GT Academy Wins the Bathurst 12 Hours!

2015_Bathurst12_winners

More than 20 years since the Nissan brand tasted victory at an endurance race at Bathurst with the R32 GT-R, the NISMO Athletes have returned to score an amazing victory in the Bathurst 12 Hours – snatched almost at the death.

The team had qualified the #35 car in 3rd overall – and at the head of the GT3 Amateur category following the last minute substitution of expectant father Alex Buncombe for the 2012 German GT Academy winner Florian Strauss – but the crew had to work through the night to repair the car as Katsumasa Chiyo tagged the wall on his very next lap. With a pristine car to start in, they immediately set about improving their position as Wolfgang Reip leapt past the 2nd place Gallardo and joined the pole sitting R8 as they streaked ahead of the field to a 10s gap after just a few laps. This set the rhythm for the team that would last throughout the safety car punctured race as they were never out of the top six on the road.

2015_Bathurst12_winners4It was understudy Strauss who first put the GT-R at the head of the pack with 100 laps gone and the Nissan team avoiding the kind of incidents that ended so many races. 16 of the 50 entrants failed to finish the race and there were 20 separate safety car periods over the 12 hour race – a new and probably unwanted record!

The last of these safety cars set up the grandstand finish. Called with 10 minutes remaining to recover a stopped car at Murrays, it peeled in to allow just enough time for two laps at the finish. With Chiyo back at the wheel and taking the restart in 3rd, the GT-R immediately dispatched the 2nd place Phoenix Racing Audi R8 into the first turn before barrelling past the lead Bentley up the following Mountain Straight to hit the front before the second corner. It was a position he never relinquished, taking the chequered flag after 269 laps and by just 2.5 seconds – somewhat of a different way to how he ended 2014’s race!

2015_Bathurst12_winners3It’s the second silverware of the season – in just two races – for the GT Academy team and the GT3 GT-R, following a class podium at the 2015 Dubai 24 Hours, but taking both class honours and the outright victory in a major endurance race so early in the season will be something special for the team. With this victory under their belts confidence will be high – and given that Nissan’s LMP1 project is likely to feature Academy graduates, racing a season long World Endurance Championship campaign, it could be the start of a great year for the innovative gamer-to-racer program.

Images courtesy of @NISMO and @Nissan_MSport.

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Comments (33)

  1. research

    BOOM!!! These guys are disgusting! From the couch to the mountaintop in a matter of months!?! That’s not fair to all the rich racers who have been working and spending big bucks for years!

  2. dylanlikes88

    Truly a remarkable accomplishment! Congrats to all involved in this valiant effort!
    GT Academy, the future of motorsports!

  3. Halcyon925

    This R35 will be in Gran Turismo 7 and in the details of the car will be bragging about how GT Academy (virtual drivers) beat the pros at their own game. An amazing win. This is a revolutionary feat.

  4. Johnnypenso

    Wow, that’s fantastic news. Great motivation for the GTAcademy hopefuls in 2015 and onward, knowing they will be capable of winning major race events very quickly after graduation if they put in the time and effort. Well done GTA!

  5. makimak22

    Glad to see the Bentleys fallen off from winning to 4th place at the end. Their barging tactics throughout the race have caused numerous accidents and early exits to other cars. Lucky no one was injured. The drivers’ un-sporting conducts have seen a few drive-thru penalties being handed down, but to no deterring effect. Ironic that their 2nd car hit the wall and caused the 2nd last saftey car period which allowed the Nissan to catch up right behind the 1-2 cars. Karma at work.

  6. jake2013guy

    I watched the first half before I went to bed and what a race it was. Yes, there were many Safety Cars but who cares with the racing like that. Glad Nissan won and hope this means new content in GT6 (Bentley and Aston GT3)

  7. kolio123

    WooooHoooo! Didn’t even read the article yet! Go GTA guys!! Nice! That is awesome!
    Ok, reading the article now.

  8. JCH8r

    Awesome job. First, a double victory as the virtual amateurs beat the pros. The team would have had an amazing class victory and 3rd overall if the race had finished under yellow.

    Second, no one can say these guys only succeed because of Nissan money. Our GT Academy team beat the pros from Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Aston Martin, et.al. Those manufacturers spend just as much as Nissan to win races. Giving enthusiasts a chance to succeed through console gaming is THE story of the Bathurst 12hr 2015.

    I hope this race gets some love & sponsorship from Twitter & other social media companies. I tweeted throughout the race (@JoeChiron) and the hashtag #B12hr trended more than everything but a promoted ad campaign.

  9. Jayson619

    GT-ACADEMY/NISMO RULES!!!!! GT-R RULES!!!!! SONY RULES!!!!! GRAN TURISMO RULES!!!!!

    Forza who!?

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL……!!!!!!!!

    1. SZRT Ice

      You do realize that this in no way makes GT6 a better game, right? GT Academy is awesome, but GT (the game series) needs work.

  10. Thomas2012

    Amazing job by the GTAcademy team, I watched pretty much the whole race, had some close calls and an amazing finish!

  11. beseiden

    Huge victory! Every year I’m glued to the television to watch this great race.
    I felt proud of this victory in particular because of what represented, the GT Academy and Nissan created this amazing program that keeps proving it’s value. When i saw the “Godzilla”, being driven by Katsumasa Chiyo, passing the Audi and then the Bentley with such determination my jaw dropped. My congratulations to the Nismo team and to all racers that made my evening one to remember.

  12. Rotorist

    Great job all in NISMO team! Fantastic for the GTAcademy drivers. This will shut many mouths of denials about the success of this unique program. Expect more car manufacturers to begin something similar soon…

    1. scca_ziptie

      It would normally be Team “RJN” – but as Wolfie stated, “this isn’t Team RJN, this is actually Team NISMO – based out of Japan.”

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