A small team of Nissan development engineers working in their spare time have transformed a 350Z into a highly tuned ‘Saturday Special’. Called the GT-S, the supercharged super coupé is a performance-focused version of Nissan’s acclaimed ‘Z-‘car’ and is designed to appeal to enthusiastic 350Z owners who simply want more.
Its first public outing will be at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (7-9 July) where it will join other exotic road cars in the Supercar Paddock and on the famous hillclimb course.
This will be the fourth year in succession Nissan’s 350Z has starred at the Festival… and each year the Z taking part has become more extreme. In 2003, shortly after its UK launch, a standard road car more than held its head high among supercars that cost four or five times as much.
In 2004, Nissan’s Communications department, headed by Communications Director Wayne Bruce, had a standard road car modified with parts from Nissan’s after market performance arm NISMO and registered the car with the number GB53 ZZZ.
Last year a 350Z NISMO GT was imported for the Festival, but for 2006 Bruce decided to continue the Z/Goodwood story with a special version built in-house and in the UK. He turned to Jerry Hardcastle, Director of Customer Oriented Engineering at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, for help. Together they kick-started the GT-S project: fittingly, the finished car will wear that GB53 ZZZ registration number.
Although boasting a power hike and a substantially modified chassis, the GT-S is far from being a stripped out racing car with a rock hard ride and a peaky power delivery.
Bruce says: "The GT-S has been created as a real car not an ornament.
"We wanted to build a ‘Club Special’ that could still be used to commute to work during the week but would provide added thrills at the weekend: a weekday workhorse and a weekend warrior in one distinctive package."