Nissan has announced that it is bringing back the Nissan GT-R to the Nordschleife for an assault on the 2014 Nurburgring 24 Hours on the 21st and 22nd of June. The Nordschleife has been the scene of many Nissan road car time attacks over the years, the latest of which saw the new Nissan GT-R NISMO road car complete a lap in just 7 minutes 8.679 seconds.
Nissan and NISMO have assembled a varied group of top racers from its global stable for its first official assault on the event. Leading the charge will be a two-car entry from Nissan GT Academy Team RJN, which will be run in conjunction with NISMO Factory engineers from Japan and a further GT-R entered by Schulze Motorsport.
GT Academy Germany Judge, Nick Heidfeld, will race the No.80 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, numbered to celebrate Nissan’s 80th year. He will team up with the most recent GT Academy Germany winner, Florian Strauss, who was chosen by Nick to make the transition from virtual to reality just eight months ago. Florian will be glad to be racing with his mentor at the Nurburgring as this will be only the fourth international race of his career. Nick and Florian will be joined by the two men who know the GT3 GT-R better than most: another GT Academy graduate, Lucas Ordonez, and Alex Buncombe.
“I’m delighted to increase my involvement with Nissan from my judging role on the German GT Academy show to now also include racing the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at the Nurburgring 24 Hours,” said Heidfeld. “To be team-mates with Florian, who I helped select as the 2013 winner of the GT Academy competition, is quite incredible and is a great chance for me to continue the mentoring process with him at the Nordschleife. Together with Alex and Lucas we will tackle one of the most beautiful and challenging circuits in the world.”
Alex Buncombe is now a YouTube sensation with the in-car footage of him climbing 17 places on the opening lap of the BlancPain Endurance Series at Monza.
Lining up alongside them will be the No.30 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, which celebrates 30 years of NISMO. This car will be engineered predominately by a team from NISMO who will travel from Japan for this event. Nissan Super GT racers, Michael Krumm and Kazuki Hoshino, will team up with Nismo Global Exchange Driver Katsumasa Chiyo and ‘Ring regular Tetsuya Tanaka in this car.
“Driving a Nissan GT-R at the Nurburgring is pure pleasure,” said Krumm. “To have the opportunity to battle for top positions makes this year’s race very special for me. I have been waiting for this opportunity for a few years now, and it looks like this could be the shot for a good position.
“Having said that, anything can happen at the Nordschleife,” he continued. “So we also need luck of course. For the young drivers in our team it will be a huge challenge. The Nordschleife is the most challenging circuit in the world and when you add rain and fog to the equation, things can get even more uncomfortable. I’m sure they will all do a great job, as everyone has been prepared by Nissan and NISMO very well.”
The third Schulze GT-R has another star driver from the virtual world, the creator of Gran Turismo, Kazanori Yamauchi and the 2009 winner of GT Academy, Jordan Tresson.
“The Nurburgring 24 Hours is a special event for Nissan,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “To compete at the Nordschleife will be a very proud moment for everyone involved as we think about the long line of road specification GT-Rs and now the GT-R NISMO that have grown up there. It is important to show our fans and customers again that there is cross over between road cars and race car development at Nissan. There is no better evidence of that than the Japanese based NISMO engineers huge commitment to this global effort.”