The No. 23 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 completed its first 24-hour race and scored a top-seven finish after leading the race at one stage through the night.
Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe and Matt Parry just missed out on the Super Pole session on Thursday, qualifying 21st for Saturday’s race. At the green flag, the GT-R NISMO GT3 made strong progress and settled into the top three after four hours of the race.
The GT-R enjoyed a trouble-free run – only suffering some misfortune with the timing of its mandatory five-minute service stop and safety car periods costing some track position.
“It’s a very happy day, finishing in the points is always good news, finishing the 24 Hours of Spa is even better,” Ordonez said.
“It’s the challenge of the year, the hardest race and the one where the most points are available. P7 feels really good; I’m happy for Nissan, NISMO and for GT Sport Motul Team RJN. The team has worked really hard for the results here.
“We are the top non-German manufacturer at this race, and I’m very proud of that. It’s not easy, 68 cars on track at one of the most challenging circuits in the world.
“There are GT3s on the track everywhere, so the traffic and the accidents were happening non-stop.
“Just managing to avoid that and keep on track was the important thing. Alex and Matt did an amazing job as always, and I think all three of us have to be proud.”
The previous-generation No. 22 GT-R entry worked its way up to P5 in the Silver Cup class of the Spa 24. The lineup of Sean Walkinshaw, Jordan Witt, Ricardo Sanchez and Struan Moore were nipping at the heels of the podium before a fire in the pit box dropped them through the running order.
However, quick repairs by the crew had the GT-R rising like a phoenix from the ashes, working its way up to a fifth-place finish in Silver Cup.
“It’s amazing to finish the 24 Hours of Spa. It’s my fifth 24-hour race, and I have finished all of them with Nissan, which is a great achievement,” Sanchez said.
“We were really close to P3 and the podium at one point, but we were very unlucky with the fire.
“The guys managed to extinguish it and get the car back on track really quickly. The entire crew did an amazing job – not just the mechanics, but the engineers and all the support staff.”
The final Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup race of the season will be held in Barcelona at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 30 September. It will coincide with the finale of Nissan GT Sport Cup – Europe.