- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2010

FRANKLIN, Tenn. | Nissan North America, Inc. today announced that it will continue its year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the icon Nissan Z with a display of historic Z racers at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 12 - 15 at Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey, Calif.

Four of the six Zs appearing at the event, formerly known as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, have significant racing histories - including SCCA National Championships, IMSA Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championship and victories at LeMans, Daytona and Sebring. Among the well-known drivers who have piloted these vehicles are John Morton, Bob Sharp, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Sam Posey, Paul Newman and Steve Millen. The other two vehicles are a production 40th Anniversary Nissan 370Z and a specially prepared Brock Racing Enterprises 370Z tribute car.

In addition to the display vehicles, a number of vintage Nissan race cars have been entered in competition. John Morton will drive the #46 1970 Datsun 510 in the “1966 - 1972 Trans Am under 2 Liter Cars” class and a pair of 1985 Nissan GTPs (#83 and #84) owned by Toluca Lake Classic Motorsports will compete in the “1981 - 1989 FIA Mfg Championship & IMSA GTP” class.

Following are brief descriptions and histories of the Nissan display vehicles:

Brock Racing Enterprises Datsun 240Z

In 1970, when the Datsun 240Z arrived in the U.S, Peter Brock’s Southern California-based Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) racing team helped to change the motorsports world by claiming the first SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) C Production National Championship for the Z over long-established champions from Germany and England.

Datsun 240Zs swept the top 3 spots with Bob Sharp in second and John McComb in third, in another BRE car, to firmly establish the Z as a force in SCCA C Production racing. Datsun Zs went on to win 10 straight SCCA C Production National Championships.

The 1970 and 1971 championship car, chassis #492, carried the now famous red, white and blue BRE livery penned by Peter Brock. Unfortunately chassis #492 was destroyed in a racing accident in the 1970s. This vehicle is a faithful replica of that car created by Ron Carter. It carries the BRE front and rear spoilers as well as the aerodynamic headlight covers. Under the hood is a BRE-built 2.4-liter inline-6 cylinder engine with the original triple Solex/Mikuni carburetors and the Nissan Competition intake manifold. Even the wheels are the original American LeMans magnesium pieces, so it is very close to the BRE 240Z that John Morton and the BRE team used to rock the racing world in 1970.

Bob Sharp Racing Datsun 240Z Chassis #00006

This car is the first Datsun 240Z imported into the U.S. It was the original display vehicle at the 1969 New York Auto Show. It later went to the Toronto Auto Show and was damaged when a spokesmodel sat on the roof for a photographer. The car was quickly pulled from the publicity tour and became the first race winning 240Z under the Bob Sharp Racing banner. This car appeared at every SCCA Runoffs from 1970 to 1978. Bob Sharp and the Z won the SCCA C Production National Championship in 1972, 1973 and 1975. This car was raced as a 240Z, 260Z and 280Z. After its days at Bob Sharp Racing, it was owned and raced for many years by Jim Fitzgerald who had also raced it for Bob Sharp Racing.

When the car was a show car it was originally dark green and a patch of dark green paint was found during the restoration and has been maintained on the car to confirm its beginnings as the infamous “spokesmodel” car. It is owned by Dr. Allan Robbins and was restored by SharpSight Motorsports.

Bob Sharp Racing Datsun 240Z IMSA GTU

This car started its long racing career as a 1970 240Z prepped by Bob Sharp Racing (BSR) in Wilton, Connecticut. It was the second 240Z BSR used to compete in C Production in the SCCA after chassis #006. Bob Sharp won the SCCA C Production National Championship in 1972, 1973 and 1975. Bob Sharp also won the IMSA GTU Championship in 1975.

This car became a backup C Production car for Bob Sharp Racing when new race cars were created for the 1976 season. The new IMSA GTU car was destroyed in Sharp’s crash at Road Atlanta in April 1976. This car was pulled from backup C Production duty and quickly converted to IMSA GTU specs so Sharp could make the next race at Laguna Seca. He finished 2nd at Laguna Seca and won the next week at Ontario. Unfortunately, Sharp crashed again three weeks later at Lime Rock Park, ending his illustrious driving career.

A variety of drivers drove this car after Sharp’s retirement including Elliott Forbes Robinson, Sam Posey and Paul Newman. In 1978 this car held the all-time IMSA GTU lap records at Brainerd, Daytona, Hallett, Lime Rock, Mid America, Mid Ohio, Pocono, Sears Point, Road Atlanta and Talladega. The car is owned by Dr. Allan Robbins and was restored by SharpSight Motorsports.

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