Apparently Nissan ran a GT-R at the 1994 Rolex 24 At Daytona

By Colin Wood
Jan 27, 2022 | Nissan, GT-R, Rolex 24 at Daytona, R32

Photograph Courtesy Nissan

Search for “1994 Rolex 24” and you’ll likely find plenty of pictures of the Cunningham Racing Nissan 300ZX that won first overall that year.

But you also might see one or two photos of another Nissan-backed entry out on track that year: an R32 Nissan GT-R.

We only discovered this thanks to Twitter user @mwoodski:

A quick internet search didn’t yield many results on the GT-R, but the car did finish the race 20th overall and 10th in its class.

If you know anything more about the car or have any pictures of it, we’d love it if you shared with the rest of the class.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Toebra Dork
1/26/22 3:49 p.m.

I thought Cunningham ran Acuras.  I forgot about that 300 ZX, don't think he was a driver for that one

red_stapler SuperDork
1/26/22 4:03 p.m.

In reply to Toebra :

Peter Cunningham was the Acura guy, his team was Real-time racing.  Clayton Cunningham Racing built the 300ZX cars for Nissan.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/26/22 8:14 p.m.

you'd think the race organizers would have records.

j_tso GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/26/22 8:25 p.m.

Interesting that it's in the GTU class. I don't know when the change was implemented, but I found an IMSA rulebook for 1994 that says GTU is up to 3.0L, in the 80s GTU was for under 2.6L.

racerfink UltraDork
1/27/22 1:22 a.m.

In 1988, the C&C Chevy Beretta factory team with Tommy Kendall and Max Jones driving used a 3.0L 90degree V6 to win the GTU championship.

DirtyBird222 PowerDork
1/27/22 8:35 a.m.

The good ole days where you didn't have to fight for tickets a year in advance and play stupid games with the ticketing office just to go to the race. 

Like you paid per hour in the grandstands. 

Jersey_Devil New Reader
4/24/22 3:28 a.m.

I was surfing the net for pics of the Clayton Cunningham Racing Nissan 300ZXs which won the Rolex 24 and Sebring 12 Hours OVERALL in 1994 when I happened upon this article. Being an obsessive data searcher, I decided to see what's out there that might answer the backstory behind this unique appearance. And, sure enough, I found a lot:

First: this 81-minute YouTube video (in Japanese - perhaps a fellow member can translate to get the gist of the story covered?) documents the entire effort, from planning to completing the 24-hour enduro (beware the many - and truly WEIRD - Japanese commercials!):

Nissan GT-R in the 1994 Rolex 24 at Daytona

Thanks to Peter Nelson of whose article about this very car and race pointed me to that video!

For those of us who can't wait for that, here is a note from a separate one-and-a-half minute YouTube story about the Daytona R32 GT-R's arrival in the U.S. by YouTuber Mark van Soestbergen which explains the R32's appearance: 

"Nick Javid negotiated with Nissan Motor Sports (NISMO) of Japan, to trial run a second generation GTR at the Rolex 24, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The deal fell in place last minute, and the vehicle was FEDEX'ed overnight, from the factory in Osaka, just before New Years 1993. Trials were held Jan 6 and 7, the race itself the first week of Feb. The Nissan placed 17th, and was driven (very conservatively, as it was borrowed) by a Japanese, Swedish and American crew. The GTR scared the bejeezus out of the other teams, kicked Porsche Ass left and right, and dominated the infield where its then unique 4 wheel everything ATTESA-ETS and HICAS systems gave it an unrivaled agility. The second day of trials, IMSA officials would not allow the car back on the track without a serious restrictor on the intake manifold. A 300ZX won that year, making 1994 the first and to date the only Nissan Daytona win". 

I can't confirm any of this - records for the Daytona test show the GT-R (wearing #40 at the time) being classified as 26th fastest. But it is possible it was as high as 17th before a restrictor was mandated and slid down the speed standings to its final placing. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/25/22 12:11 a.m.

I also can verify IMSA and the FIA get very unhappy when an unknown car shows up and goes too fast.  The story probably does have some truth to it.  Good ole boys went to LeMans and Daytona during the early 80s in a Chevy and viola, chicanes.  Gotta find ways to slow down cars that aren't supposed to be fast.  

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