Fuji Speedway, December 1: Perfect weather, racing heroes everywhere you look (both machine- and human-based); history, success, titles, wins, thrills and spills - all this and so much more was in clear evidence at this year's NISMO Festival, where, after a one-year hiatus (while NISMO relocated to a brand new HQ in Yokohama), the granddaddy of the post-season manufacturer-based motorsports festivals was back. And how!
Known for providing the most on-track action of any of the Big Three's post-season get-togethers, the NISMO festival isn't just the originator of the genre in Japan, it's also the enthusiasts' favourite.
The one-day event was filled with activities from exhibition races to driver talk shows, autograph sessions, 'taxi' rides with some of the luminaries of the sport, pit stop simulations, static displays - and all manner of on-track action!
Meetings of this type are all about the cars - and this year's event (the 15th running) wasawash with all sorts of race- and title-winning machines from Nissan's illustrious past - and present.
The company's GT-R halo model was amply represented, with everything from the earliest iterations up to the present generation all within easy reach of the amassed crowds. In addition, famous racing versions of household names such as Skyline, Fairlady Z, Bluebird and Sunny were lined up beside iconic racers and prototypes including the legendary R380, R381 and R382 sports cars and Group C-era machines like the R91CP, R92CP and the unique NP35.
Naturally, there was also a brace of Group A-spec Skyline GT-Rs, the car that earned the name 'Godzilla' overseas for its relentless and unbeatable reputation for success at car-killing venues like Bathurst. It also earned Nissan unrivalled respect among motorsports enthusiasts - something that has only increased in the decades since.
The future of the brand was also represented with the display of the new-for-2014 NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 that will spearhead Nissan's efforts in Japan's top motorsport category (SUPER GT) from next season. The road-going NISSAN GT-R NISMO, latest in the model's road car lineage, was also on hand, demonstrating the direct link between Nissan's race-bred technologies and its road-going vehicles.
With the NISMO Festival now concluded, the Japanese motorsport season is officially on winter break. Things get underway early in the New Year with the first pre-season test sessions.