Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Nissan Press | posted February 09, 2015 17:45
GT Academy graduates Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss nab their first Bathurst win
The Nismo Athlete Global Team has just achieved victory at this year's Bathurst 12 Hour after Japanese racing driver Katsumasa Chiyo powered the #35 GT-R GT3 Am Class entry from third to first place during the penultimate lap.
It is Nissan's first win with the GT-R at Mount Panorama since the automaker's back-to-back win in 1991 and 1992 at the Bathurst 1000.
“It is just unbelievable because I couldn’t imagine that end of the race, with a strong Audi and Bentley and we are still in the amateur class. The car is very good. It is very strong on the straight. I tried to imagine, it was just amazing, we couldn’t know what would happen in this race, but we just tried our best in the moment and then I had a chance in the final restart. It was just awesome. The car was amazing, and so was the team,” said Chiyo.
Fellow drivers and GT Academy graduates Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss each garnered their first Bathurst win in their young racing careers.
Coming in second was the #15 Phoenix Racing GmbH Audi Sport R8 LMS Ultra of Marco Mapelli, Laurens Vanthoor, and Markus Winkelhock; they were closely followed by the #97 Craft-Bamboo Aston Martin Vantage GT3 driven by Stefan Mucke, Alex MacDowell and two-time race winner Darryl O’Young. Both 2nd and 3rd place finishers were from the GT3 Pro-Am class.
Reip was surprised that the team was actually able to win the race as during the first few hours of the race, he had to 'save' the car for the window time. Strauss on the other hand had an exhilarating time with the car and stated that the team was very lucky to have won the race.
The car originally suffered some damage during its qualifying run last Saturday and was only fully repaired during the early hours of Sunday.
“This is a truly historic result for Nissan. It is another great chapter in the history of NISMO and the legendary GT-R. I am proud of the teamwork from a global group of committed Nissan and NISMO racers in the car, garage and behind the scenes keeping the fans up to date. The news will reverberate from Australia to Japan and into Europe especially Belgium, Germany and the UK,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Marketing, Sales and Brand, NISMO.