Based in Sydney, DM Motorsport specialises in the tuning of race engines, chassis, and suspension setups and tailor-made engineering work for track cars. But what if one of the holy grails of engineering such as a factory Nissan 350Z GT300 car crosses your path? Well, you simply buy the car and do it what it was built for: racing. We chatted with Dale Malone after his first real race with the iconic Nismo racer.
DALE MALONE AND HIS EXCLUSIVE MOTUL NISSAN 350Z GT300: “DURABILITY IS THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL RACING”
Dale, this is a very rare car, not only to purchase but certainly to race. What’s the story behind it?
The car is an original factory racer from the GT300 category, assembled by the Nismo Factory racing team in Japan, in close collaboration with Motul. The base is a 350Z, but it has been fully modified, so there’s not much of the original car left. It used to race in the official Japanese GT300 series from 2005 until 2011.
And how were you able to purchase the car?
After it’s race career in Japan, the car was bought by Joe Chan, the Canadian importer of Motul who shipped it to Canada and kept it in private storage for almost a decade. I was lucky to buy the car from him and shipped it to Sydney, Australia. The car has travelled quite a distance [laughs]. And I was lucky, as there are only four running cars worldwide.
As it hasn’t been running for such a long time and the parts are mostly tailor-made, how did you tackle that?
I was able to buy a truckload of original racing parts that came with the car. That’s why I have many spare parts. Besides, I have my own engineering company so, in case of emergency, we can recreate some parts ourselves.
If you look at this factory racer, is there a big difference between the cars you used to race in?
Oh yes, the level of detail and precision of engineering that has been put into this car by the Nismo racing team is stunning. We could not have reached the same level of refinement with our own engineers. It must be said, we are not a factory neither nor have the same budgets. But you can really see and feel the decades of racing development and dedication to improvement Nissan has put into this car. It is a true performance car. It was tuned for 500+ hp at the crank, but in this class, the 350Z was restricted to 300hp at the wheels.
You’ve recently drove it in preparation of the Australian World Time Attack Challenge. How was it?
It was the first time the car saw a track again after a decade of storage. We competed in the 2022 Plazmaman Pro-Am Class. Initially our training day went very well, but on Saturday the car experienced some oscillation at the front spoiler at speeds above 240+ kmh. That’s why we chose not to start during the race day and to focus on finding the issue first. If you are travelling at these kinds of speeds, you can’t take any risk.
This livery seems a mix of historic and new colours, correct?
Yes, we chose to honour the iconic past of the car, but also refer to the latest livery of the new GT500 car which is bi-colored red and black. We went for a red livery, with the back in the classic black colour. I think it looks fresh and appealing now and it’s a tribute to all the previous liveries which were updated every year.
What races will you compete in next?
We will participate in some local GT Endurance events, and race in Sydney Motorsport Park and in Philip Island.
How is the car mechanically and do you still use Motul’s products?
As I said, a factory racer is next level in terms of engineering. Mechanically, the car is still in perfect shape. We nearly didn’t have to change any setup, not even the ECU. As the engine and the car was developed by Nismo in very close collaboration with Motul’s engineers, it was an obvious choice to stick to Motul’s premium products. We use the Motul 300V for the engine, but also the Motul Gear Oil, RBF 660 brake fluid, differential oil, and the coolant MoCool. We are not new to the brand, we also use Motul’s products for all our gearboxes we install in client’s racecars, as it has proven to be the most reliable racing oil in the past and our manufacturer HGT Precision prescribes it. Simply stated, durability is the key to successful racing, that’s why we prefer Motul.