Nissan’s ‘circuit safari’ brings racing classics to Sandown 500

The Supercars Sandown 500 was somewhat of a wild event, with TCM being cancelled early on Saturday following a crash at the end of the back straight, on the same day as Todd Hazelwood narrowly avoided serious injury after another horrific crash at turn 6.

But not all was doom and gloom at the weekend – that morning saw a rather spirited thrash from some of Nissan’s most iconic Aussie racers while fans and VIPs watched on from a small ‘safari’ bus  lapping the track.

Joining the bus for Nissan’s ‘circuit safari’ were two of its R31-based Skyline GTS-R racers built by Gibson Motorsport, one being the car driven by Jim Richards in the the 1990 Australian Touring Car Championship.

R31-based Skyline GTS-R vs BusThe other, changed hands a few times, racing here and across the ditch in NZ to somewhat less success – though it was also owned by Richards at one point.

The stars of the show, however, were the two 1991 R32 Skyline GT-Rs which became famous for absolutely dominating the competition.

And one of them was the ‘Godzilla’.

1991 Nissan R32 Skyline GT-RsDriven by Jim Richards both on the day of the circuit safari and in the past with Mark Skaife as co-driver, the car would be among the most famous Group A cars of all time.

It won seven of the nine rounds of the championship in 1991, and became the first Japanese car to win at Bathurst.

Also present at the safari was one of Nissan’s international racers, a prototype that most Australians wouldn’t be too familiar with.

Nissan Circuit safari Sandown 500The Nissan R88C, built in the UK by March Engineering, was a factory-entered car during 1988, which saw action at Le Mans – though it didn’t quite make the finish line after an engine failure.

Nissan Australia’s senior marketing manager Mitchell Wiley said the event has been included in the NISMO festival for a long time, but this was the first time it had been brought Down Under.

“The Nissan Circuit Safari is a unique way for Nissan to bring its motorsport heritage to life, and the Sandown retro round is the perfect place to do this.”

 

Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!