Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: Nissan | posted February 29, 2016 16:27
Nissan will defend 9 titles this year
Nissan claimed nine international championships around the world in 2015. Now, the Japanese automaker intends to continue its participation in various motorsport championships as well as build on its customer support programs this 2016.
For 2016, seasoned Nismo athletes continue to fly the flag in Japan, North America, Europe and Australia.
"Last year, the Nissan GT-R was engaged in numerous high-stakes battles around the world, including in Europe, the U.S., Australia and Japan, where it achieved some phenomenal results," said Shoichi Miyatani, CEO and president of NISMO.
"Furthermore, we are planning to increase our focus on supporting customer teams that compete with Nissan vehicles and engines,” Miyatani added.
To know more about Nissan's 2016 global motorsport program, check out the detailed list below.
Super GT GT500
As the current back-to-back Super GT GT500 champions, Nissan/Nismo seeks to continue its dominance as the team aims for a hat trick in 2016.
The Japanese automaker says four Nissan GT-R Nismo GT500 teams will compete in the GT500 class this year. Of note, Katsumasa Chiyo will make his GT500 debut after a two year stint at Blancpain Endurance Series and Bathurst 12 hour race.
Nissan explained that Toshikazu Tanaka, Corporate Vice President of Nismo will take over the role of Nissan GT500 team executive director from Kunihiko Kakimoto. Kakimoto has served as executive director for 12 years since 2004 and contributed to Nissan's 12 GT500 series titles.
The four Nissan/Nismo teams that will compete in the 2016 Super GT GT500:
NISMO - Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli
Team Principal: Yutaka Suzuki
MOTUL AUTECH GT-R / Michelin
TEAM IMPUL - Hironobu Yasuda / João Paulo de Oliveira
Team Principal: Kazuyoshi Hoshino
Calsonic IMPUL GT-R / Bridgestone
KONDO RACING - Daiki Sasaki / Masataka Yanagida
Team Principal: Masahiko Kondo
Forum Engineering ADVAN GT-R/ Yokohama
MOLA - Satoshi Motoyama / Katsumasa Chiyo
Team Principal: Toshiomi Oeki
S Road CRAFTSPORTS GT-R / Michelin
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.
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup / Sprint Cup
Nissan's line up in the Blancpain GT Series will feature drivers from all areas of the brand's global motorsport family.
Sprint Pro car: Alex Buncombe, Mitsunori Takaboshi
Sprint Pro Silver Cup car: Sean Walkinshaw, Ricardo Sánchez
Endurance Pro car: Alex Buncombe, Lucas Ordóñez, Mitsunori Takaboshi
Endurance Pro Am car: Sean Walkinshaw, Matt Simmons, Romain Sarazin
Nurburgring 24 Hours (ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race)
Nissan/NISMO will once again field an entry in the iconic Nurburgring 24 hour race. The full driver line up is yet to be confirmed.
Super GT GT300
Nissan said that Nismo will continue to provide technical assistance to customer teams competing with the GT-R Nismo GT3 in the GT300 class of the Super GT. Under the NDDP Racing, Nissan will join in the GT300 class with Nismo athlete Jann Mardenborough and Kazuki Hoshino. In addition, the Gainer Tanax GT-R, which won the GT300 titles in 2015, will also compete this year.
Super Taikyu Series (ST-X Class)
Nismo will provide technical assistance to customer teams competing with the Nissan GT-R NISMO 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 in its fifth year, the program uniquely forms part of the students' educational program, connecting formal education and motorsports.
Pirelli World Challenge
For this year, Nissan will enter a pair of GT-R Nismo GT3 at the Pirelli World Challenge in North America. The entries will be driven by James Davison, who last year earned two overall victories and sixteen top 10 finishes. The second car will be driven by Nissan's first GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter.
Nissan will also be competing in the V8 Supercars, Super Taikyu Series (ST-3 Class), Micra Cup and Japanese Formula 3. Moreover, Nissan will continue to supply engines in both LM P2 and LM P3 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans and Asian Le Mans Series.
Last year, Nissan had a disastrous outing in the FIA World Endurance Championship as the company's GT-R LM Nismo suffered technical problems. The vehicle's 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine could not keep up with the pace. As a result, the company officially announced their withdrawal from the racing series last December 2015.