International 2015 GT Academy winner Matthew Simmons will be joining forces with Nismo in another season of the Blancpain GT Series. Once again operating under the RJN Motorsports banner, Matthew will compete in the Pro Class using the trusty Nissan GT-R (#22). Racing colleagues Matt Parry and Struan Moore will be sharing the driving duties, with the team target being podium placements.
Nismo holds annual festivals to celebrate Nissan’s history and presence in the world of motorsports, allowing people to meet famous drivers and get closer to the company’s most famous racing machines. At this year’s festival, Jann Mardenborough was given the opportunity to drive a lap around Fuji Speedway behind the wheel of the monstrous Group C Nissan R92CP.
The racing season is continuing to heat up for Nismo. While last weekend’s tough Dubai 24H race saw the GT Academy team finish 8th in the SP3-GT4 class, the next event will up the pace for a once-around-the-clock run around Mount Panorama.
We’re sure many of us have some annoyances about certain things — commonly referred to as pet peeves — that puts us in great discomfort every time we think about it. Everyone’s got something that makes them tick, so it shouldn’t be unusual to hear even racing drivers have a few of their own, as they often find themselves in rough and seemingly merciless conditions. NISMO TV has a sampling of the personal bugbears its racing drivers grapple with, including GT Academy grads.
Nissan GT Academy Team RJN has successfully scored a podium placement at the final race of the 2016 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, held at Nurburgring GP circuit last weekend. This is the first podium position for the team in the series, brought by athletes Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe and Mitsunori Takaboshi in the Pro Cup class.
According to an official NISMO Facebook post and AutoDeal, the currently-underway 2016 GT Academy season has found its first dozen Silverstone-bound finalists. This selection of drivers from North Africa and Philippines will compete in the International Race Camp this October at the famed British circuit.
After a month-long break, the Pirelli World Challenge got underway again last weekend, with Rounds 14 & 15 taking place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Heading in, Alvaro Parente (K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3) enjoyed a 52-point lead over Patrick Long (Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R), with Michael Cooper (Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R) a further 66 points back.
The PWC circus stopped at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin this past weekend to take in two rounds at one of the fastest road courses in the US: Road America. By Sunday evening, the most-decorated team in the series’ history would emerge victorious, with a display of dominance the likes of which hasn’t been seen much this year.
What a difference a month makes. When we last caught up with the Pirelli World Challenge after Round 7 (here), Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper were leading the points tally in their pair of Cadillac ATS-V.R’s, followed closely by Alvaro Parente in a McLaren 650S GT3. A significant gap existed between Parente and the two Porsche drivers that rounded out the top five – Michael Lewis and Patrick Long. 2011 GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter sat in ninth, while his teammate JD Davison slotted in directly behind Patrick Long.
This season of the Pirelli World Challenge has had no shortage of excitement. For 2011 GT Academy grad Bryan Heitkotter and teammate JD Davison – both behind the wheel of a NISMO GT-R GT3 in the top GT class – it started strong. The big Nissans were well-suited to Circuit of the Americas, enabling Heitkotter to nab silver in Round 1, with Davison close behind in 4th. Sadly, complications during the second race of that first weekend pushed them down to 19th and 13th, respectively.
Following on from the Nismo mention of the program last week, GT Academy held a press event yesterday in Egypt. Taking place at the Autovrooom track in Cairo (Facebook link if you have a particularly strong interest in the Sunny and/or Juke), few details were released, though GTPlanet member (and 2015 GTA North African champion) sems4arsenal was present. Much as the case was last year, expect some changes to the format…
The Le Castellet circuit in France, better known to the motorsport community as the Circuit Paul Ricard, was this week’s home to the Blancpain GT Series as the official pre-season testing began for the upcoming season.
So far in 2016, GT Academy’s fortunes have not been the brightest. One of the program’s prime proponents, Darren Cox, left parent company Nissan last fall. Shortly after that, the company unceremoniously shuttered it’s front-engine prototype program. More bad news arrived last month, when word got out that successful GTA grad Wolfgang Reip’s contract wasn’t renewed for 2016, which was shortly followed by similar news for multiple previous winners.
2016 will see Nissans of all manner of shapes and sizes take to the track all over the globe once more, as the manufacturer, aided by the NISMO Athletes, aim to top a hugely successful 2015 with 34 drivers across 14 series.
The #23 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 line-up of Alex Buncombe (GB), Katsumasa Chiyo (JAP) and Wolfgang Reip (BEL) has won the Blancpain Endurance PRO Driver’s Championship. Third place in a nail-biting, season-closing race at the Nürburgring in Germany sealed the title win for Nissan after a season of hard racing in what is accepted to be the biggest GT championship in the world.