This Nissan Z pace car is like forbidden fruit

04th November 2022
Ben Miles

When Nissan announced it was making a new Z car we were all extremely excited. The 350Z is growing a cult status in the UK, Datsun 240Zs and its siblings are beloved. So the idea of a new Z car (pronounced zee rather than like the TV Show) had us all very excited.


But then we found out the bad news. The Z was real, it was being made, and it was being sold, but not to us in the UK. To make matters worse, the reviews from all our motoring journalism friends in the US have been universally positive. At a starting point of just $40,000 and with a 400PS V6 under the bonnet this is a car we were already making longing eyes at over the Pond.

Then, the GRR team arrived at the 2022 Classic 24 at Daytona, and discovered that our friends at Historic Sportscar Racing are using a pre-production Z as the pace car for the event. Jealousy – stoked.


In person the Z looks just as cool as it does in the pictures, a little like a smoothed off kids toy car, in the best possible way. It’s an unfussy overall design – although perhaps the rear is a teeny bit overdone.

That boxy face suits the diminutive stature of the car – it seems smaller in person than in images – and the roofline, fading into the tailgate, is a delight. But the thing that stands out for us is the shoulders, a squared off side to the car that runs from front wing to rear, matching the boxy aesthetic of the front nicely.

On track it does not look out of place leading around a field of racing cars, although experiencing the car from a distance means we can’t really tell you anything about how it suits the track but it looks good there.


And that’s the rub really, staring at the Z from the sidelines is only slightly better than watching it from across the Atlantic. Or maybe it’s not, because now we’ve seen it in the flesh we just want to drive it on a UK road. If the Toyota GR86 isn’t going to last very long in Europe (sold out) then there’s a yawning gap for a small Japense coupe in the UK market… Come on Nissan, time to fill it. 

Photography by Ben Miles

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  • Z

  • Daytona

  • Classic 24

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