NISMO NEWS - October 1, 2018
- Blancpain GT Series Barcelona recap
- Nissan GT Sport Cup esports results
- Kondo Racing's big expansion for 2019
- Nissan Motorsport prepares for Bathurst challenge
NEW AND OLD FACES ABOARD THE NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 IN BARCELONA
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain – New and old faces were behind the wheel of the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup for GT Sport Motul Team RJN.
Jann Mardenborough returned to Blancpain action for the first time since Silverstone in 2015, filling in for the injured Lucas Ordonez.
Young Scottish star Colin Noble made his GT debut at Barcelona after impressive performances this year with Nissan-power in LMP3 competition in the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup.
Mardenborough, Alex Buncombe, and Matt Parry impressed to be eighth fastest in qualifying, but contact and two penalties early in the race ruined the chance of a strong result at the finish.
“I’m happy for the opportunity to fill in for Lucas and drive the new car at Barcelona,” Mardenborough said.
“We made quite a bit of progression over the weekend, through the practice sessions and then in qualifying; we qualified quite well considering that Barcelona is a tough track for the GT-R.
“We were looking good for the race. I think the history of the GT-R is that it’s been stronger in the race than in qualifying, but Matt had some contact, which gave us a penalty and then another penalty, which made it impossible then to get any decent results.
“After we dropped down, Alex and I passed quite a lot of cars to get up to 23rd, so there are some positives to take out of that.
“It’s been great working with the team again, with the engineers and mechanics. There a lot of the same faces from when I first started racing with RJN. It’s been great to see them.”
Ricardo Sanchez suffered brake issues early in the race for the No. 22 entry and sadly for teammate Struan Moore, the issue returned late in the race and resulted in retirement.
Noble, however, was pleased with his debut with the team and his first weekend of Blancpain GT Series action.
“It was a very positive experience! It took a few sessions to get used to the car, it’s a very different technique than I’m used to,” Noble said.
“They’re a lot heavier and a lot softer than a prototype, but once I got up to grips with the car, I was quite happy with my qualifying laps.
“It was unfortunate what happened to us in the first part of the race, so we were a few laps down when I got in.
“I was trying not to ruin the leaders’ race for the first half of my stint but then I got my head down in the second half and the times weren’t too bad.
“In LMP3, we’re second in the Michelin Le Mans Cup and sixth in ELMS. We can’t win the title in either, but we want to try and secure second in Michelin Cup. And then in ELMS, we’ve got nothing to lose, so we’re definitely going for the win in that as well.”
HUNGARIAN ESPORTS RACER HEADED TO NISMO FESTIVAL AFTER NISSAN GT SPORT CUP WIN
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain – Hungarian esports racer Patrick Blazsan is on his way to the 2018 NISMO Festival for a once-in-a-lifetime experience after winning the Nissan GT Sport Cup European final in Barcelona.
Blazsan – known as TRL_Fuvaros on PlayStation Network – was one of 36 finalists who qualified for the event after impressive performances aboard a Nissan GT-R in the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Manufacturer Series.
An additional 12 gamers qualified for the Sunday event through the last-chance wildcard openings on Saturday.
After four heats and two semi-finals, the 20-year-old Blazsan qualified third fastest for the esports final which was staged over 12 laps at Fuji International Speedway - the same venue as this year’s NISMO Festival.
He moved up to second place on lap two and then took over the lead on lap five when pole winner Mikail Hizal (Germany) made his pit stop. Blazsan pitted a lap later but rejoined in the lead which he was able to hold until the checkered flag to win by 1.61 seconds.
Runner-up Hizal (TRL_LIGHTNING) also has earned a trip to the NISMO Festival by being the No. 1 Nissan driver in the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Manufacturer Series.
The duo will be joined by other regional winners on the trip which will also include a visit to Polyphony Digital headquarters – the creators of Gran Turismo.
“I’m so happy because I really didn’t expect that result,” Blazsan said.
“I’m looking forward to going to the NISMO Festival as I’ve never been to Japan before. The pressure in the race was huge, but I managed to get the win.”
KONDO EXPANDS WITH GT300 AND NURBURGRING 24 PROGRAMS WITH YOUNG MECHANICS
Tokyo, Japan – Having already trained more than 10,000 young mechanics, Nissan and Kondo Racing will expand their partnership by competing in Germany’s Nurburgring 24 Hour and Japan’s Super GT series from next year.
Kondo Racing, a customer team led by Japanese actor and singer Masahiko Kondo, will participate in the Nurburgring endurance race from 2019 with a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 model, marking the team’s first overseas competition with the GT-R since the team was founded in 2000.
Nissan will dispatch selected technical staff from NISMO Performance Center-certified dealerships to support the Kondo Racing team as mechanics for the 2019-2021 seasons.
Kondo Racing will also compete together with the Nissan Automobile Technical College (NAMTC), which trains future mechanics for Nissan dealerships, in the Super GT series from 2019. They will race in the series’ GT300 class, Japan’s top touring car category, also with a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
NAMTC and Kondo Racing have competed together in Japan’s Super Taikyu endurance series since 2012, winning the series title in 2016.
The partnership’s goal is to discover and develop young talent to become skilled mechanics at Nissan dealerships. More than 10,000 students have participated in the program over seven seasons.
Kondo Racing’s Nurburgring 24 Hour driver line-up will include Tsugio Matsuda, Mitsunori Takaboshi, Tomonobu Fujii and Tom Coronel.
Kondo Racing also has represented Nissan in GT500 in Super GT since 2006 with Mitsunori Takaboshi and JP de Oliveira driving for the team in 2018.
NISSAN MOTORSPORT READY FOR BATHURST 1000 CHALLENGE
Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW, Australia –The Nissan Altimas of the Supercars Championship head to Mount Panorama next weekend for the biggest race of the year, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Nissan full-season regulars Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso, Simona De Silvestro, and Andre Heimgartner will be taking on one of Australia's most iconic race tracks for the second round of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
Each driver will be partnered with a co-driver to share the driving load. At the previous race at Sandown, Kelly, and co-driver Garry Jacobson scored a top-10 finish in their No. 15 Altima.
Andre Heimgartner and Aaren Russell are also coming off a promising result, with Russell winning the co-driver’squalifying race at Sandown.
Simona De Silvestro will tackle her fourth Bathurst 1000 with her new-for-2018 co-driver, Alex Rullo. The pair’s first outing together at Sandown came to an early end, but they are looking to better their previous best Bathurst finishes of 14th for De Silvestro and 15th for Rullo.
Michael Caruso and Dean Fiore will be looking to repeat last year's Bathurst top-10 finish, as well as bounce back from a disappointing Sandown that saw the pair suffer damage early in the race.
The pair finished sixth in 2017 and seek an even better finish in the 58th year of the race.
"I've enjoyed partnering up with Dean for the last four seasons. I think that, for me and the team, that continuity makes it easy when it comes to bringing in another driver, particularly at three of the biggest events we compete at all season," Caruso said.
"That helps us prepare and be familiar with what we have to do over the race weekend to get a good result.
"What we do in between events and leading up to it is that we're always trying to improve our car. We've got a pretty strong package this year, and I'm looking forward to getting on track and hopefully proving that right.
"58 years of the Bathurst 1000. As a driver, you can't help but pinch yourself every once in a while. I'm fortunate enough to be there competing in an event like that and to come away with a race win would be something that we would never forget."
HIGH RES DOWNLOADS
Download high res images from last weekend's Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and the Nissan GT SportEndurance Cup as well as Kondo Racing's 2019 plans and preview images for the Bathurst 1000.
All the action from the Nissan GT Sport Cup European final held in Barcelona.
- Supercars Bathurst 1000, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
- Blancpain GT Series Asia, Ningbo, China
- FIA World Endurance Championship, Fuji International Speedway, Japan
- IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA