GT Sport Motul Team RJN has its sights set on its “home” race at Silverstone next month after debuting the new 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at Monza’s opening round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
While the team left Italy’s “cathedral of speed” disappointed after issues in the Monza race, the team showcased the potential of the new car with some impressive performances.
Former GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez set the fastest time of the field in the second of the three qualifying sessions, and the combination of Ordóñez, Matt Parry and Alex Buncombe combined to put the car into the top ten in qualifying.
Sadly, Buncombe was forced to start from the pit lane after being unable to select first gear before the race start, but the British ace made rapid progress through the field, passing 32 cars before his pit stop.
Mid-race issues, including a trip to the garage, took the No.23 out of contention, but Buncombe is confident of a strong showing at the next race at Silverstone—a track where he previously earned a pole position in 2015.
“Qualifying was great, we got up into the top 10, and that was a real bonus for us,” Buncombe said.
“I started the race and couldn’t engage first gear. So, unfortunately, I had to start from pit lane, which made for a very exciting first five to ten laps having to fight my way up through the pack. I got up to 21st position before the end of my stint.
“We’ve learned a fair bit now with the car; we’ve got lots of data to go home and work on for Silverstone which is only a few weeks away.
“The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 car does go around Silverstone particularly well. I got the pole there a few years ago. We know that the car’s fast there, so hopefully we can bring some silverware home after the race at Silverstone.”
The No. 22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 also had a challenging opening round of the championship. Early contact for Ricardo Sanchez sent the car to pit lane, and Jordan Witt later had to retire with a rear drive issue. Sadly, Struan Moore did not get the chance to get behind the wheel.
The Silverstone round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup will be held on May 18-20.