After contesting the Dubai 24 with an all-GT Academy alumni line-up and supporting engine customer ESM’s return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Nissan will now enter the Australian endurance battle this weekend with two factory Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 entries.
After making its debut in the race three years ago, Nissan stormed to victory in 2015 with Katsumasa Chiyo passing two cars on the final restart to claim the win.
Last year the Japanese ace was again on a late race charge – including pulling off a “pass on the grass” on Mountain Straight – but just came up short in second place.
Chiyo will team up with fellow NISMO athlete Alex Buncombe and Australian Supercars ace Michael Caruso aboard the No.23 GT-R.
The second No.24 GT-R will feature former GT Academy winners Jann Mardenborough and Florian Strauss teamed with Australian Supercars ace and former Bathurst 1000 winner, Todd Kelly. The trio’s GT-R will feature a new Nissan Genuine Oil line-up livery for Bathurst.
Mardenborough starred in Super GT in Japan last year in the GT300 class and will be entering his second enduro for the year after heading the Dubai line-up.
Strauss was part of the winning line-up in 2015 and also joined Chiyo on the podium here last year.
“I’m really looking forward to having a crack at the Bathurst 12 Hour again this year with my Australian family, Team Kelly and Team RJN,” Chiyo said.
“I have strong teammates. It’s like a dream team. I’m always excited when I hear about the Bathurst 12 Hour. It is such an amazing track, awesome fans with amazing history.
“In 2015, we achieved winning the race after a dramatic finish. Last year, we tried to defend the title, but we were beaten by the McLaren. This year, I think our mission is simple – win back the trophy for the Nissan GT-R.”
In addition to the two factory entries, Wall Racing will enter two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s in the GT3 Am class featuring Daniel Bilski, Adrian Flack and Chris Pithe in the No.38 entry. The second car will be headlined by Always Evolving US Nissan Pirelli World Challenge team boss Eric Davis with Brett Hodges and Fred Poordad aboard the No.66.
The entire 12 Hours of Bathurst will be streamed live on NISMO TV on YouTube. Saturday’s Top Ten shoot-out will also feature on the live streaming schedule.