High hopes for Nissan as Super GT heads to Thailand

Thursday 28th June, 2018 - 9:33am

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  • Super GT ready for Thailand battle
  • Suzuka hosts Blancpain GT Series Asia in first Japanese round
  • Nissan-powered ESM squad aiming for Watkins Glen win

High hopes for Nissan as Super GT heads to Thailand

Super GT heads to Thailand this weekend with Nissan hoping to replicate its impressive pace from last year when former GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough starred.

The Welshman qualified second last year and ran second for much of the race. Sadly, the No. 12 Team IMPUL Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 suffered a late-race issue which ruined their chances of climbing the podium.

Mardenborough and his new-for-2018 teammate, Daiki Sasaki, head to Thailand after finishing fourth at the most recent round at Suzuka.

“Last year in Thailand the Team IMPUL Calsonic car had its strongest weekend for qualifying speed and race pace,” Mardenborough said.

“We qualified second and ran second in the race but had an issue towards the end. We had a really good car, good set up, and our car seemed to work well at that circuit with the Bridgestone tyres and the compounds we had.

“This year I’m looking forward to more of the same. I think we should be even stronger this year because the car itself has more downforce, front and rear. And, with more knowledge of the set up itself, we should be in an even better position.

“I like the track. Any time I’ve gone to the circuit we’ve done well, especially in qualifying.

“It’s a bit earlier in the year, but I think the weather should be pretty similar, it might be a bit unpredictable with the rain, but either way, I’m looking forward to this race.

“It’s a flyaway race, and we always get a big crowd at the Chang Buriram circuit. The Thai people love Super GT, so I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of fans when I go there this weekend.”

The No. 23 NISMO combination of Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda are second in the points standings leading into the Thai race.

The Italian/Japanese pairing won at Fuji and have a string of three consecutive points finishes in the three races run to date.

Sunday’s 300km battle in Thailand will be streamed live on NISMO.tv on YouTube as well as www.NISMO.com.

KCMG Nissan Blancpain GT Asia squad heads to Suzuka

The Blancpain GT Series Asia heads to Suzuka this weekend for the first two scheduled Japanese races on the 2018 championship schedule.

The KCMG team will welcome a new driver to their two-car Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 2018 line-up with Tsugio Matsuda unable to compete due to date clashes with Super GT.

Swiss-born, Shanghai-based racer Alexandre Imperatori joins the team for the remaining rounds to drive the No. 18 Nissan GT-R NISMO with Yuke Taniguchi. The No. 18 GT-R finished sixth and fourth overall in the most recent round in Thailand with Taniguchi currently sitting third in the Pro-Am points standings.

Former Bathurst 12-hour winner Florian Strauss continues with Edoardo Liberati in the Silver class. The duo finished eighth and third overall in Thailand – taking the team’s first overall podium of the season at the last round.

This weekend’s Blancpain GT Series Asia round will again be live streamed on both NISMO.tv on YouTube and www.NISMO.com.

Saturday’s 60-minute race is scheduled for 2:20 pm local time with Sunday set for 10:50 am.

Nissan-powered ESM team heads to historic Watkins Glen

The Nissan-powered ESM prototype team heads to Watkins Glen International for the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – doing battle on the historic hills of upstate New York.

The team is looking for redemption after a steering wheel-related gear shifting issue took the No. 22 machine of Pipo Derani and Johannes Van Overbeek out of contention in Detroit on lap one despite Derani’s extraordinary pole lap for the team.

The team has also been on pole the last two years at the Glen, but has yet to win at the historic facility.

“A win at Watkins Glen has eluded us,” Van Overbeek said.

“We qualified on pole the last two years but have come up short both times. I’m excited that Nico [Lapierre] will be back in the car with Pipo and I for this race.

“We worked well together at Sebring. Hopefully, Nico will bring the extra luck needed to get us the win this year.”

Derani and Van Overbeek will be joined yet again by Lapierre in the No. 22, while Olivier Pla will again slot into the No. 2 alongside Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel.

“I’m beyond excited to bring our Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan Onroak to the Glen,” Sharp said.

“Watkins Glen is a home track for me. Being from Connecticut, many of my early races were here. It’s become a true favourite of mine, and for the last two years, it’s been a very strong track for our ESM cars.

“We need to get back to victory circle, and I’m excited to welcome Oli and Nico back to help us do that!”

First practice for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen kicks off Friday, June 29 at 10:25 am Eastern, with the race Sunday, July 1 at 9:45 am Eastern.

Calendar

June 30-July 1

  • Super GT, Chang International Circuit, Thailand
  • Blancpain GT Series Asia, Suzuka, Japan
  • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Watkins Glen, NY, USA

July 3

  • Spa 24 Hour test day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

July 7-8

  • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, ON, Canada
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

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