Nissan captured its first of two consecutive wins at the 1968 Japanese Grand Prix with the Nissan R381. In America, Bob Sharp was setting the tone for things to come when he won the SCCA F Production Championship in his Datsun 1600 Roadster. In 1969, former Shelby American designer Peter Brock became the West Coast Datsun factory team with his Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) team and his iconic Datsun 2000 Roadsters. From 1970-72, BRE — with driver John Morton — won four national championships: two C Production Championships with their Datsun 240Zs and two prestigious Trans-Am 2.5 Championships with the BRE Datsun 510s.
Monterey, CA — On the 50th anniversary of its involvement in motorsports, Nissan was named earlier this week as the featured marque of the Aug. 23-26 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
From 1970 to 1975, the powerhouse Bob Sharp Racing team dominated SCCA B Sedan and C Production with 10 podium finishes in 11 season-ending races, as well as the IMSA GTU title in 1975. During these years, Sharp introduced actor and aspiring racer Paul Newman to his team.
Nissan dominated IMSA racing in 1988 and ‘89. In 1988, Geoff Brabham, normally partnered with seasoned driver John Morton, won almost every race, taking nine wins (including eight in a row). Nissan won the IMSA Manufacturers Championship in ‘88, ’89 and ’90.
Versatile New Zealander Steve Millen carried Nissan’s motorsports legacy into the 1990s. Between 1990 and 1995, Millen scored 20 wins and 23 poles, both all-time marks in IMSA GTS history, driving the iconic No. 75 300ZX with a powerful twin turbo VG engine for Clayton Cunningham Racing. The winner of the 1992 and 1994 Drivers’ Championship heroically returned from injury in 1994 to capture wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring and win his class at 24 Hours of Le Mans. To commemorate the dream season, Millen restored and drove the No. 75 300ZX at the 2014 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
“This is the first time an Asian automaker’s racing heritage has been celebrated at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and we are thrilled to welcome Nissan and its extensive racing history into the historic racing scene,” said Gill Campbell, senior VP of Laguna Seca. “From the early Datsuns to more modern day Nissans, their achievements have earned the respect of racers and deserve to be recognized.”