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December 4, 2015

A Show of Speed: NISMO Festival 2015 (w/ 60 Photos)

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Commemorating its success on the racetrack over the course of the past year, NISMO, Nissan’s specialized motoring division, holds the NISMO Festival as their way of expressing gratitude to all their fans. One day in autumn since 1997, the Fuji International Speedway comes alive and transforms into a living exhibit dedicated to anything and everything Nissan.

At a time when other carmakers are cutting down on motorsports-related activities, Nissan has embraced this as part of their DNA. Through high-octane activities, they are not only able to bring technology from the racetrack to the road, but enable NISMO to reach a truly global audience. Mr. Hiroshi Tamura of the NISMO Business Office reveals the high uptick in sales for the motorsports, now specialized car division as well. From selling only a handful of cars before 2012, they now sell over 15,000 per year. And in the past three years alone, they have developed six full NISMO products.

Seeing a continuous stream of R32, R33, R34, and Fairlady Z models on the way to the circuit itself serves as the perfect indicator of what to expect. The moment you alight at the Fuji Speedway, the atmosphere is electric. The paddocks are packed with people wearing all sorts of Nissan garb with the loud speakers blasting typical over-the-top Japanese commentary.

Rows of makeshift tents offer all sorts of merchandise, scale models, stickers, and what have you from various brands including Calsonic, Motul, HKS, Endless, EBRO, and many more. Even the famed Speedhunters is there offering a wide range of shirts. After spending a day here, it’s impossible not to find yourself parting with some Yen. Of course, while this is all great for those looking for a bargain, snagging a great deal on new Bride seats, Rays wheels, or NISMO merchandise forms just a part of the total experience.

The best part of the NISMO Festival is complimentary pit tour. Normally closed to the public, the Fuji Speedway pits are filled with the finest metal from Nissan’s racing past and present including those from Japan Touring Car, Super GT, Le Mans, IMSA, and many more. If you find yourself lucky being there during the warm-up session, you can actually hear the drivers and engineers fire them up.

Separate tickets offer access to the Circuit Safari and the Main Straight Pit Walk. The former allows you to capture various racing cars in action on the track while you snap photos away in the comfort of a tour bus. The latter gives you the chance to get photos taken with Nissan’s famous drivers and of course, Japan’s famous Race Queens.

Getting up close to its famous race cars, seeing them in action on the track, and feeling the overall vibe on the circuit are enough to change your impression of Nissan; it’s this sort of activity that cannot be replicated by soulless PR speak. And while it may serve as a pat on the back for another year in motor racing, 2015 is extra special. Not only is NISMO celebrating its 30th year, it has successfully swept the Super GT winning both GT500 and GT300 categories as well as the Blancpain Endurance Series.


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