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GT ACADEMY ACE SIMMONS RETURNS TO EUROPE FOR BLANCPAIN ENDUROS

Former GT Academy winner, Australian Matt Simmons will return to the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup in 2017 behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.matt-simmons

Simmons will drive the #22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the Pro Class, prepared by RJN Motorsports.

Less than two years ago, Simmons held a full-time job at Australia Post before turning his life around when he won the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition, granting him a full season as a professional racer.

Simmons enjoyed an impressive debut season in Europe last year – including a solid seventh place class finish at Silverstone.

This year, however, the challenge will step up, with Simmons competing in the Pro class.

“I am so excited about my racing journey continuing into 2017. This off-season was a little different to last year as I wasn’t sure what I would be doing and was happy to race anything with Nissan,” Simmons said.

“To be confirmed now, to have another crack at Blancpain in the GT-R NISMO GT3 is the best possible outcome. I can’t thank Nissan Australia and RJN Motorsport enough for making this all possible.

“I feel extremely privileged to go to race tracks that I have raced at before. It will definitely be an advantage for me.

“That doesn’t mean it will be easier though, as we are stepping up to the Pro Class so I am going to have my work cut out for me. I am looking forward to the challenge that this year will bring.

The #22 GT-R will share a garage with the #23 official NISMO factory-backed entry to be driven by Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe and Bathurst 12 Hour winner Katsumasa Chiyo.

Simmons has left his home base of Queensland, Australia, and is being thrust straight into a pre-season driver fitness camp with his Nissan team-mates ahead of the official pre-season test at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France on March 13-14.

Round 1 of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup will be held at Monza, Italy on April 22-23.

PARRY & MOORE COMPLETE LINE-UP FOR ADDITIONAL GT-R BLANCPAIN ENTRY

Welshman Matt Parry and Brit Struan Moore will join Simmons aboard the No.22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in 2017 as the trio do battle at Monza, Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps and Barcelona.

The 25th McLaren Autosport BRDC Award-winner Parry enjoyed a race-winning season in GP3 in 2016 and is set to make his GT debut this year.

“After racing in GP3 for two years, we evaluated our options over the winter and, while there were opportunities to continue in single-seaters, the chance to link up with a team like RJN and running in a championship-winning car like the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 was too good to pass up,” Parry said.

Moore moves to RJN Motorsport to drive the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 after making his debut the Blancpain Series in 2016 and enjoying a race-winning season in the recent Asian Le Mans Series..

“I’m really excited to be joining RJN Motorsport in the Nissan for my second season in the Blancpain Endurance Series,” Moore said.

“I’m looking forward to getting to work with my new team mates and the specialised people within the team that has been so successful in the past.

“I learnt a great deal in my rookie season of GT’s last year and for me this transition to RJN and Nissan is a great step forward to help me fight for results and continue my development as a young driver.”

RJN Motorsport boss Bob Neville is looking forward to the trio lining up alongside the recently announced NISMO factory-backed No.23 GT-R.

“Coming from the GT Academy programme to make your debut in what is the most competitive GT3 racing series in the world was a huge undertaking for Matt last year,” Neville said.

“He faced an incredible learning curve last year and did a brilliant job. Now he has a year’s experience under his belt, he will be able to put that knowledge and experience to good use.

“We are very pleased to welcome Struan to RJN Motorsport. He is a young silver driver who already has GT experience, and also a friendly face for Lucas and Chiyo-san who he raced against a couple of years ago in Japanese F3.

“With Matt Parry we have a very talented driver from a pure single seater background who is looking to make the transition to GT racing. We are of course delighted he has joined us to achieve this.”

Source. Nissan

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