Nissan/Datsun having been selected as the featured marque for the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Speedfest vintage races at the upcoming 2018 Classic Motorsports Mitty vintage festival, where legendary Datsun/Nissan race driver John Morton will serve as the grand marshal.
Now in its 41st year, the Mitty festival which is the longest-running vintage & historic race in the U.S. returns to the celebrated Road Atlanta road course over the weekend of the 26 to the 29th April – same weekend as the GTROC London Meet at the Ace Cafe London!
The bespectacled Morton is best known best for driving a BRE Datsun 510 to a pair of Sports Car Club of America titles in the Under 2.5-liter Trans-Am series & also winning a pair of two SCCA C-Production championships in a BRE Datsun 240Z. These early racing successes in 1970, 71 & 72 put Nissan on the U.S. racing map proving to the world that the 510 & 240Z were capable of defeating highly regarded European makes like Alfa Romeo & BMW. Morton’s Datsuns wore the Brock Racing Enterprises red, white & blue livery, a classic paint scheme that has spawned countless numbers of tribute BRE 510s around the country.
The popular & talented Morton’s success with Nissan went far beyond BRE. Some 15 years later he joined Nissan’s IMSA-dominating GTP ZX-Turbo program, sharing a car with Geoff Brabham in 1988 that defeated the mighty Porsche 962s & won at challenging circuits such as Road America & Watkins Glen. Later in 1994 Morton bolstered his competitive legacy by teaming with Steve Millen & Johnny O’Connell to win the 12 Hours of Sebring in a GTS-class Nissan 300ZX, which was followed by a class victory – & 5th overall finish – at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Morton said :
“I’m excited to be going to Atlanta, it’s a real honor to be named grand marshal. Road Atlanta is right up there with the best road racing tracks in the country, so I’m pleased to be honored in this way. Nissan has a tremendous racing heritage that goes back even before BRE, but it really blossomed under BRE in 1970 & continued through the GTP era. Nissan has a tremendous amount of racing credibility. An awful lot of people still support Nissan & Datsun in racing today, & most of that enthusiasm goes back 50 years. Road Atlanta is particularly special to me because it’s the track where the Nissan IMSA GTP team started an eight-race win streak back in 1988.”
A member of multiple motorsport halls of fame, Morton is a regular on the vintage race circuit & has competed often with HSR, the sanctioning body for the Mitty. As grand marshal, Morton will sign autographs in the Classic Motorsports tent, but he also will race an exact replica of his No. 46 BRE 240Z. Morton said the Z – beautifully built by Georgian Randy Jaffe – is a faithful recreation of the original Z he drove to two SCCA titles, but unfortunately no longer exists.
Celebrating its status as the featured marque, Nissan North America is bringing several historic cars to the event highlighted by the original No. 46 Datsun 510 that Morton drove to the 1971 & 1972 SCCA. Other classic Nissans on display will include the No. 83 GTP ZX-Turbo nicknamed “Elvis” for its on-track dominance in 1988 & the 1990 PPG Indy series pace car. Plus a 1971 240Z & a 1995 300ZX twin turbo, an SMZ special edition from Steve Millen’s shops.