Home Engine Swaps Nissan’s Clubsport 23 Project engine swap *might* point to the way to the next Z

Nissan’s Clubsport 23 Project engine swap *might* point to the way to the next Z

2018-11-03

Nissan has a problem: not only is the 370Z not selling but there isn’t any replacement on the horizon – officially. There have been rumors, there have been leaks (most recently from Nissan of Australia claiming a new Z was on the way), and there has even been an organized leak (Jay Leno visited the Nissan design studio several years ago, and concept sketches of a potential new Z were clearly shown behind him). But nothing official.

The good news is platform sharing: the 370Z is built on the same “FM” (Nissan code for “front-mid”) platform as the INFINITI Q50/Q60/Q70 (formerly the G37 and also shared with the FX35/50). This means consumer costs are lower, development costs are shared across the more expensive INFINITIs, and engines are shared. Or at least engines were shared, because the 3.7-liter VQ37VHR engine in the Q50/60 has recently been replaced by the all-new twin-turbo VR30DDTT V-6 engine (state-of-the-art, although not particularly powerful in its first iteration). So with the 370Z and the Qs sharing a platform, and an assembly line, why not modernize the 370Z by building it with the VR30DDTT engine? Perhaps this combination would be offered in the next Z… it certainly makes financial sense to continue sharing a platform and keeping costs low. And the Q50/60 appears to be settling in for a longer life (especially given the recent showing of the Project Black S concept, which is probably 2 years from production meaning the FM platform will likely be in production for at least 5 more years). But if there has been a decision made about this by Nissan, it hasn’t yet been communicated (or leaked) to the rest of the world. And in the meantime enthusiast interest in the 370Z has been seriously declining… and the competition (Camaro and Mustang) both offer base V-8 engines in the mid-400HP range.  So how to keep Z enthusiasts on the hook until a new Z comes to production?

Enter the Nissan Motorsports Project Clubsport 23 – a 370Z Nismo with a transplanted VR30DDTT engine, with 400 HP – and retaining the 6-speed manual transmission. Nissan claims that the necessary parts for an enthusiast to perform their own swap may be available at some future point in time. What this would cost is an open question… certainly a new VR30DDTT engine would be expensive: Infiniti sells a bare engine without the turbos for $11,900 USD. There there is the cost of the conversion kit, with mounts, radiator, and the engine control computer replacement. So while we are looking at a every expensive swap here, there is already a market of people who spend this type of money on modifying their Zs.

Nissan hasn’t supplied performance numbers for the Clubsport Z, but it certainly intrigues us. And there is certainly more potential inside the VR30DDTT engine. It’s 400 horsepower feels great in the Q60 Red Sports that we’ve tested. But it only makes a very weak 350 pound-feet of torque – although that is probably more a function of INFINITI’s outdated 7-speed auto transmission than it is of the engine’s capability (Lincoln’s 3-liter DOHC V-6 EcoBoost engine makes 400/400, and Cadillac’s ATS-V engine makes 464/445). So more work would be needed here by Nissan to get the engines output raised slightly to the point where the power-to-weight ratio would better the Mustang and Camaro – the current 370Z isn’t exactly a lightweight but it is considerable lighter than the Camaro or Mustang.

And then there is the cost… a “VR30DDTT Z” (do we call it a 300Z?) would approach $50k at least… a Q60 Red Sport is $52k base (granted, with a more luxurious interior). we’ll leave this up to Nissan to figure out… but we will add that we don’t want to see Nissan dumb-down the excellent FM platform – its aluminum intensive suspension is state-of-the-art (even including a double A-arm front suspension that the Camaro and Mustang are notably lacking) and should be preserved.

Meanwhile there are some interesting suspension mods here in the Clubsport to consider and we’re especially interested in the new rims that enable the “square” 285s all around.

Nissan Motorsports Project Clubsport 23

Nissan Motorsports Project Clubsport 23

In our personal experience with the FM platform, including our own 500-HP G37, this new engine and suspension are exactly what’s needed. Bring it on Nissan… and better yet, get a new “300Z” into production!

Read more:

Nissan Press Release and Specifications follows:


Nissan Motorsports Project Clubsport 23 track car debuts at 2018 SEMA show

 
Nissan Motorsports and MA Motorsports create a one-off Project Clubsport 23 rolling parts development platform; combines the latest technology with Z® heritage aesthetics.
 

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – At first look, the Nissan Motorsports Project Clubsport 23 project car would not seem out of place in the parking lot of any weekend gathering of Datsun and Nissan Z® car enthusiasts. However, take a closer look at the Project Clubsport 23, and you’ll discover an amazing amalgamation of OEM, aftermarket and bespoke fabricated parts that may appear someday alone or packaged together at Nissan dealership parts departments.

Nissan Project Clubsport 23
In the search for an ideal, dedicated track only vehicle, the Project Clubsport 23 borrows generously from many of the most respected suppliers of performance parts that are tested and developed in Motorsports. What is shown at the 2018 SEMA Show might be significantly different months from now as parts for the vehicle are continuously developed.

The ultimate goal was to create a vehicle that owners could duplicate themselves using Nissan Motorsports or aftermarket parts. First and foremost, the Project Clubsport 23 is an ongoing parts development platform.

Not available for purchase. Yet.
In building Project Clubsport 23 project, the Nissan Motorsports and MA Motorsports team started just like any Z® enthusiast would – finding a donor body and engine. In this case, the project started with a 2012 Nissan 370Z NISMO. The original 350-horsepower 3.7-liter VQ37VHR engine was replaced by a factory 3.0-liter VR30DDTT twin-turbo V6 rated at 400hp.

To fully engage sports car enthusiasts, it was decided to keep the 370Z NISMO’s 6-speed manual transmission. This was a challenge due to the fact a VR30DDTT has never been coupled to a manual transmission. MA Motorsports managed to develop a clutch disc, cover and flywheel assembly to complete the transition all the way back to the NISMO GT LSD Pro-Carbon 2-way differential, which is cooled by an MA Motorsports Differential Cooler. Much time was spent to ensure the VR30DDTT engine properly communicated with the manual transmission.

The refinements continued, starting with an AMS Performance Cold Air Intake kit and Z1 Motorsports blow-off valves. MA Motorsports fabricated a bespoke dual exhaust system measuring 76 mm in diameter to ensure there was no disruption in airflow from the VR30DDTT engine. The exhaust exits through the rear license plate body panel, which gives the Project Clubsport 23 a unique, motorsports look and feel. To help keep the VR30DDTT powerplant running cool, the factory cooling and steering systems were upgraded with an AMS Performance heat exchanger, MA Motorsports power steering cooler and Z1 Motorsports radiator and intercooler silicone coolant hoses.

The braking system was upgraded using soon-to-be released NISMO HC Street/Track brake pads, Z1Motorsports 2-piece slotted rotors and NISMO stainless steel brake lines. The suspension modifications included a combination of newly released NISMO front and rear suspension components, NISMO 3-piece body brace set, KW Variant 3 coil-over shock kit and Eibach rear springs.

Topping off the project’s go-fast parts are NISMO-branded RAYS cast aluminum-alloy 18×10.5-inch wheels and Hankook RS4 285/35R18 high performance tires. The wheels utilize the latest in RAYS “flow-forming” technology for high quality, strength, durability and affordability. They are expected to be available through Nissan dealerships at a future date.

Depending on interest levels, Nissan Motorsports may offer a “builder’s kit” that consists of hard parts and electrical components to assist customers with building their own ultimate track Z® car.

The inside and outside story
Like the drivetrain, the Project Clubsport 23 body and interior reflect combinations of parts from trusted parts sources and custom fabrication. Dominating the interior are the new-for-2018 Sparco QRT-R competition seats, Sparco 6-point competition harnesses and Sparco R383 steering wheel with Bell Works Rapfix hub. Also featured is a Cabin and Engine Bay fire suppression system, along with a custom welded-in roll cage. The custom upholstery was stitched in a diamond pattern by MA Motorsports, offering a contemporary throwback to the diamond pattern vinyl used in the original 240Z

Finally, the once-stock 370Z NISMO body features a pairing of factory NISMO panels with an APR honeycomb carbon fiber splitter/MA Motorsports air dam, a modified rear bumper to allow better air flow/cooling, JDM rear fog light, Selbon TS-style carbon fiber hood with Aerocatch hood pins and NISMO carbon fiber mirror covers and pillar garnishes.

Finishing off the project is a custom Gloss Burnt Orange body wrap by Speedesign Custom Graphics – giving the Project Clubsport 23 a final glow for its SEMA Show debut.

The 2018 SEMA Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event, takes place October 30 – November 2, 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

To find out more about the 2019 Nissan 370Z Coupe, 370Z Roadster and 370Z NISMO, along with the rest of the Nissan lineup, please visit NissanNews.com.

NISSAN PROJECT CLUBSPORT 23 SPECIFICATIONS 

Supplier

Part

Nissan 

Nissan 370Z NISMO body and chassis

Nissan

3.0-liter VR30DDTT twin-turbo V6 rated at 400hp, 6speed manual transmission

AMS Performance

Cold air intake kit and piping  

Z1 Motorsports/HKS SSQV

Blow-off valves 

MA Motorsports

Dual 76 mm custom exhaust  

MA Motorsports

Power steering cooler  

CV Products

Power steering fluid reservoir  

AMS Performance

Heat exchanger 

Z1 Motorsports

Coolant hoses  

Optima

PC950 Light Weight Battery  

Nissan 

NISMO GT LSD Pro-Carbon 2-way differential

MA Motorsports

Clutch disc and cover, flywheel, differential cooler  

KW

Variant 3 coilover front and rear shock absorbers, front springs  

Eibach

Rear springs  

Nissan

NISMO front and rear suspension components

Nissan

NISMO HC Street/Track brake pads, stainless steel brake lines

Z1 Motorsports

2-piece slotted brake rotors

APR

Honeycomb carbon fiber splitter  

MA Motorsports

Modified Rear Bumper, Front air dam, front and rear tow hooks  

Seibon

TS-style carbon fiber hood with Aerocatch hood pins  

Nissan

NISMO carbon fiber mirror covers and pillar garnishes

Speedesign Custom Graphics

Exterior body wrap  

Sparco

QRT-R competition seats, 6-point harness restraint system, R 383 steering wheel  

Bell Works

Rapfix Steering Wheel Hub 

Cabin and Engine Bay

Fire suppression system

MA Motorsports

Custom diamond pattern upholstery

Hankook

RS4 285/35R18 high performance tires

Rays 

NISMO Cast 18×10.5-inch Flow Formed wheels

 

 

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