After claiming nine international championships around the world last season, Nissan will continue to participate in various categories and championships as well as build on its customer support programs in the current year, across the continents: the land of the Rising Sun, the U.S.A., Europe and Australia.
Having proudly claimed the Super GT GT500 titles for two years in a row, Nissan/Nismo now seeks to make that a hat-trick of victories in 2016. Four Nissan GT-R Nismo GT500 teams will compete in the GT500 class. Fresh from a two-year stint of Blancpain Endurance Series and Bathurst 12-hour races, Katsumasa Chiyo will make his GT500 debut, this season. The four Nismo teams in the Super GT500 class comprise of No.1 Motul Autech GT-R with drivers Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli, no.12 Calsonic Impul GT-R with drivers Hironobu Yasuda and João Paulo de Oliveira, no.24 Kondo Racing GT-R with drivers Daiki Sasaki and Masataka Yanagida, and no.46 Craftsports GT-R with Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo.
Super GT regulations do not allow for the development of aero and suspension parts this year, so the car remains in the same specification as 2015 but with increased engine and tyre performance. While the engine specification remains the same, improvements have been made to both combustion and the intake/exhaust system which will see higher efficiency and reliability in line with the new 5% ‘less fuel’ rule.
In the GT300 class, Nissan will continue to provide technical assistance and ongoing vehicle supply to customer teams competing in the 300-hp racecars class. “NDDP Racing”, aimed for the development of young drivers, will enter in GT300 with NISMO Athlete Jann Mardenborough who is making a move to Japan to join the team, alongside Kazuki Hoshino. Meanwhile, the Gainer Tanax GT-R, having won the GT300 titles in 2015, will compete with the champion no.0.
The Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 won the GT300 class title of Super GT and Pro Class championship of the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2015. In collaboration with its program partner in Europe, JRM, Nismo will continue to support Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 customers by providing vehicles and technical assistance.
For the Blancpain Endurance series; after winning one of the most competitive GT3 titles in the world in 2015, Nissan expands its commitment with its first official entry in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, supplementing its championship-winning commitment to the Endurance Cup.
Continuing the Blancpain GT Series challenge in Pro and Pro Am which began in 2011, RJN Motorsport will continue to run the program under the management of Bob Neville, with support from Nismo. The driver line up in the Blancpain GT Series once again utilizes drivers from all areas of Nissan’s global motorsport family. After the success of Katsumasa Chiyo’s program in Europe, NISMO has assigned young racer Mitsunori Takaboshi to continue his development program in the Pro class of Blancpain championship, teaming up with highly experienced Alex Buncombe and Lucas Ordóñez.
2015 GT Academy winners from the International competition (Australian winner Matt Simmons) and GT Academy Europe (French winner Romain Sarazin) will join Sean Walkinshaw who joins the team after impressive displays in 2015.
In addition, Nissan will once again field an entry at the iconic Nurburgring 24 hour race. The full driver line up is yet to be confirmed.
Super Taikyu continues to be an important motorsport activity for Nissan. For this year’s program, Nissan will provide technical assistance to customer teams competing with the Nissan GT-R GT3 in the Super Taikyu Series ST-X class. In this class, the collaboration team of KONDO Racing and the Nissan Technical College continues to field the “ThreeBond Nissan Technical College GT-R”. Continuing for its fifth year, the program uniquely forms part of the students’ educational program, connecting formal education and motorsports.
Nissan remains as supporters of the Pirelli World Challenge via its North American counterpart, along with a host of regional race series in Australia’s V8 Supercars, Japan’s Super Taikyu ST-3 class and Canada’s Nissan Micra Cup. The marque also acts as engine suppliers to LM P2 and LM P3, via Oreca and Gibson teams competing in the WEC (World Endurance Championship), Le Mans, European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans series.
Lastly, Nissan spurs driver development and support program through the Japanese F3 championship. Katsumasa Chiyo and Jann Mardenborough are the primary pilots in the Japanese F3, continuing their single seater careers after becoming Japanese F3 N Class Champion and competing in European F3 and GP3 respectively.