Every autumn since 1997 Nissan has been throwing its loyal petrolheads a party called the Nismo Festival.
Located two hours from Tokyo, over 35,000 stomped Fuji Speedway’s pavement at last year’s event, and yesterday’s gathering is estimated to have matched that number.
What attracts pilgrims from far and wide is hallowed race machinery Nissan Motorsport both have on display and hustle around the 4.563km circuit.
Activities and the circuit are not restricted to works vehicles either. Club-racers with classic and contemporary Nissans were given the chance to trade paint in one of three single-make races throughout the day.
The day culminated with the Nismo GP, a ‘friendly’ race that sees various factory Nismo vehicles, driven by Super GT celebrities like Ronnie Quintarelli and Micheal Krumm this year, fight to prove who’s quickest in their category.
But the great thing is it’s entertaining for everyone, not only for Nissan tragics. And despite an iPhone’s shonky quality, the tasty collection of photo morsels below prove the Nismo festival is not one to miss.
Mount Fuji’s known to be often covered in cloud, so for it to be out during the morning owner’s parade, where Nismo-owning punters were given a chance to slowly crawl the track, was a positive omen for the day.
Not to be confused with a Nismo storage yard, or a club day on steroids, this was a car park filled with Nismo owner rides from the previous photo. Juke versions proving very popular in Japan.
Among the Jukes were new Nismo GT-Rs, including three brand new examples shouldering up to a bygone special edition, the GT-R 400R.
Regular Godzilla, Fairlady, and Silvia owners took the opportunity to be photographed with classic Nismo touring cars: a 1993 Group A R32 GT-R and GT300 350Z.
Deep heritage was on show, as this pristine Hakosuka coupe Skyline GT-R attested…
…along with its even rarer four-door brother, the PGC10-chassis GT-R.
You do start to wonder if you’ll ever make it to the paddock, being constantly distracted by lurking privately owned beauties.
Once in the paddock, however, and moments away from the race garages, weak-willed parts junkies would need to sow their wallets shut to avoid going broke. Various exhibitors crowd the area, selling everything from Greddy exhausts…
…to modified crate engines from Tomei…
…and second-hand items, which are sometimes in fantastic nick.
Exhibited cars are an attraction in themselves.
Astonishingly, the most popular exhibitor tent was Nismo’s. Where masses of fans queued as early as 9:30am for a chance to score official merchandise.
Club-racers participating in one-make or classic races were given priority tents close to the garage pits.
Amateurs in one make races were also given access to one of the most spectacular looking tracks.
However, inside the pits the pedigree steps up markedly. For instance, take this Nissan R390 GT1 that competed in the 1997 Le Mans, with 447kW in race trim.
And it’s a pedigree that reveals streaks of past eras, evidenced by Super Silhouette cars like this S12 Silvia that made 425kW with a 2.0-litre engine in 1983.
Both the Bathurst 12 Hour and Blancpain Endurance Series made these pair of Nismo GT-R GT3s very famous among the Japanese, along with their home-born driver, Katsumasa Chiyo.
Generations of Gran Turismo gamers would be most fond of these ex-JGTC GT500 warriors from teams like Pennzoil and Motul.
Drivers are just as famous as the cars in Japan, red tape providing them with protection from hordes of fans during grid-walk – surely interesting for someone like Wolfgang Reip (left), who went from couch to bucket seat through GT academy.
All cars currently competing in championships take position on the track at 3:10pm ready for the Nismo GP race. This year’s Super GT500 winner, the works Motul R35 GT-R, started from grid position, followed by GT300, GT3, and GT4 cars.
Shot of the day: with Mt Fuji in the background, the skies clear, and R35 GT-Rs dogfighting on track, this man couldn’t have looked more comfortable.
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