A tricky wet-dry qualifying at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a disappointment for Alex Buncombe (UK), Katsumasa Chiyo (Japan) and Spanish former GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez – the team only qualifying 46th fastest for the three-hour season finale.
However, the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 went onto unleash pure speed during the race. Buncombe made a blistering start to gain 10 places on the opening lap and all three drivers made strong progress through each of their stints.
By the chequered flag, Buncombe, Chiyo and Ordóñez had made up an astonishing 33 places in the race to finish 13th overall.
“It’s probably the biggest comeback I’ve seen recently, P46 to P13,” said team boss Bob Neville.
“They just drove faultlessly, the pit stops went absolutely to the second, and we couldn’t have done any better than that. We ended up scoring some team points and the race was really well driven from Chiyo-san and Lucas and Al.”
The No. 22 entry of GT Academy winner Matt Simmons, Matt Parry and Struan Moore wasn’t so lucky in their race.
Moore started the race and also made strong progress in the early stages before he was hit from behind by a rival just before the Barcelona chicane.
Damage to the oil cooler and floor put the Motul Team RJN crew to work to get the car back on track. The initial damage, however, kicked off a series of problems with the team also having to replace the gearbox.
Both Matt Simmons and Matt Parry got to undertake disrupted stints in the car but unfortunately, the team had to retire within sight of the chequered flag.