Shortly after the spring equinox, Carrolton, Georgia becomes Mecca for those who worship the Z. Hundreds of Z-ists make the pilgrimage to Z1 Motorsports for the Z Nationals: a three-day event to honor Mr. Yutaka Katayama’s legendary brainchild.
This year’s edition began March 28th with a track event at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway. As testament to the popularity of the event, all fifty track day slots were full months in advance. Event partner SpeedForSale.com handled the logistics of the day. Late-model 350Zs sliced and diced alongside vintage generations on the challenging road course. Instructors were on-hand to help drivers lower their lap times. Yokohama sent Chet “the Advan guy” Plewacki to ensure participants got the most from their rubber. At day's end, participants stashed their helmets and swapped tires to caravan to a pizza parlor and reflect on the day’s activities. Saturday’s popular open house, car show, and dyno competition was held at the expansive Z1 Motorsports facility. Hundreds of Z’s and G’s packed the parking lot and service bays. As in past years, the day included a comprehensive car show, dyno competition, and Z1 model eye candy, but new this year was an Xbox 360 Forza Motorsport showdown. Two historic IMSA Nissans- the #83 GTP ZX Turbo and the #76 300ZX - provided high-tech eye candy for the history buffs. Event partner Garrett spread out an array of turbo hardware to ogle.
The highlight of the car show was when Nissan North America arrived with a pre-production 2009 GT-R. Suddenly, everyone’s shorts were made of iron as they were drawn to the GT-R’s magnetic field. The Nissan reps discouraged drooling on the bodywork, but they did indulge a lucky few with a demo ride in the newborn Godzilla. Since the beautiful morning sunshine was replaced with a monsoon, the riders appreciated the GT-R’s all-wheel-drive on the wet pavement. The day closed with a cruise to nearby Maple Street Mansion for dinner and an awards show.
On Sunday, participants drove to Atlanta Dragway for some NOPI Georgia NDRA Series action. The cool and wet conditions did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the participants. Car show and drag participants tested their mettle against other makes and models present at the NOPI event.
This year was the forth incarnation of the Z1 Nationals, and with the hard work of Russell Floyd and the whole crew at Z1 Motorsports, each Z Nationals outdoes the last. Start making your plans for next spring to “get your Z on.” Next year’s worship at the Temple of Z is sure to not disappoint.