The 2023 Nissan Z will compete in the Japanese Super Taikyu Series' 24-hour race at Fuji Speedway, scheduled for June 4.
Two cars will enter the ST-Q class, Nissan's Nismo performance division said in a press release Thursday. One will be raced by a Nismo factory team, the other by privateer team Max Racing. Three drivers will be assigned to each car.
Nissan previously debuted a Z race car for the premiere GT500 class of Japan's Super GT series. This version appears much closer to stock. Nismo didn't release any technical specifications, but the ST-Q Z lacks the GT500 car's wide body and massive rear wing. We do, however, see a smaller rear wing, a roll cage, additional cooling cutouts on the hood, and massive brakes behind what appear to be lighter wheels.
Nissan Z race car for 2022 Fuji 24 Hours
While the GT500 Z is powered by a rules-mandated 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 producing 650 hp, it's possible the ST-Q Z will have something closer to the road car's 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, which produces 400 hp in stock form.
The ST-Q class is for "development vehicles" that don't correspond to other Super Taikyu Series classes, so it's possible this will be a one-off effort. The series has been open to manufacturer experimentation, allowing Toyota to race a Corolla Sport hatchback with a prototype hydrogen combustion engine in 2021. Nismo said it will gather data from the Fuji race as it explores the possibility of racing the Z in other categories.
Given the Z's rich history of racing in the U.S. with the likes of Paul Newman, it wouldn't be surprising for Nissan to expand its racing program for the new model beyond Japan. For now, the road-going Z is scheduled to reach U.S. dealerships this summer as a 2023 model.