Nuclear Engineer Steve Mott Impresses SEMA Crowd with His 700 Horsepower Nissan 350z

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Steve Mott says he's been using only K&N air filters for many years, on all his cars including his many track cars.

Steve Mott says he's been using only K&N air filters for many years, on all his cars including his many track cars.

"To start with, I am a nuclear engineer by profession, so I am rather a technical guy and a bit of a perfectionist." Steve Mott is indeed a powerful concoction of adrenaline and brains, mixed with shots of micro-detailed perfectionism and an insatiable need for speed. He's an agreeable contradiction of categories and perceptions and his life is significantly fuller as a result.

Steve Mott's Nissan 350z is not a show car, there are scratches, dents, scrapes and other imperfections that prove that it's driven and driven hard.

Steve Mott's Nissan 350z is not a show car, insists Steve Mott, there are scratches, dents, scrapes and other imperfections that prove that the car is not a trailer queen, but a car that is driven and driven hard.

"2013 was my first ever SEMA event," Mott said. "I got there as I was chosen to participate in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) by winning the "Spirit of the Event" award at the 2013 Silver State Classic Challenge. I had a great time there at SEMA, and would be pleased to be invited back by any sponsor whose products that I use on my vehicle. I think my car garnered its fair share of attention at SEMA, even among the other great cars there. Most of the cars there at the show are 'trailer queens,' and will never see track time or be abused like in the OUSCI or driven almost flat out for 90 miles such as in the Silver State Classic races. To have a street legal 700hp Nissan 350Z is rather rare, I think."

"Every modification that I have done on the car has had a legitimate performance purpose, be it more power, better handling, more downforce, better braking, better reliability, weight reduction or better safety (well, maybe except for the vanity plate - '350Z TT' - the TT is for twin turbo of course)."

Street legal 700hp Nissan 350z featured at SEMA

Street legal 700hp Nissan 350z featured at SEMA

Mott started his alterative career road racing motorcycles in the early 1980's, at legendary tracks like Sears Point, Willow Springs and the old Riverside raceway. "It was great fun," he admits, "But a few falls from high speed told me that maybe it was better to race something with a cage around me."

So he started out auto-crossing in a Mazda RX-7, and even became a SCCA Auto-X instructor. He did well, winning a South Florida Sports Car Club C-Stock championship. But he wanted more seat time than just 40 seconds at a time. "In 1988 I took a Skip Barber 3-day competition school at Sebring. From then on, I was hooked," remarks Mott.

Mott went on to race numerous SCCA races and earned several competition licenses, including a SCCA National license, an IMSA license, and an FIA International license. "I earned a professional level license and drove in the 1994 12 Hours of Sebring," he adds. "I later obtained licenses from NASA, ASA and even a Mexican rally license. I won my class in the first rally that I entered, the Chihuahua Express in Mexico in 2008. I also entered the 25 hours of Thunderhill in 2008, but our car developed problems and did not finish."

Although Mott's SEMA featured Nissan 350z is not considered a full-on racecar, he has logged quite a few track days on it, as he's also a performance driving instructor with ProAutoSports in Phoenix. "I have done well in Time Attacks too," he adds, "Having twice been on the podium in the Redline Time Attack series with the car. In fact, my driving ability at one of the Redline events got me some sponsorship. That is how I ended up adding a Jim Wolf Technology twin turbo kit to the car."

This SEMA worthy 700 horsepower Nissan 350z is owned by Steve Mott

This SEMA worthy 700 horsepower Nissan 350z is owned by Steve Mott

"After I had gained so much power, I had to do so many other modifications to the car to have the other systems able to remain reliable. You can imagine that a car originally designed for 287hp, and now having somewhere around 700hp (at the crank), needs a few more mods to keep it viable. I have gone through dozens of mods to make the rest of the car be able to cope with all the power, including much bigger brakes, a special one-off clutch, and a stouter differential, thermal wrapping to protect hoses and lines and much beefier cooling. Cooling has been the most difficult problem to solve."

"The car is still a work in progress," Mott continues. "And being I am a perfectionist, it may never quite be finished. I am also picky about handling and I've gone through four different suspensions trying to find one that I liked. The car is quite fast and handles reasonably well, it's faster than a stock Nissan GT-R and Lotus Elise on the race tracks that I have driven. Yet, the car is still street-able and still has factory A/C, factory radio with CD player and the factory navigation system. It even retains the headliner and original carpeting even while sporting a four-point roll bar, racing seats and six-point harnesses. It truly is an 'ultimate street car.'"

"I have used K&N air filter products for years, and have had them in all of my sports cars and track cars over the years. K&N air filters are efficient and long lasting, while reasonably priced. I love the fact that they are able to be cleaned and re-used. They certainly flow more air than the stock filters and make more power. I am happy to promote K&N products, and they have been a long-time sponsor of the Silver State Challenge events."

Mott has been competing in the Silver State Classic Challenge since 2004 in his Nissan 350z, entering 20 open road races, and winning his class five times, including an overall win in 2011. He's also had several 2nd and 3rd place finishes. "I was the 2008 International Series Champion," he informs. "In 2008, I also became the Chief of Tech for the Silver State Classic Challenge events. This was in part due to my engineering background, but I also saw that emphasis on safety was lacking, and I thought I might be able to do something to help that situation."


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