GT Sport Motul Team RJN chasing Spa 24 Hour glory with Nissan

Wednesday 25th July, 2018 - 9:50am

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  • GT Sport Motul Team RJN Nissan GT-Rs ready for Spa
  • Nissan-powered RLR Msport take second LMP3 win of the year
  • Two top 10s for Nissan Motorsport in Queensland

GT Sport Motul Team RJN chasing Spa 24 Hour glory with Nissan

GT Sport Motul Team RJN is ready to push the 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 through its first 24 hour race this week at the fabled Spa 24 Hour in Belgium.

The newly-evolved GT-R has already shown pace in 2018 with wins in both Super GT and the Blancpain GT Series Asia plus a top five finish at Circuit Paul Ricard in the Blancpain GT Series.

The No. 23 GT-R also impressed at the Spa 24 Hour test, recording the third fastest time of the day.

The Spa 24 Hour is renowned as the toughest test of man and machine on the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup calendar but Nissan has persevered over the past two years – getting both cars to the finish line two years in a row.

GT Sport Motul Team RJN will field two cars at the event with Alex Buncombe teamed with Lucas Ordonez and Matt Parry aboard the No. 23 entry and Ricardo Sanchez driving with Struan Moore and Jordan Witt aboard No. 22. Sean Walkinshaw also rejoins the RJN Nissan squad for Spa in the No. 22 entry. The British driver previously raced with the team in 2016.

“We’re off the back of a successful Paul Ricard 1000km where we got P5 and at the Spa test we were third overall,” Buncombe said.

“The car is strong, however, this race doesn’t get any easier. The teams, the drivers are improving every year so it’s just getting harder and harder.

“To get a good result at this race, you need to be quick, but you also need a little bit of luck on your side, so we’re hoping for that this weekend.”

Last year Nissan put the No. 23 GT-R into the top ten in qualifying thanks to a stout performance by Ordonez.

“Spa 24 is the highlight of the year, the most important race of the year for us at GT Sport Motul Team RJN,” Ordonez said.

“We go with high expectations for the 2018 GT-R NISMO GT3, but it’s also the hardest race of the year. 24 hours is never easy, but Spa is especially challenging.

“We’re going with the new machine, which we’ve shown can have a really strong pace during the race, we just have to focus on qualifying attack. Hopefully, we can do as good as last year, where I qualified in the top 10.”

Moore and Witt yesterday recorded valuable miles at Spa, recording a top 10 finish for RJN Motorsport in the British GT Championship aboard the No. 23 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

Nissan wins at Fuji in Blancpain GT Series Asia

The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 took another victory on the world stage with the KCMG pair of Alexandre Imperatori and Yuke Taniguchi taking Saturday’s Blancpain GT Series Asia win in Fuji in Japan.

Despite being a Pro/Am driver pairing, Imperatori and Taniguchi stormed to the overall victory on a track familiar to Nissan as it serves as the home of the annual NISMO Festival.

“To win at home for Nissan is great. The car performed really well, the team gave us a great weapon to fight with this weekend,” Imperatori said

“Yuke did a really good job at the start, sixth in qualifying was great, and then he passed three cars and that really set us up for the result today.

“When I saw we were within 10 seconds at the pit stop I knew it was game on and just pushed hard from the pits to keep our advantage.

“I had to pass our sister car, but that was all very clean, and I’m just happy with the result and for the whole team.”

The team also took home a second podium finish in the first race of the weekend, with Florian Strauss and Edoardo Liberati finishing third overall after starting from pole.

They scored two further top fives during the second race of the weekend. Imperatori and Taniguchi took home a fourth-place finish in the No. 18 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and Strauss and Liberati fifth in the No. 23.

RLR Msport take LMP3 ELMS lead with Nissan power

British team RLR Msport scored its second Nissan-powered LMP3 victory in the latest round of the European Le Mans Series at the Red Bull Ring.

Rob Garofall, John Farano and Job van Uitert led most of the race aboard their Ligier JS P3 and – only losing the top spot during pit stops.

The victory has now pushed the trio to the top of the LMP3 points standings in the European Le Mans Series.

“This win is more satisfying than the first in Le Castellet,” said Garofall.

“This one was tougher because the field was stronger and the weather conditions made it very tricky, with some parts of the track wet and others bone dry.”

Former Nissan GT Academy winner Ricardo Sanchez made his 2018 debut in the series, driving a Norma M30 for DKR Engineering.

The Mexican impressed during wet practice to be second fastest and qualified fifth fastest.

Unfortunately in the race the DKR team lost time with a electronics issue with the full course yellow speed limiter button on the steering wheel – forcing a trip to the garage.

Next up in the European Le Mans Series will be Silverstone in the UK on August 18.

Pair of top 10s for Nissan in Ipswich Supercars

Nissan Motorsport has left Queensland Raceway with a pair of Top 10 finishes, following the Ipswich SuperSprint last weekend in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

The weekend started off strong for the team with Rick Kelly qualifying fifth for the first race, eventually promoted to fourth following another driver’s penalty. Kelly would go on to finish 13th in the opening race after struggling with tyre degradation in the latter stages.

Michael Caruso scored the highest finish for the Nissan Motorsport squad in that first race of the weekend, finishing seventh.

“It’s good to be back racing near the front,” Caruso said.

“It’s a nice reward for the guys that have been working long hours to get us on the track.”

Kelly’s time to shine came in the second race of the weekend where he finished ninth in the ultra-competitive Supercars series. The drive helps solidify his place in the top 10 in championship points.

“We moved from 8th to 7th in the championship, so lots of positives from the weekend,” Kelly said.

“Sydney is going to be one heck of a challenging race. 300km is the longest we’ll ever do as a single driver – it’s 50km longer than Adelaide.

“We’ve had good single-lap speed there recently, but we’ll need to keep working on our race pace considering it is such a long event.”

The next race on the Virgin Australia Supercars calendar is the Sydney SuperNight 300, a single 300km race event held under lights, August 4th.

Calendar

July 28-29
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hour, Spa, Belgium
Nissan Micra Cup, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada

August 4-5
Super GT, Fuji 500, Fuji, Japan
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI, USA
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Sydney, Australia
British GT Championship, Brands Hatch, England

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