NISMO NEWS - May 7, 2018
- Nissan wins Fuji Super GT 500km
- Heimgartner scores best Supercars finish
- Busy week for Nissan-powered prototype cars
- Blancpain GT Series Asia heads to Thailand
NISSAN TAKES SUPER GT VICTORY AT FUJI SPEEDWAY
Fuji International Speedway, Japan – Nissan scored gold during "Golden Week" in Japan at the latest round of the Super GT Championship with Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda taking their first victory of the year.
The duo started third with Quintarelli grabbing the lead of the race before the end of the first lap last Friday.
Despite losing the lead towards the end of the first stint, the Italian/Japanese combination fought hard. Matsuda's quick in-lap before the second stop – combined with a stunning out-lap by Quintarelli – put the No. 23 Motul Autech GT-R back in the race lead.
From there, it was just a matter of maintaining the tyres until the checkered flag.
"It's really an amazing victory," Quintarelli said.
"I tried to push very hard on the start. I had a very good reaction to the lights, a very good start.
"On the formation lap, I worked hard on warming the tyres so I could fight the two cars in front of me. Of course, if they block you it's not easy, but I was much quicker into turn one, and I overtook one car, and the other on the second half of the track.
"Coming back after one lap and being P1 motivated me a lot and I kept pushing. But at the end of the stint, and especially in the traffic, I started to lose grip, Kovalainen had better pace, so he overtook me.
"We had three stints in this race, and I was confident that in the second stint Tsugio could jump in the car and do a good job as well.
"I knew that if I had a good out-lap I could come out in front of Kovalainen, and the tyres would work much better compared to the first stint with the rubber on the track so I could defend the first position.
"The competition is very high with both drivers and manufacturers. There's such a high level at all the races, but we have a very good team and NISMO is working hard. One victory in two races, and now we're leading the championship, it's amazing."
Also flying the Nissan flag in the top 10 were Jann Mardenborough and Daiki Sasaki in the No. 12 Calsonic Team Impul machine in sixth and the No. 3 NDDP Racing B-Max Nissan of Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo in tenth.
Mardenborough, for his part, took five positions in his first stint, bringing the car up to seventh before the pit stop. An additional spot gained in the closing stages of the race gave the team their first top 10 of the season.
JP de Oliveira and Mitsunori Takaboshi brought the No. 24 Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 home 13th.
Nissan also scored its first GT300 podium of the season with Hiro Yasuda and Katsuyuki Hiranaka taking third place aboard the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
HEIMGARTNER LEADS NISSAN SUPERCARS CHARGE
Barbagallo Raceway, Perth, Western Australia, Australia – Nissan Motorsport has claimed a pair of top 10 results to conclude the Perth SuperSprint at Barbagallo Raceway.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship team showed impressive qualifying pace, with three Altimas starting inside the Top 10 for Sunday's race.
Andre Heimgartner scored his best finish since joining the Nissan squad at the start of the year, with the No. 7 machine crossing the line an impressive eighth.
"It was good to be racing up the front and having some speed," Heimgartner said.
"We'll take that confidence forward and hopefully be fast in the next few rounds.
"My engineer and I tried a lot of things over the weekend and we think we hit on a good direction, so Winton will be a good place to keep making progress."
Rick Kelly utilized an unconventional four-stop strategy to claim Nissan's second top 10 of the weekend. Qualifying fifth on the grid, Kelly dropped down the order during a caution period. He fought back in the remainder of the race, particularly after his final stop. Kelly spent the remaining 17 laps using new tyres to his advantage to climb to the 10th position.
Simona De Silvestro recorded her best-ever result in Supercars during the weekend, as the No. 78 Team Harvey Norman driver crossed the line in 12th position. Starting from 21st on the grid, De Silvestro managed her tyres extremely well and kept out of any drama across the race.
Michael Caruso's race was determined on the first lap with the No. 23 entry suffered major steering damage through contact on lap one.
The next round of the Championship is the Winton SuperSprint, 18-20 May.
PROTOTYPE ACTION FOR NISSAN TAKING PLACE AROUND THE WORLD
Nissan's multi-class, multi-engine prototype program is in the midst of a busy two weeks around the world in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the European Le Mans Series and the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
The ByKOLLES team scored its best-ever FIA WEC result at Spa-Francorchamps with a fourth-place finish by the Nissan-powered team. Tom Dillmann, Dominik Kraihamer and Oliver Webb crossed the line in fifth position but gained another position after post-race scrutineering penalised one of its rivals.
The team is scheduled to again test at Spa this month with it's 3.0-liter turbo V6 - VRX30A evo.- powered entry before setting its sights on June's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Mid-Ohio, the Nissan-powered ESM team had a challenging weekend – crossing the line in ninth and tenth place.
The team's day got off to a rough start on the opening lap with Johannes van Overbeek earning a drive-through penalty for contact and Scott Sharp also having to pit early after contact on the opening lap – fortunately not with his teammate.
The team will now prepare for the streets of Belle Isle, Detroit for the next round on June 1-2 with its GT-R GT3-based VR38 engine package.
Nissan's LMP3 class engine will hit the track at Monza this weekend for both the European Le Mans Series and the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
The VK50 race engine is used by every entrant in the LMP3 class with a total of 40 engines powering a variety of LMP3 chassis across the two championships this weekend.
NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 HEADS TO THAILAND
Chang International Circuit, Thailand – After scoring its first Super GT podium last week, the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 will also be in action in the Blancpain GT Series Asia this weekend at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
The newly-evolved machine has showed impressive pace so far this year including wins in Japan's Super Taikyu Series.
Both pairs of KCMG team drivers sit in the top 10 in points after the opening round with former GT Academy winner Florian Strauss and Edoardo Liberati in eighth place followed by Super GT ace Tsugio Matsuda and Yukinori Taniguchi in ninth.
Matsuda will be looking to put his circuit experience to good use this weekend in Thailand. The Chang International Circuit is also home to a round of the Super GT championship.
HIGH RES DOWNLOADS
Download images from last week's Super GT and Supercars events along with preview images for this week's Michelin Le Mans Cup and Blancpain GT Series Asia races.
Look back at Friday's Super GT victory for Nissan at Fuji by Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda.
- Blancpain GT Series Asia, Chang International Circuit, Thailand
- European Le Mans Series/Le Mans Cup, Monza, Italy
- Super GT, Suzuka, Japan
- Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Silverstone, England
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, Victoria, Australia
- Pirelli World Challenge, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada