoolers were located behind the front wheels. Mounted in unit with the differential was a bespoke five-speed gearbox using Hewland-sourced internals.
Tasked to drive the new 300ZX were the highly experienced Steve Millen and John Morton. The team struggled in the car's debut season against the hugely competitive Audi and Roush teams. The best result in 1989 was a third for Morton at Mid Ohio. The 1990 season started much better with a class victory for Millen at the second round at Miami. Millen scored two more victories that year and finished fourth in the driver's championship. Page 1 of 2 Next >>