With the 2016 Bathurst 12-Hour just weeks away (February 5 - 7), Nissan is expected to soon announce its driver team as it aims to repeat its success from last year's race, where it ended a 23-year drought for Nissan at Mount Panorama.
This year the team will once again field a single Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the endurance race, with the support of the NISMO Athlete Global Team.
With the car that Nissan won last year’s race now proudly on display in the Nissan Heritage Car Collection in Japan, Nissan Australia has purchased an all-new GT3 spec GT-R from NISMO to tackle the 2016 race.
Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery announced during the V8 Supercars Sydney 500 at Homebush that the new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 would stay in Australia, although its racing program beyond the Bathurst 12-Hour had yet to be determined.
“2015 was the first Bathurst win for the legendary Nissan GT-R since the back-to-back Bathurst 1000 wins in 1991 and 1992,” Mr Emery said.
“While we respect the level of competition, it will naturally be our aim to emulate the feats of that era by getting another set of back-to-back wins.”
The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, which also won the Blancpain GT Endurance Series in Europe, is touted as the ultimate version of Nissan’s legendary supercar.
While sacrificing its all-wheel-drive system from the road going version of the Nissan GT-R (due to GT3 regulations), the racing version shares the same V6 twin-turbo engine with "over" 405kW of power and 637Nm of torque.
Weighing just 1300kg the GT3-spec GT-R has a nearly 400kg weight advantage over the road car it's based on, and sports a 3.2kg/kW power to weight ratio.
Nissan has yet to confirm the three-driver line up for this year’s race, however last year’s winning drivers, Katsumasa Chiyo, Florian Strauss and Wolfgang Reip, have all expressed interest in returning this year.
Nissan’s NISMO Athlete Global Academy driver, Alex Buncombe, who couldn’t attend the 2015 race, is also in the running having competed in the 12-Hour in 2014 and in the V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 the previous two years.
Nissan Australia also has its local pool of talent with V8 Supercar drivers Rick Kelly and Michael Caruso in the mix. Both have had the opportunity to sample the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in recent years.
However, Nissan GT Academy winner (2015), Australian Matt Simmons, is not in contention for a seat this year. Instead, he’ll make his debut in Nissan colours as part of the NISMO Athlete Global Team in the Blancpain Endurance Series in Europe.
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