The organizers of the 2018 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RMMR) recognize Nissan as the first-ever Japanese featured marque. Held annually during Monterey Car Week, which features the world-renowned Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance®, the RMMR is one of the most prestigious vintage racing events in North America.
"Since the first Nissan race win in 1936 in Tokyo with the supercharged Datsun NL-75, motorsports has been a core element of the company's success - redefining the limits of man and machine, fostering ambition, stoking passion and cultivating a tireless drive for victory – all of which continues today," said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan's global design chief. "For others, the cool marine layer and dew-covered fescue of Pebble Beach creates a perfect stage for beautifully-restored cars of significance, but Nissan is a brand that is quite at home spending the week powering down the corkscrew at Laguna Seca."
Over the past 50 years, Nissan (and Datsun) has won more than 100 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championships and more than 200 races in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) competition in the U.S.
More than 50 Nissan/Datsun race cars have registered to compete on track at RMMR this year. These include IMSA champion Steve Millen in his Daytona and Le Mans-winning Nissan 300ZX Turbo and Hall of Fame racer John Morton driving the BRE Datsun 240Z. Comedian and vintage car collector Adam Carolla will drive his SCCA National GT-1 Championship 300ZX Turbo, originally raced by Paul Newman.
"The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has honored a variety of legendary marques steeped in racing history since the event began in 1974," said Barry Toepke, vice president of communication and historic racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. "Never before has a Japanese automaker been so honored. We wanted to change that course and feature Nissan and Datsun because the brands resonate internationally and have fully established their racing pedigree. We felt it was time to recognize and honor the Nissan brand for its past, present and future."
A variety of historic Nissans also will be on display in the paddock, including the original BRE Datsun 510 John Morton drove to the 1971 and 1972 SCCA titles, the GTP ZX-Turbo Geoff Brabham piloted to eight consecutive wins and an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) driver's championship in 1988 and Bob Sharp's four-time SCCA C-Production Champion 240Z.
Nissan North America has curated a special collection of 14 cars in its paddock area display, three of which are making U.S. debuts: the 1969 Japan Grand Prix winning Nissan R382, the one-of-a kind Nissan R390 GT1 road car and the just-introduced Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign.
"After making a grand global entrance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I can't think of a better setting than Laguna Seca for the North American debut of the GT-R50 by Italdesign," said Albaisa. "Monterey Car Week is a special place and time for automotive aficionados, collectors and dreamers."
Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the brand's vision for bringing leading technologies to the market is on-display through the 2019 Altima and the 2018 Nissan LEAF, featuring ProPILOT Assist and the all new Nissan Formula E race car, which previews the next generation of Nissan motorsports.
In addition to the collection of special cars, Nissan's large paddock display featured Adam Carolla's popular "CarCast" podcast. Legendary driver, designer and car builder Peter Brock joinedCarolla to talk about the beginning of BRE and the team's run to history more than 50 years ago.