Let The Racing Begin
With the U.S. automobile press giving high marks to the 240Z as it made the rounds of the car show circuit in late 1969, many race drivers and teams took notice of the car’s potential. One such team was Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) founded by noted car designer Pete Brock (Cobra Daytona Coupe, Split-Window Corvette). Having already established a good working relationship with Nissan, BRE received one car from the first shipment into the U.S. BRE wasted no time in preparing the car for SCCA Class C Production car competition and, at the end of the 1970 season, they won the class National Championship beating Porsche, Triumph, Alfa and Lotus cars to win.
For the decade of the 1970s, the 240Z and its successors (260Z, 280Z, 280ZX) dominated the SCCA C Production Class, winning consecutive National Championships by drivers John Morton, Bob Sharp, Walt Maas, Elliot Forbes Robinson, Logan Blackburn, Frank Leary and Paul Newman (yes, THAT Paul Newman).
1969 was a key year, not only for the 240Z, but was also the same year a new racing organization was founded— the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). A former SCCA employee, John Bishop, with assistance from NASCAR President Bill France Sr., decided to take a different path for professional sports car racing than the SCCA. Their inaugural season was in 1971, with a series of six races for small production GT, rally and production cars.
In 1972, IMSA attracted a major sponsor, R.J. Reynolds and the series was named the “Camel GT” with Corvettes, Porsches, 240Z, Mustangs, Camaros and other similar models continuing the production based car theme. The 1973 season brought a change in the form of a two class structure, GTO for over 2.5 Liter GT cars and GTU for under 2.5 Liter GT cars. As IMSA continued to grow in popularity, it attracted new fans and drivers alike, with ever increasing prize money and racecars that looked like what could be driven on the street.
Sports car racing was in full bloom across the U.S. during the 1960s so its no wonder that a University of Colorado college student, Brad Frisselle, caught the bug and decided to give it a try.He purchased a Datsun 2000 sports car,in 1970,which he raced in regional SCCA events for the next few years.He qualified for the SCCA Runoffs twice and in 1973, won the Kimberly Cup at the Runoffs,which representedthe driver who hadimproved the most in the past year.