NISMO NEWS - June 4, 2018
- Three-in-a-row top five for Nissan at Paul Ricard
- Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 wins Fuji 24 Hour
- Prototype battles in Le Mans and Detroit
- Bédard takes Micra Cup wins
NISSAN SCORES THIRD PAUL RICARD TOP FIVE IN A ROW
Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – GT Sport Motul Team RJN has scored the third consecutive top-five finish in a row for the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at the Paul Ricard 1000km.
Alex Buncombe, Lucas Ordóñez and Matt Parry took the new 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 from 19th on the grid to fifth place at the chequered flag after the 1000km battle.
Nissan also scored a top five in the Silver Cup class with the previous generation Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 with Struan Moore, Ricardo Sanchez and Jordan Witt also finishing fifth in class.
“That was probably one of the most up and down six-hour races I've ever had, so much going on. One minute we were at the top, the next minute we were at the bottom,” Buncombe said.
“We ended up P5 which is a mega result with all the issues that we had. Lucas got spun during the race and Matt got hit off twice in the last stint, and we also had some issues with the seatbelts at the stops.
“It is great to get a big haul of points at a double points weekend here at Paul Ricard. The car feels great, and I’m looking forward to the Spa 24 hour which is next on the schedule – I think we could be right in the mix.”
The result for the newly-evolved Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 follows recent podium finishes for the car in both Super GT and the Blancpain GT Series Asia championship.
Only five of the 2018-spec GT-Rs are competing across the world this season. Nissan last week announced the new car would be available for order for all customer teams for 2019. Click here for more.
Next up for GT Sport Motul Team RJN will be the Spa 24 Hour test day next month on July 5. The RJN squad will be busy in the interim with its GT-R entry in the British GT championship. Struan Moore continues his championship assault at Silverstone next weekend with Ricardo Sanchez making his British GT debut.
NISSAN TAKES FUJI 24 HOUR VICTORY WITH GT-R NISMO GT3
Fuji Speedway, Japan – The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 has claimed victory in the first 24 race to be held at Fuji International Speedway in 50 years with the “Y’s Distraction GTNET” Nissan customer team victorious in the round three of the Super Taikyu series in Japan.
The winning No. 99 GT-R’s driver line-up included Nissan Super GT GT300 aces Kazuki Hoshino and Hiro Yasuda alongside Teruhiko Hamano, Kiyoto Fujinami and Sun Zheng.
Nissan also dominated qualifying, locking out the front row of the grid with the No. 3 Endless Sports Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 entry taking the pole.
Fifty cars did battle across eight classes at Fuji Speedway in the first 24-race staged at the circuit since 1968. It was also the first 24-hour held in Japan since the Tokachi 24 Hours in 2008.
The No. 3 GT-R held the lead through to Sunday morning before encountering brake issues. The No. 99 then did battle with a pair of Audi R8s and took command of the race after the No. 83 Audi pitted to complete its second mandatory eight-minute maintenance pit stop at 10:30 am – the Y’s Distraction GTNET GT-R having already completed both of its long stops.
The Hoshino/Yasuda/Hamano/Fujinami/Zheng quintet dominated the remainder of the race to take victory by a margin of five laps.
“It was important to stay in contention on the lead lap through the night and prepare for the run to the flag on Sunday,” Hoshino said.
“I was able to tap into my previous experience with Nissan at the Nurburgring 24 Hour to help the team. It is a huge challenge - a 24-hour race with almost no sleeping.”
The victory by Hoshino was the second major 24-hour Nissan victory for his family. His father - Nissan legend Kazuyoshi Hoshino – won the 1992 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
The win also pushed the No. 99 to the top of the point standings in the Super Taikyu championship. The winning GT-R completed 759 laps and drove more than 3,400 kilometres across the 24 hours.
NISSAN-POWERED PROTOTYPES DO BATTLE IN THE US AND EUROPE
The ESM team raced through the bumps on the grueling Belle Isle street circuit, while byKOLLES was at the official 24 Hours of Le Mans test day at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe.
The Detroit, Belle Isle race weekend got off to a good start for the ESM squad, with Pipo Derani driving his No. 22 Nissan DPi machine to pole position despite it being his very first visit to the track.
However, the car was plagued with a steering wheel-related gear shifting issue that necessitated an early, unscheduled pit stop. Derani and teammate Johannes van Overbeek would race their off-sequence strategy to a seventh-place finish.
"I feel gutted we didn’t manage to come home with a better result, because the team did an amazing job this weekend, making the car fast and giving me a car for pole position," Derani said.
"Unfortunately, an issue with our car steering wheel made us pit early and our strategy was messed up.
"Being a short race, that’s a hard thing to recover from. We’ll work hard and come back strong for the next one.”
Scott Sharp moved from 11th on the grid to eighth position before handing the No. 2 car over to teammate Ryan Dalziel. Despite late-race contact, Dalziel kept pushing and brought home a fourth-place finish for the team.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, the Nissan-powered byKOLLES team readied for the most famous race in all of sports car racing, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The healthy 60-car field tackled two test sessions on Sunday at Circuit de la Sarthe, with the byKOLLES team finishing seventh fastest with Dominik Kraihamer, Tom Dillmann and Oliver Webb at the wheel.
The byKOLLES crew will be back at Circuit de la Sarthe for the 24-hour itself starting with practice on Wednesday, June 13 before the start of the race on June 16.
The ESM squad will also tackle an endurance race next, the Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen from June 28 to July 1.
DOUBLE NISSAN MICRA CUP VICTORY FOR OLIVIER BÉDARD
Calabogie Motorsports Park, ON, Canada – Canada's Nissan Micra Cup series returned to Calabogie Motorsports Park near Ottawa for the first time since 2016, with 2015 and 2017 series champion Olivier Bédard taking wins in both races.
Bédard entered the race weekend as the points leader after taking a win and a second place finish at the opening round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The series ran on both the short 2.8km track, on Saturday, and on the 5.5km long track – the longest in Canada – on Sunday.
Bédard finished Saturday's race ahead of Kevin King and Valérie Limoges. Limoges finished third again in the second race of the weekend, with Normand Boyer finishing runner-up.
Also of note over the weekend, Austin Riley, the 19 year-old “Racing With Autism” driver, scored his best result of his Micra Cup career, finishing sixth on Saturday and fifth on Sunday. You can learn more about Riley’s racing journey here.
In the driver’s championship, Olivier Bédard retains the top spot with Kevin King in second and Normand Boyer third while also leading the Senior class.
HIGH RES DOWNLOADS
Download preview images from last weekend's Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 action in France and Japan, the new 2018-spec version as well as pics from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Nissan Micra Cup.
See the new 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 being shaken down at Fuji International Speedway.
- British GT Championship, Silverstone, England
- 24 Hours of Le Mans, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Hidden Valley, Darwin, NY, Australia