An­niver­sary race in Mon­terey

Shepparton News - Shepparton Car Weekly - - NEWS -

To mark the 20th an­niver­sary of his — and Nis­san’s — win at the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans, race car driver Steve Millen brought his Nis­san 300ZX twin turbo racer out of re­tire­ment at the Rolex Mon­terey Mo­tor­sports Re­union in Cal­i­for­nia.

“This Mon­terey his­toric re­union is the big­gest and best of the clas­sic car races in Amer­ica,” Millen said. “We had so much suc­cess for this car in 1994 that we had to come and cel­e­brate our 20th an­niver­sary.”

The 800–horse­power No. 75 Nis­san 300ZX twin turbo was one of 550 ve­hi­cles in­vited to com­pete in what has be­come the cor­ner­stone of the Mon­terey Penin­sula’s an­nual Clas­sic Car Week. Cars are se­lected based on each ve­hi­cle’s au­then­tic­ity, race prove­nance and pe­riod cor­rect­ness.

In fact, this car — chas­sis No. 7 — still has its in­spec­tion sticker from Le Mans 20 years ago.

“We had a lot of suc­cess with this car. But, the car sat dor­mant for 20 years es­sen­tially. So when we de­cided to come to this event in Mon­terey we ran right through the car from front to stern. Mark Hon­sowetz re­built the en­gine for us. We put on new shock ab­sorbers. We put on new AP Rac­ing brakes,” Millen said.

Millen re­tired from rac­ing in 1996 af­ter an accident at Road At­lanta.

“I like do­ing tar­mac ral­ly­ing, and I’ve done quite a few Targa ral­lies in the GT-R, which is re­ally the best car you can have for some­thing like that,” Millen said.

“I re­ally haven’t done very much rac­ing, so to come back here for the first time, it was quite daunt­ing ini­tially on the week­end. On Thurs­day I thought heck do we re­ally have to go this fast? But now I am re­ally en­joy­ing it.”

At the race event, Nis­san had a spe­cial La­guna Seca garage area for spec­ta­tors. The new 370Z NISMO and GT-R NISMO were also there for guests to en­joy.

“We have much rac­ing his­tory with Nis­sans in the past 50 years,” Nis­san Mo­tor Co de­sign and brand man­age­ment se­nior vice-pres­i­dent and chief cre­ative of­fi­cer Shiro Naka­mura said.

“NISMO is Nis­san Mo­tor­sport com­pany, which re­ally had its hey­day taken from our mo­tor­sports as­sets. So now we have a 370Z NISMO and we have GT-R NISMO, and we will have much more NISMO com­ing to the mar­ket.”

As for Millen and the No. 75 Nis­san in the race?

“The cars are work­ing great, and it is just so much fun to out there rac­ing against other com­peti­tors,” Millen.

The 800–horse­power No. 75 Nis­san 300ZX twin turbo was one of 550 ve­hi­cles in­vited to com­pete

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