Japan Grand Prix, The Early Days

japangp
Continuing on the motorsports theme, our next stop is at the Japan Grand Prix. This one comes by way of banpei and appears to be a DVD about the race. Unfortunately embedding was disabled so you’ll have to click on the links below to watch the videos.

1963_japan_gp_fairlady_roadsterPart 1 starts off with the first ever Japan Grand Prix, held at the newly constructed Suzuka Circuit in 1963. It was first race of its kind and also the first major event to be held at Suzuka, so expectations were running high for a domestic manufacturer to win for the home team.

And Nissan did not disappoint. In the Sports Car B-II class (which included cars of up to 2.5 liters), the famous No. 39 Fairlady 1500 Roadster with Genichi Tahara behind the wheel took first place, beating out a field of Triumphs, MGs and Fiats.

japan_gp_touring_carsThis was followed by the Touring Class, which oddly enough meant big sedans. Here, Toyota fans will be pleased to learn that an S40 Crown beat out an Isuzu Bellel, Ford Taunus and a field of Nissan Cedrics and Prince Glorias (Nissan and Prince were yet to merge) to take the checkered flag.

1964_japan_gp
As a result of the Fairlady’s success, the 1964 field was flooded with them. Unfortunately, the GT-II class allocation put them in contention against six-cylinder Prince Skyline GT-Bs. A Porsche 904 ultimately won, with a pair of Skylines rounding out the top three.

1967_japangpYou can watch Part 2, but this is getting a bit long, so we’ll continue with the analysis of Part 2 in the next post.

UPDATE: Nevermind, let’s continue here, since the rest of the video, is completely devoted to¬† the 1967 GP anyway. As you can see, by then the cars have stopped resembling road cars at all. Prince came to the table with the R390 prototype racers. It was a fiercely contested battle but in the end a Porsche Carrera 6 won the day, with two Prince R380s supplementing the podium.

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5 Responses to Japan Grand Prix, The Early Days

  1. banpei said:

    Great to see you found my posting! :)
    I really enjoyed the Touring class race: it contained some really good fights and a lot of skidding with those big saloons.

  2. GT-R380 said:

    Prince came to the table with the GT-R380!
    now write it out 100 times :)

  3. Ben said:

    Corrected, thanks :)

  4. KPGC10-001218 said:

    Actually, Prince never called those cars “GT-R380″ either…

    For the sports car race at the 1967 ‘Nihon Grand Prix’ meeting, the Prince cars were all ‘R380 AII’ models……

  5. Mike said:

    Wonder if that’s where Nissan took it’s inspiration for the R390 LeMans entries in ’98-’99?