The Nismo festival is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets on the automotive calendar each year.
With Nissan fans flocking to Mount Fuji speedway (which is incidentally owned by Toyota) to not only see the best that Nismo has to offer but also meet the drivers behind the brand’s motorsport success for that year.
2014 marks 30 years of history at Nismo, a division of Nissan that focuses primarily on performance cars and motorsport activities. But despite three decades of catering to performance needs, it was only in 2013 that Nismo officially launched itself as a brand that sells wholly made cars (although there were a few very limited edition GT-Rs along the way).
It started with the Nissan Juke Nismo, which was then followed by the Nissan 370Z and GT-R Nismo. In concept form there’s also the March (Micra) and Note.
Although its motorsport activities and brand building efforts have traditionally been focused around Japan, Nismo wants to expand its reach globally as it gears up for launch across multiple markets. Motorsport enthusiasts would’ve noticed the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 at the Bathurst 12 hour race this year. Make no mistake, that wasn’t there just for show, it’s part of a concentrated campaign to introduce Nismo to Australia.
Speaking of which, Nismo has been given the go ahead for our market, with the Nissan GT-R, 370 and Juke Nismo models a certainty, at some point. Nissan Australia is yet to confirm a timeline for their introduction, but it remains a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’. We can only speculate that the when is not too far away at this stage.
That's not to mention that Australians were putting down deposits for GT-R Nismos 12 months ago. But perhaps the best news is that the boss of Nissan Australia is keen to take on the Nismo brand and when the 180SX and 200SX successors finally arrive, it's likely the Nismo badge will be in full glory.
Since it went on sale officially last year, the brand has sold over 30,000 cars worldwide. In fact, in some markets Nissan cars that have a Nismo variant have seen their sales split turn almost in favour of the hotted up version, with enthusiasts willing to pay more for the special treatment.
Nismo was crowned Super GT Champions at the last round at Motegi this year in Japan, along with every round of the world endurance championship (WEC) in the LMP2 class (including Le Mans).
Next year Nismo will enter the top LMP1 class and take on the likes of Porsche (piloted by our own Mark Webber), Audi, and Toyota. Further cementing its seriousness in the motorsport world.
So we start this Sunday morning at Mount Fuji as our first taste of a Nismo festival, with hopes of getting behind the wheel of Nissan race cars and plenty of Nismo-tuned models.
This year fans outside of Japan will be able to watch the activities as they are streamed live on NISMO.TV