GT Academy Drivers Promoted to Le Mans Podium

The Nismo Athletes on board the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan had nothing to be ashamed about. Completing a 24 hour race in a 4th place class finish after a night long battle for the podium with a first timer on board – and doing the lion’s share of the driving too – is well worth a round of applause. But this morning they find themselves with an unexpected trophy.

Co-driven by GT Academy Russia judge Roman Rusinov, the third place finishing G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan has been excluded from the official results following a technical infringement regarding an oversized fuel tank.

The maximum permitted fuel tank size in LMP2 is 75 litres and the #26 car has been found to be over this limit. While G-Drive boss Simon Dowson insists the infringement gave them no advantage and was beyond their control, pending any appeal this moves Jann, Lucas and Michael up to the final step of the LMP2 podium and 9th overall.

Fresh off this success, Jann continues to formula-hop as he finds himself in one of the two RJN Nismo GT-R GT3 seats for a round of the Blancpain Endurance Series next month – the Spa 24 hours.

Jann and Lucas will be sharing the first GT-R with Wolfgang Reip and Peter Pyzera, while the second will be driven by Alex Buncombe, Mark Shulzhitskiy and Steve “Dan Mitchell” Doherty – following a request from the BES organisers to split Lucas and Alex into different cars. The prodigious pace of both drivers has seen them tear up the grid in both qualifying and race conditions, with speed beyond cars in the leading full pro category.

The fourth driver of the Buncombe-Shulzhitskiy-Doherty car for Spa will be yet another Buncombe – Alex’s older brother Chris. Chris is no stranger to 24 hour racing himself, racing a Corvette at the Spa 24h six years ago and winning LMP2 at Le Mans the same year.

Meanwhile the story isn’t over for at least one former GT Academy winner. 2010’s champion Jordan Tresson may not be amongst the Nismo Athletes any more, but he’s still racing and still connected to Gran Turismo.

Jordan has found himself a seat in the VLN Endurance Racing Championship, driving the very same #135 Lexus IS-F as Gran Turismo series creator Kazunori Yamauchi. Jordan occupied Kazunori’s spot during the recent Adenauer ADAC Simfy Trophy 4 hour race, driving the SP8 car to an excellent 3rd place class finish.

Thumbnail images courtesy of Nissan and Jordan Tresson.

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Comments (38)

  1. Primus Ortus

    That’s funny that G-Drive actually tried to argue a bigger tank doesn’t give them an advantage in an endurance race… I guess that begs the question – how much bigger was it?

    1. Amac500

      That’s what I’m wondering because if it was just a smidgen too big it real doesn’t make a difference because the track is 8.5 miles. Unless it was enough to allow them to run an extra lap between stops, then the only advantage they would ever gain is, like, 1 second less on the last stop because of the extra gas in the tank. Otherwise they would still have to fill up the same amount as everybody else and were essentially carrying around a bit off a ballast by always having that little extra fuel in the tank.

    2. infamousphil

      Hmmm, so if an 80litre fuel tank is “allowed” then that extra 2litre in the fuel lines are of no consequence. Ok, I got it now… man, the French language is not easily learned.

    3. TomBrady

      Well the thing is though, in racing, rules are rules. Especially at that high level, you should be able to stay within the regulations of car design at least.

      When it comes to gas tanks, they’re very important in an endurance race so I understand them being strict about it.

    4. Amac500

      Oh they deffinently have to penalize them because it was an infraction, but like I said, unless it was a large amount bigger then they really didnt have anything to gain. Therefore, they’re appeal should be interesting because if it was out of their control they obviously shouldn’t lose team points and only manufacturer points. I mean the car would have had to have been delivered with a tank that was too big from Oreca, wouldnt it? And how was the tank not caught during scrutineering? These are the things that confuse me.

    5. Andyc709292

      I wonder if it’s something like a stretchable membrane in the fuel cell – so when tested it showed as 75 Litres, but in reality it had a capacity of larger within the fuel tank. Total guess on my part, but it would fit the facts – they’d have a certain size cell that they ordered but it would have potential for more.

  2. HammerBlaster

    Good for the GT Academy guys! They kept swapping from 3rd to 4th throughout the night and the morning. Jan was really quite quick I thought for his first Le Mans. Especially in those tricky conditions! As @Amac500 said, it was a GREAT year at Le Mans this year! It’s so sad about Allan Simonsen’s death.

    RIP Mate.

  3. Amac500

    It was a great year at Le Mans, one of the best I’ve ever seen! It’s too bad it probably won’t make it into conversation for the best because of Allan Simonsen’s death. Hopefully this race is the one that sparks the change in the out of date and dangerous Armco barriers. This has happened far too many times now and it’s absurd that Armco is still acceptable for these cars. But yeah, great battles in all classes but I was bummed that Aston didn’t win GT. If the Oak Racing cars weren’t so awesome we could have had some GT Academy-ites on the top step. Sucks for G-Drive though, I’ve always been a big Mike Conway fan!

  4. Flagmo-T

    Rules are rules, and part of the contest, so this is a genuine podium place for the Team – So they have earned a Big congrats for the podium place :O)

  5. Chris123

    amazing how someone can be playing gt5 one year, and then competing in le mans the next, bravo lads

    1. Louie_Schumii

      This. Too bad GT Academy isn’t truly global as they make it out to be.

      No love for motorsport/automotive enthusiasts down-under here in New Zealand and Australia :tdown:

    2. Famine

      I mentioned Jordan Tresson in the article – for the year that Jordan won, both Australia AND New Zealand participated, with Dan Holland and Tony Autridge as the representatives.

      It’s true to say that GT Academy hasn’t been run in the antipodes before or since, but not that they show no love for you guys.

    3. Louie_Schumii

      Yes Famine I’m well aware of Australia and New Zealand’s participation in the 2010 Academy (I did compete in the N.Z. national final after all…).

      However you must also be aware of where I stand in regards to where they have AND haven’t taken the contest for the past three years. All I’m trying to do is bring this to the attention of the GTPlanet community so that those missing out could perhaps get together and do something about not being a part of this “global” contest this year and beyond :tup:.

    4. Famine

      As far as I know, GT Academy doesn’t claim to be global (though the company heading the program is now called GTA Global!) but they’ve so far missed the entire continent of South America, passed by the majority of east Asia (even the country that the game springs from has never had a GT Academy participation) and only dipped lightly into Africa.

      There are significant nations that have never even had a chance yet – chief amongst which are Brazil and Argentina (with 13 F1 World Champions between them) and, arguably, Canada. Australia (and New Zealand) has had a chance and, for whatever reason, they haven’t been back. At least not yet.

      The reason may simply be because Australian and New Zealander competitors are at an unfair disadvantage of being flown 12 time zones a day before a severe physical and mental test (and Dan suffered quite badly as a result of this). But it may be, as is mooted for Canada, that regional laws regarding the nature of competitions and prizes make it unworkable – in which case it’s your local government representatives you need to make aware, because Sony and Nissan can’t do a thing about it otherwise.

    5. ScotteDawg

      I hate to harp on about this but Nissan has now joined the V8 Supercar line up here in Australia. You’ve got to wonder about the motives behind GT Academy not being here or in New Zealand…

      On a side note, the V8 Supercars used to be just Holden (GM) and Ford. As well as Nissan joining the ranks, Mercedes has also joined this year and Volvo will be thrown into the mix next year! I would like to see these cars in GT6!!!

      On a sad side note, Allan Simonsen will be sadly missed by us here in Australia! Since 2003, he drove the Sandown 500 (km) and the Bathurst 1000 (km) and was to race at Bathurst again this year with David Wall (co-driver) for Brad Jones Racing in a Holden Commodore!

      Now, back to the point, if Allan Simonsen could do all that globe trotting and still race (and race WELL), why would Nissan (or the GT Academy officials) see it as a disadvantage to us? My guess is that they’re afraid that we are too damn good!!!

    6. Amac500

      Yeah I mean I wouldn’t use Simonsen as a reference point. I would note that it only makes since for Nissan to go with where its marketing money is and if they are invested in major Motorsport in Australia it would only make sense to add them to the competition.

    7. ScotteDawg

      Fair call – that WAS a bad point of reference! Sorry about that… However, Simonsen DID drive here and was one of my favourites in the Bathurst and Sandown endurance races!

      But – thank you Amac500 for seeing the point I was making!

  6. sangdude82

    Will Nismo TV brocast the Spa 24 hours live just like they did with Le Mans 24 hours? I can’t wait to see Jann in action. That guy is super fast :)

  7. sangdude82

    I’m glad to hear that Jordan still racing. It’s just that he’s not part of the Nismo Athletes anymore. The podium for Jann, Alex & Michael is a well deserved one but I’m sure that the result would’ve been sweeter if they managed to overtake the No. 26 car during the race. Yet again, the race organisers are afraid of the pace from the Nissan drivers.

    1. Famine

      To be fair, #42 did pass the #26 on track and occupied 3rd place in class for much of the night. They switched sometime around 11am following a mistake with tyre choice.

      And 8 of the original top 10 were Nissan powered – including the entire podium!

    2. sangdude82

      I see. I’ve missed most of the night session due to sleep. Thanks for that info, Famine. That result proves the reliability & performance of the Nissan engines.

      @ Amac500: “following a request from the BES organisers to split Lucas and Alex into different cars. The prodigious pace of both drivers has seen them tear up the grid in both qualifying and race conditions, with speed beyond cars in the leading full pro category.” I guess that means they don’t want to see the Nissan GT-Rs & GT Academy drivers dominating the BES.

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