GT Academy Champs Wolfgang Reip, Steve Doherty Score FIA GT Podium at Navarra

September 30th, 2013 by Jordan Greer


Round five of the FIA GT Series at the Circuito de Navarra in Northern Spain delivered a Pro-Am podium for Nissan GT Academy Team RJN when Wolfgang Reip and Steve Doherty took second place in the headline race on Sunday. Wolfie and Steve won GT Academy Europe and USA respectively in 2012 and just 12 months on are battling for top honours in an international category.

10000330376_f62a999278_zIt was a difficult homecoming for Spaniard Lucas Ordonez who was racing at home for the first time since winning GT Academy in 2008. He and his team-mate Alex Buncombe had to settle for fifth place in Pro-Am in the main race after fighting at the front throughout the weekend.

Although Al and Lucas were both fast during qualifying a turbo problem meant that the duo would start from 10th place after an overnight engine change.  This change also incurred a drive through penalty so they would have a mountain to climb in the qualifying race.

Lucas made an incredible start, storming through from 10th to third by turn one. By the end of the race – and after taking the penalty – they had earned a 13th place grid position for the main race, while Wolfie and Steve had taken 11th place, setting themselves up for a strong run.

In the dry conditions of the main race the two Nissan GT-Rs were on top form.  This time it was Steve Doherty’s turn to make the storming start. The American driver showing everyone how it is done when he went from 11th to fifth and then pestered Frank Stippler in the Audi before slipping past for fourth. By lap 10 Steve was in third place overall.

Behind him Alex Buncombe was on a charge after moving up to ninth at the start and then gaining two more places when a pair of scrapping cars in front of him ran wide, allowing the Nissan to cruise on by.

By the time the pit window opened Steve and Al were running in first and third places in Pro-Am.  A communications problem meant that both Nissans pitted at the same time and it was the Ordonez/Buncombe GT-R that lost out.

After the pit stops Wolfie, now aboard the No.32 GT-R, was in seventh place and Lucas, in No.35, was lying in 14th place. Wolfie wasn’t done yet and he passed Marc Basseng’s Lamborghini for sixth place before cruising to the flag and another podium finish.


“I got a great start today, passing about six cars,” said Steve. “The car felt really well balanced so it was a lot of fun to be able to chase down the Audi in front of me and then take fourth position.  I was third overall by the end of my run and first in Pro-Am so I feel good about my performance today. It’s nice to go home from a weekend like this with a trophy.”

“It’s disappointing not to get a good result in Spain,” said Lucas. “I pushed hard at the end so I could get a fast race lap so we finished on a positive note. It’s a shame that we couldn’t get the result we wanted but I’m really happy to see Steve and Wolfie performing so well. I won’t forget the start of the qualifying race in a hurry, going from tenth to third with my eyes open very wide! All in all we had some highs and lows and I had a very warm welcome from all of the fans here.”

“That was our best race yet in the FIA GT Series,” said Nissan’s Director of Global Motorsports, Darren Cox. “All of our GT Academy winners have a breakthrough moment in their first year of racing.  Wolfie’s came at the Spa 24 Hours and Steve’s came today.  To go out there and go head to head with people like works Audi drivers in your first year of racing shows how quickly our winners mature.”

The final round of the FIA GT Series is scheduled to take place on 23-24 November at the Baku Circuit in Azerbaijan.

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  1. Oct. 1, 10:41am

    Well done to GT Academy team! From virtual to reality through Gran Turismo is a proven one of a kind concept. Best wishes to PD of more success.

  2. Oct. 1, 8:01am
    Mr C5 Z06 Vette

    Wow scroll down a fee comments and read the whole debate under my last comment. ( the s*** I start holy crap )

  3. Oct. 1, 5:37am

    Great job!

  4. Oct. 1, 1:21am


  5. Oct. 1, 12:38am

    Well done fellas, another podium for the GTA boys!

    • Oct. 1, 1:02am

      It’s sad that the first thought I had when I saw GTA was, “Grand Theft Auto boys?” Then I found my intelligence and all was fine.

  6. Sep. 30, 10:10pm

    Imagine the size of Doherty’s “booster” seat, the height difference is massive between these two. Driver changes would have been a whole heap of fun.

    • Oct. 21, 5:29pm

      No booster seat required. Just a second lap belt :)

  7. Sep. 30, 8:55pm

    Great read!

    Struggles in practice and qualifying, driving by cars, wholesale fashion, into turn one, making up for pit goofs and chasing Audis for a class win. Almost like I was there… Thanks Jordan and hats off to tean RJN.

    Keep the tires hot and competition dusted ;)

  8. Sep. 30, 8:02pm

    They’re just too good.

  9. Sep. 30, 5:18pm

    These guys are really starting to become a force. Congratulations are a the norm and it’s a good thing.

  10. Sep. 30, 3:58pm

    Both No.32 & No.35 GT-Rs were flying at the start until the pit stops. I was furious as the No.35 GT-R was parked in front of the No.32 GT-R and has lost 10 places (I think) because of that incident. That little bump between those 2 GT-Rs by the pit stop entry in the previous lap was scary to watch lol. Lucas has made few places up but it was too late to get a podium on Pro-Am class.

    They say that it’s all part of the racing…

    Well done to Steve & Wolfgang for the podium finish but I feel disappointed for the Lucas & Alex. Hopefully No.35 GT-R can make the podium on next race.

    By the way, big congrats to Sébastien Loeb and his team for finally winning the main race. :D

  11. Sep. 30, 3:53pm

    “Lucas made an incredible start, storming through from 10th to third by turn one.”

    Just like a “race” in Gran Turismo A-spec career! Seriously though, is there video of this move? I’ve got to see it.

    • Sep. 30, 10:11pm

      + 1

    • Oct. 1, 7:05am

      except they were actual racers, not “sunday drivers” XD

  12. Sep. 30, 3:45pm
    Pit Crew

    Congrats guys, your stars continue to light the way to victory.

    Is it really a good idea to continue to compare the merits of Forza vs GT in every blog. Their both strong games in this genre.

    • Sep. 30, 6:33pm

      “Just like racing AI” is probably what ran through his head!!

  13. Sep. 30, 3:35pm
    Mr C5 Z06 Vette

    I forget which gtplanet member said what I am about to say so sorry:”Forza turns people into people who love cars, Gran Turismo turns people who love cars into race drivers.” – Unknown Gtplanet member. This podium only supports that quote.

    • Sep. 30, 3:41pm

      +1 MuoNiuLa did you read this? It’s so true!

    • Sep. 30, 3:57pm

      At least MuoNiuLa respects both games and doesn’t try to flame bait neither games. You rarly see those kind of people…

    • Sep. 30, 4:07pm

      Thanks Toko, but it’s really not worth the effort.

    • Sep. 30, 4:09pm

      No prob MuoNiuLa, and you’re right. Just wanted to prove what true fans are. ;)

    • Sep. 30, 5:06pm

      AWW How Cute! 1 Forza player sticking up for another…. lmfao ITS SO CUTE THAT YOU FORZA GUYS STICK TOGETHER! NOW GET HIS ***** OUT OF YOUR MOUTH TOKOTURISMO!

    • Sep. 30, 6:39pm

      ^ Are you serious. o_o I think I’ll leave you alone now…..

    • Sep. 30, 6:55pm

      Gran_Turisman, obviously from the comments you have made you gotta be around the 13 yo mark or just mentally challenged. It seems to me that your comprehension skills are lacking as well. Both these guys play and love Forza and GT so to make them out as “fanboys” of Forza is unjustified. What is wrong with enjoying the two best console sims on the market today? I am another who has been playing GT exclusively, more than likely, longer than you have been alive and now I play Forza in conjunction with GT. You pretty much proved Toko’s point re flame baiting one or the other. The best you can come up with is CAPS LOCKING and telling someone to take their ***** out of someone’s mouth??? Please….. I would now expect you to come back at me with some kind of lame and uncreative standard insult to try to hurt my feelings or “get on up” on me. Good luck with that Jr.

    • Oct. 2, 8:03am

      One cannot deny the connection between revealing real racing talent and GT6. The success of GTA graduates has been nothing short of amazing. Podiums, outright victories on a world class level. 10 years ago if someone said, “We’re going to have a contest and all the videogame players are going to compete for a real race ride” everyone would have predicted carnage and death.

      Whether the same is possible in Forza remains to be seen but for GT, it’s a reality and you can’t deny that.

  14. Sep. 30, 3:04pm

    I feel so happy reading this.

  15. Sep. 30, 2:31pm
    Maddens Raiders

    The Real Driving Simulator.

  16. Sep. 30, 2:11pm

    ” The American driver showing everyone how it is done when he went from 11th to fifth and then pestered Frank Stippler in the Audi before slipping past for fourth.”

    That made me so happy to read that. And I’m a huge Audi fan, too. To hear about Doherty taking on a works Audi driver and winning is awesome.

    • Oct. 21, 5:30pm


  17. Sep. 30, 1:53pm

    GT Academy Nissan truly are the strongest rookie team in motorsport history!

  18. Sep. 30, 1:49pm

    Wow awesome job guys! This just proves how real Gran Turismo is! Lol You don’t see any Forzaa players winning races in real life!

    • Sep. 30, 2:00pm

      Grow up.

    • Sep. 30, 2:08pm

      Ugh, now I see what Tornado meant when theres something positive, Forza gets thrown just for kicks. -_-

    • Sep. 30, 3:00pm

      Forza’s physics aren’t nearly as real as Gran Turismo’s. We all know that. That’s why you won’t see anyone that plays Forza even have an idea of how to properly handle a race car. Well that and Forza doesn’t have their version of a GT Academy. You must play Forza MuoNiuLa. So you would fall under the arcade type racer and not a Real Driving Simulator racer lol

    • Sep. 30, 3:14pm

      Yeah, you’re pretty much a flame baiter. Not going to bother wasting my time replying seriously to that.

    • Sep. 30, 6:34pm

      Haha..nice zinger!!

    • Sep. 30, 7:08pm

      GRAN_TURISMAN, you should just have stopped typing after your 1st exclamation point. You lost all credibility after that, comments such as “You don’t see any Forzaa players winning races in real life!” & “That’s why you won’t see anyone that plays Forza even have an idea of how to properly handle a race car.” have no validity and it makes you look uneducated and immature.

  19. Sep. 30, 1:24pm

    Doherty was supreme at the start!!!

    • Oct. 21, 5:30pm

      Thank you!

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