It seems like the name “NISMO” has pulled mixed emotions as of late. From seeing the NISMO name plate on the side of lifted trucks to seeing it on full race prepped GT-R’s, it’s been difficult to define exactly what NISMO means. In case you didn’t’ know NISMO is the combination of NISsan and MOtorsports, put the two together and you have a name that is recognized across the world, NISMO. In the U.S. however, NISMO seemed to have lost its “Motorsports” luster. Thankfully, a handful of guys in the right places recognized this and decided it was their goal to bring NISMO back to it’s roots and put the emphasis on performance.
What better way to express this message than to invite Nissan owners from around the United States out to legendary racetracks and have them drive NISMO equipped vehicles to their limits? On top of that, why not make the entire day free? That’s exactly what the NISMO Performance Academy is all about.
“Our Idea behind this NISMO Performance Academy is to bring our customers out, reward them for being loyal Nissan owners, have them bring friends along; hopefully convert them into loyal Nissan owners and really turn them into more than just owners but evangelists for us.”– Carl Phillips
Some of the highlights of the NISMO Performance Academy include:
Needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this. We met the program up for their stop at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut for the second destination of their tour.
After all the owners arrived, the attendees were broken up into groups and rotated around stations at the track. The day immediately started off for us on the skid pad where we got to push the 370Z to its limits and make it slide on a skid pad. Because the 370Z is such a well-balanced car to begin with, the skipped had to be watered down to keep the speeds low and the traction as loose as possible.
After our time in the 370Z around the skid pad we immediately headed over to Autocross course where we got to push the new NISMO Juke to its limits. Not only was this one of the best parts of the day, but also the person with the quickest Autocross time of the day went home with some pretty sweet prizes.
After our stint on the Autocross course, we were paraded around areas of the track in a train of GT-R’s with the instructor in the lead car teaching us some racing fundamentals. Threshold braking, proper racing line, and weight balance, were just a few of the items we got to explore in the GT-R’s.
Once that was completed, the instructors invited Nissan owners to take their cars on the track with a game of follow the leader. As long as the group could keep on the racing line and on pace with the instructor he would push each lap faster and faster. As soon as the group fell off the pace, the instructor would slow down the lead car and make sure everyone was inline and hitting the right spots on the track. You know that phrase, “practice makes perfect?” well it doesn’t. The truth is, “Perfect, practice makes perfect” and that’s exactly what the instructors are looking for throughout track sessions in the day.
After the owner’s had the chance to drive their cars around the track, it was time to put them in NISMO 370Z’s and GT-R’s and take them at speed. Every person who got seat time in these cars were beyond impressed, but I was especially impressed with the NISMO 370Z and its SynchroRev Match synchronized downshift rev-matching. The downshifts were automatically and perfectly rev matched on every downshift. Even if I skipped a gear and went from the top of 5th all the way down to 3rd it was perfect. The balance of the car was never upset and the NISMO 370z just kept asking for more.
If you haven’t signed up for the NISMO Performance Academy yet you owe it to yourself to sign up immediately. This is one opportunity you do not want to let pass you by.