SEMA is a bit of a double-edged sword. One the one hand, SEMA gives OEMs the opportunity to produce one-offs that would likely never see the inside of a dealership otherwise.
The problem is that it leads to an extreme case of longing for what could be if said OEMs really build something interesting.
Though, the worst is when the OEM says that they “might” produce a build for retail consumption but if they do it wouldn’t be for the streets.
That last bit is exactly what Nissan has done with their Project Clubsport 23 Nissan 370Z. However, this thing is so awesome that I’m willing to forgive them.
Also, to be fair this build fell under the Nissan Motorsports division and not Nissan directly.
So what is Project Clubsport 23 exactly? It is the result of a collaboration between Nissan Motorsports and MA Motorsports. If MA Motorsports sounds familar that’s because it is the east coast fabrication shop responsible for Formula Drift driver Chris Forsberg’s championship winning 370Zs.
The goal of the build was to create the “ideal, dedicated track only vehicle”.
Things started off with a bare 2012 Nissan 370Z NISMO chassis. From there is where things get interesting. Rather than drop in a VQ motor, the team at MA Motorsports sourced a VR30DDTT, a 3.0 liter twin-turbo engine originally found in the Infiniti Q50 sedan and Q60 coupe.
If you know anything about that engine, you also know that during its production, it was never placed in a car with a manual transmission. Seeing how this build is supposed to be the “ideal” track car, an automatic transmission just wasn’t going to cut it.
To make things work, MA Motorsports fabricated a custom clutch disc, cover, and flywheel assembly so that they could retain the stock 370Z NISMO six-speed gearbox and NISMO 2-way LSD.
There is a whole host of other aftermarket and JDM parts making themselves at home on this build but the main issue here is that as of now this car will not be offered for sale by Nissan. Despite the fact that this is practically a dream come true for tuners ever since Nissan brought back the Z.
The only glimmer of hope here is that if interest is high enough, Nissan Motorsports may offer the parts needed to re-create this build as a “kit” meant for track cars only. Though again, not even that is promised.
This is what the French call “les boules bleues“. Google it.
Anyway, maybe if we’re lucky someone at Nissan will see this thing and decide to pull the trigger on a street-able version of it some day. For now, all we can do is look, drool, and dream.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – At first look, the Nissan Motorsports Project Clubsport 23 project car would not seem out of place in the parking lot of any weekend gathering of Datsun and Nissan Z® car enthusiasts. However, take a closer look at the Project Clubsport 23, and you’ll discover an amazing amalgamation of OEM, aftermarket and bespoke fabricated parts that may appear someday alone or packaged together at Nissan dealership parts departments.
Nissan Project Clubsport 23
In the search for an ideal, dedicated track only vehicle, the Project Clubsport 23 borrows generously from many of the most respected suppliers of performance parts that are tested and developed in Motorsports. What is shown at the 2018 SEMA Show might be significantly different months from now as parts for the vehicle are continuously developed.
The ultimate goal was to create a vehicle that owners could duplicate themselves using Nissan Motorsports or aftermarket parts. First and foremost, the Project Clubsport 23 is an ongoing parts development platform.
Not available for purchase. Yet.
In building Project Clubsport 23 project, the Nissan Motorsports and MA Motorsports team started just like any Z® enthusiast would – finding a donor body and engine. In this case, the project started with a 2012 Nissan 370Z NISMO. The original 350-horsepower 3.7-liter VQ37VHR engine was replaced by a factory 3.0-liter VR30DDTT twin-turbo V6 rated at 400hp.
To fully engage sports car enthusiasts, it was decided to keep the 370Z NISMO’s 6-speed manual transmission. This was a challenge due to the fact a VR30DDTT has never been coupled to a manual transmission. MA Motorsports managed to develop a clutch disc, cover and flywheel assembly to complete the transition all the way back to the NISMO GT LSD Pro-Carbon 2-way differential, which is cooled by an MA Motorsports Differential Cooler. Much time was spent to ensure the VR30DDTT engine properly communicated with the manual transmission.
The refinements continued, starting with an AMS Performance Cold Air Intake kit and Z1 Motorsports blow-off valves. MA Motorsports fabricated a bespoke dual exhaust system measuring 76 mm in diameter to ensure there was no disruption in airflow from the VR30DDTT engine. The exhaust exits through the rear license plate body panel, which gives the Project Clubsport 23 a unique, motorsports look and feel. To help keep the VR30DDTT powerplant running cool, the factory cooling and steering systems were upgraded with an AMS Performance heat exchanger, MA Motorsports power steering cooler and Z1 Motorsports radiator and intercooler silicone coolant hoses.
The braking system was upgraded using soon-to-be released NISMO HC Street/Track brake pads, Z1Motorsports 2-piece slotted rotors and NISMO stainless steel brake lines. The suspension modifications included a combination of newly released NISMO front and rear suspension components, NISMO 3-piece body brace set, KW Variant 3 coil-over shock kit and Eibach rear springs.
Topping off the project’s go-fast parts are NISMO-branded RAYS cast aluminum-alloy 18×10.5-inch wheels and Hankook RS4 285/35R18 high performance tires. The wheels utilize the latest in RAYS “flow-forming” technology for high quality, strength, durability and affordability. They are expected to be available through Nissan dealerships at a future date.
Depending on interest levels, Nissan Motorsports may offer a “builder’s kit” that consists of hard parts and electrical components to assist customers with building their own ultimate track Z® car.
The inside and outside story
Like the drivetrain, the Project Clubsport 23 body and interior reflect combinations of parts from trusted parts sources and custom fabrication. Dominating the interior are the new-for-2018 Sparco QRT-R competition seats, Sparco 6-point competition harnesses and Sparco R383 steering wheel with Bell Works Rapfix hub. Also featured is a Cabin and Engine Bay fire suppression system, along with a custom welded-in roll cage. The custom upholstery was stitched in a diamond pattern by MA Motorsports, offering a contemporary throwback to the diamond pattern vinyl used in the original 240Z
Finally, the once-stock 370Z NISMO body features a pairing of factory NISMO panels with an APR honeycomb carbon fiber splitter/MA Motorsports air dam, a modified rear bumper to allow better air flow/cooling, JDM rear fog light, Selbon TS-style carbon fiber hood with Aerocatch hood pins and NISMO carbon fiber mirror covers and pillar garnishes.
Finishing off the project is a custom Gloss Burnt Orange body wrap by Speedesign Custom Graphics – giving the Project Clubsport 23 a final glow for its SEMA Show debut.