If you recognize the name Chris Forsberg it's probably from behind the wheel of a sideways Nissan. The driver has won Formula Drift three times and currently drives a 1300-horsepower 2023 Nissan Z in the series. This weekend, Forsberg will be sending up roostertails of dust, not tire smoke, as he takes off in a Nissan Frontier on the Baja peninsula.
Nissan and Forsberg will enter a mostly stock Frontier pickup into the NORRA 500. As the name implies, the two-day off-road race covers 500 miles, crossing Mexico east to west to east, from Ensenada, Baja California to San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez, and back to Ensenada.
The Frontier will compete in the stock vehicle class, but rules allow for optional accessories to be added. As such, a slew of Nismo-branded off-road gear has been bolted onto the truck, including a Nismo high-performance suspension and lift kit, auxiliary lights and rock sliders. Bead-lock 17-inch wheels are also from the Nismo catalog, and are wrapped in the very excellent Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 tires (I have a set on my FJ60 Land Cruiser).
After the race Nissan plans to park it as-is in the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center for SEMA week, alongside Forsberg's aforementioned Z, a V8-powered Frontier, and a bonkers 2,000-horsepower Altima dubbed the "Altimaniac."
Back in the 1980s Nissan trucks were a common sight in off-road races like the Baja 1000. Competition began with the Nissan 720, which was succeeded by Nissan Hardbody. The latter took home top trophies in the Baja 1000, Mint 400 and Gold Coast 300. It's no wonder Nissan revived the Hardbody as a throwback Frontier trim earlier this year.
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