NEWS: Nissan reveals 370Z Clubsport 23 ahead of SEMA 2018

Nissan has revealed a new enthusiast-oriented Z variant ahead of the 2018 SEMA show.  With the 400-horsepower 370Z Project Clubsport 23, Nissan is considering offering an official tuning package for the Z. The company intends to use this year’s SEMA to gauge interest in the “builder’s kit” to be offered at Nissan dealers, one that includes modern performance and retro styling modifications to goose some excitement out of the aging Z platform.

Nissan says that the goal of the Clubsport 23, was to “create a vehicle that owners could duplicate themselves using Nissan Motorsports or aftermarket parts,” but warns that what you see at SEMA this week “might be significantly different months from now as parts for the vehicle are continuously developed.”  Just like a “project car [that] would not seem out of place in the parking lot of any weekend gathering of Datsun and Nissan Z-car enthusiasts,” the Project Clubsport 23 “is an ongoing parts development platform.”

Perhaps the most significant change is the VR30DDTT engine, swapped from an Infiniti Q50/Q60 Red Sport 400. Though down 0.7 liters from the stock VQ37VHR, it gains 50 horsepower over the 370Z NISMO thanks to the VR30’s twin-turbo setup. Power is channeled through a clutch and flywheel pack developed by MA Motorsports of Baltimore, a 6-speed manual, and NISMO carbon-disc 2-way LSD.

We appreciate the styling cues that throw back to the Datsun 240Z, like the Gloss Burnt Orange color and diamond-stitching interior. And of course, the “23” in the name is an inside joke referring to the racing number favored by Nissan — in Japanese, two is pronounced ni and three is pronounced san.

The rest of the mods read like any weekend wrencher’s to-do list — cold air intake, blow-off valves, coilovers, Sparco seats and harness, and exhaust, (which exits out the rear fascia). Z1 Motorsports out of Atlanta developed 2-piece brake rotors, stainless lines, radiator and intercooler for the kit, and Rays supplied 18 x 10.5 wheels.

Though we are all eager to see a new Z continue its lineage, it’s great to see Nissan making greater efforts to support enthusiasts and shadetree tuners. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Z, and hopefully we will have some good news about the sports car icon.


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17 Responses to NEWS: Nissan reveals 370Z Clubsport 23 ahead of SEMA 2018

  1. Gwynn says:

    Seems like a great combo to extend the life of this platform. But can they price it at a reasonable level? This could be a $20,000 premium easily.

    I haven’t cared for the Z in a long time; mainly due them being so similar visually to the 350z that started way back in 2003. Old news. The extra power/torque from the fresh motor in a time when everything is turbocharged would keep it competitive if they can keep pricing under control. Still has that all-important manual too which is a win for enthusiasts and a slap in the face for Toyota and their upcoming flagship.

    Build it Nissan!

  2. Mark Newton-John says:

    The Z will not really be in competition for the Supra, since the Supra will cost more and (should) have higher performance. And since it unlikely that Toyota/Subaru will not put more power in the 86/BRZ, those cars will not challenge the Z. So unless Toyota decides to make a W30 MR-2 that has more power than the 86, the only possible competition for the Z would be an RX-9.

  3. Mark Newton-John says:

    Sorry, but a regular manual is falling into the past like spark advance on your steering wheel. Even F1 doesn’t use manual transmissions. A well sorted auto with paddles gives you way faster shifts without having to coordinated hands, legs, and feet; just a flick of the fingers and you’re golden. Plus of course it is important to the company in these days of corporate CAFE averages. Plus anyone who has driven in SoCal traffic appreciates not having to constantly shift up and down so that your left leg is numb by the time you get to work.
    So embrace the ease of shifting (or not) and let your fingers do the walking.

    • Mark Newton-John says:

      Oops, I meant a W40 MR2. Forgot there was already a ZZW30 MR2.

    • Mike in Long Beach says:

      Give me a dual clutch auto for track days and a torque converter auto for around town. But for fun weekend drives I’ll take a sweet shifting manual any day. It’s called driving. But I suppose if I had to deal with city traffic on a regular basis and only had one car, the dual clutch would probably be my first (sad) choice.

    • dbdr says:

      “Yes, let’s take a big part of driving out and sacrifice all the fun for a couple of milliseconds on paper. Great idea!”

      People like you who think in numbers are insanely boring. No one cares if the automatic is slightly faster, because shifting is fun – and fun is what matters, not speed. Automatics are for the disabled and lazy, and it’s sad that they are being applied to sports cars these days.

      • Mark Newton-John says:

        Somehow, shifting is not the fun part, the driving is. If that was the casr then do you think F1 should go back to the 1970 rules?

        • dbdr says:

          I’m not sure what F1 has to do with this, but yes, I think F1 should go back to the 70s rules. Maybe then I could actually watch a race without falling asleep.

          And about the actual point, shifting is a major part of driving so taking it out obviously makes driving less fun. Since you like automatics, would you also want a fully autonomous racecar? You could just sit there doing nothing, and I’m sure you’d be going much faster.

  4. BlitzPig says:

    I’ll keep my manual thanks. Paddles on a street car are boring. I want to be engaged with my drive, to be connected to my car, every time I drive it. I’m not trying to eek out that last .001 of a second that I would gain with a paddle, as I’m not trying to get the pole position at an F1 race.

    I’v driven a fair amount of exotic, and less so, paddle shift cars, and they all have one thing in common, from Ferrari to VW, on the street, they are BORING.


  5. MattD says:

    Those boobs should just build the damn iDX we all want.

  6. alvin says:

    This is cute.
    I do think it’s a really cool car…for 2009. Love the exhaust and engine swap…but OMG that interior. I had to laugh.
    I just don’t get Nissan. The Z34 has not changed in a decade. Every other sports car evolved while this one crescendo’d with a 2018 “Bumblebee edition”.

    I applaud the “effort” though, as dismal as it looks from an OEM.

    Can you imagine if Ford did something like this now? “Hey, let’s take our 2005 S197 Mustang and put a Coyote motor in it from a S550 Mustang! “We will call it “super retro”. AND you can build one at your local Ford Dealer.”


  7. The 370Z kind of reminds me of the Mercedes R107 SL. It’s a fantastic car that has been around for a very long time and that hurts the excitement over it.

    Hopefully when the next one comes out it is closer to the original Z cars and is meant to battle the BRZ/86 and Miata.

    This might be my favorite factory 370Z yet though, which lends me to feel like it’s even more like the R107 since the best versions were the later ones in my opinion.

  8. Joe Mushashi says:

    They really need to update the 370Z and Frontier like the rest of their line-up.

    • BlitzPig says:

      Well they do need updating, but please, not like the rest of Nissan’s utterly boring range of vehicles here in North America.

  9. Alfie says:

    Whats the tyres specs on those wheels?

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