NISMO NEWS - April 9, 2018
- Nissan fightback at Okayama in Super GT
- KCMG announce Blancpain GT Series Asia line-up
- Prototype action in LM P1, LM P3 and IMSA
Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 squads fight back at Okayama
Okayama International Circuit, Japan – The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 squads pulled off a great fightback in the opening round of the Super GT Championship after being struck with an early setback at Okayama.
At the green flag, both JP de Oliveira and Ronnie Quintarelli took the outside line into turn one and gained several positions off the start.
De Oliveira initially slotted into second before Quintarelli repeated the outside line move on his Nissan stablemate to grab second on the opening lap.
The Italian and Brazilian GT-R aces held those positions in the opening laps before both being handed drive-through penalties for allegedly jumping the start.
Satoshi Motoyama settled into fourth place after the penalties aboard the new No. 3 NDDP racing with B-Max entry.
Despite the early setbacks, Quintarelli and de Oliveira fought back through the pack, and both made their pit stops at half race distance to hand over to Tsugio Matsuda and Mitsunori Takaboshi, respectively.
In the later stages of the race, Nissan had three GT-R NISMO GT500 entries running together with Matsuda leading Takaboshi and Katsumasa Chiyo in fifth, sixth and seventh places.
The three entries crossed the line in that order to score a strong handful of points at the opening round.
Despite being third fastest in the warm-up with Jann Mardenborough at the wheel, the No. 12 Team IMPUL entry could not replicate that pace in race conditions with Mardenborough and Daiki Sasaki finishing 14th.
In the GT300, Nissan debuted the new 2018 GT-R NISMO GT3 with Hironobu Yasuda leading the class early in the race for nine laps before finishing fifth with Katsuyuki Hiranaka.
The Super GT stars now have their sights set on the second round of the championship at Fuji International Speedway on May 3-4. The mid-week event which takes place during Japan’s annual “Golden Week” celebrations.
Super GT and GT Academy aces join KCMG Blancpain GT Asia squad
Hong Kong – Nissan GT3 official partner team KCMG has announced their Blancpain GT Series Asia driver lineup for 2018, with Nissan Super GT ace Tsugio Matsuda and former GT Academy winner Florian Strauss joining the fold.
Yukinori Taniguchi, Edoardo Liberati and Alex Imperatori will be joining Strauss and Matsuda in the team.
KCMG’s pair of 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 machines will enter the Pro/Am and Silver/Silver grids. Imperatori and Matsuda – who both scored LMP2 victories for KCMG in the FIA World Endurance Championship – will co-pilot the Pro/Am car with Yukinori Taniguchi.
The Japanese duo will represent KCMG in the series’ first (Malaysia) and second (Thailand) events, while Imperatori will take over driving duties from Matsuda in the remaining rounds slated to take place in Japan and China.
“I’m very happy to once again represent KCMG, this time in Blancpain GT Series Asia running the new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3," Matsuda said.
"I have been part of the KCMG family since 2014 and have raced for them in Asian Le Mans Series, FIA WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"I’m confident that the entire crew, from the mechanics to our engineers, will do a great job to provide my teammates and I with a winning package this season."
Liberati and Strauss, who are both making their Blancpain GT Series Asia debut this season, are set to reinforce the team’s 2018 Blancpain GT programme with their formidable Silver/Silver pairing.
“I’m delighted and would like to thank Paul Ip and KCMG for giving me this opportunity to be involved in their Blancpain effort with NISMO this season,” Strauss said.
“I have experience with the old car, so I’m looking forward to see and feel the difference of the new version.
The upcoming season will be a new challenge for me given that I’m unfamiliar with some of the circuits, but I’m confident that with the team’s experience from last year, they will help me prepare as best as they can.”
The first round of the Blancpain GT Asia Series is April 14-15 at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.
Prototype stars ready for battle at Long Beach and Paul Ricard
Nissan will power prototypes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean this week at two dramatically different circuits in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup.
The Nissan-powered ESM squad will head to Long Beach in the USA to do battle around the concrete-lined California streets for the third round of the IMSA championship.
In France at Circuit Paul Ricard, teams in the European Le Mans Series and the Michelin Le Mans Cup championships in the Nissan-powered LMP3 category will face dramatically different conditions.
The French circuit is renowned for its vast run-off areas – marking a stark difference to Long Beach where one small mistake can cause dire consequences.
ESM will be looking to add to their success at the 12 Hours of Sebring where the No.2 entry of Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani and Nico Lapierre took the victory.
“I’m super excited to come to Long Beach,” Derani said.
“It will be my first time in what seems like one of the best street circuits in the world. Last year the team looked strong with a second place finish.
“I hope we can start the weekend with a strong car out of the box and fight for another win!”
A total of 42 Nissan-powered LMP3 cars will be in action at Circuit Paul Ricard—20 entries in the European Le Mans Series and 22 in the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
Joining the Michelin Le Mans Cup for the first time will be former GT Academy winner Ricardo Sanchez. The Mexican racer will drive for SPV Racing in a Nissan-powered Ligier.
Sanchez’s prototype program is in addition to his Blancpain GT Series commitments with GT Sport Motul Team RJN.
“I can’t wait to kick off the season, and I’m extremely fortunate to be able to compete in GT cars in the GT3 category and prototypes in LM P3—both with NISMO power,” Sanchez said.
“I had my first prototype race at the end of last year at Paul Ricard so I have an idea what to expect. It really is a fantastic opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to showing what I can do.
“With 22 cars in the class it is going to be very competitive, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
This week’s prototype actions follows last week’s FIA WEC prologue test also at Paul Ricard. The Nissan-powered byKolles team finished the test sixth fastest overall. The first round of FIA WEC will be staged at Spa-Francorchamps on May 5.
HIGH RES DOWNLOADS
Download images from the opening round of the 2018 Super GT Championship at Okayama, last week's FIA WEC test as well as a high res image of Nissan's LM P3 engine.
Check out the highlights of last weekend's Super GT championship round at Okayama.
- European Le Mans Series, Circuit Paul Ricard, France
- IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Long Beach, California, USA
- Blancpain GT Series Asia, Sepang, Malaysia
- Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Monza, Italy
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia