April 15, 2013


Blancpain Endurance Series - Round 1 Race Report

Monza, Italy (14th April,2013) - The Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 is a car that likes a bit of room to stretch its legs. At Monza - the Cathedral of Speed - there is plenty of room for that, albeit shared with 59 other cars racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Nissan's gamers-to-racers also like a bit of room to show what they are made of and Monza was the perfect place for them to sample some flat-out GT racing, amongst some of the best professionals in the business.

The YouTube-liveried No.35 GT-R came home sixth in the Pro-Am class at Monza after dramatically taking the lead in the early stages of the race. The No.32 GT-R, raced by three GT Academy winners who only graduated last August, finished eighth in class.

This was the first race at Monza for Lucas Ordonez and the four most recent winners of GT Academy - Wolfgang Reip, Mark Shulzhitskiy, Peter Pyzera and Steve Doherty. Alex Buncombe has raced at the home of the Italian Grand Prix before and it was his performance today that shone as brightly as the Italian sunshine.

Alex took the start in the YouTube GT-R after qualifying in a very strong fourth position. By the end of lap one he was up to second place and hounding the McLaren that had grabbed the lead at the start. It wasn't long before the GT-R got the better of the McLaren and he sailed into the outright lead.

Wolfgang also had a fantastic opening stint in the No.32 GT-R, moving up from 27th to 15th overall during his run. Starting the race was a big responsibility for the Belgian but he made a very mature Monza debut.

He commented: “I tried to be careful at the start as turn one is so tight but I was also keen not to lose any positions. I was surprised at how slow the cars went through there; we almost stopped. The first lap was okay but after that it all went a little crazy. I had a great battle throughout my stint with the Marc VDS BMW of my GT Academy mentor Bas Leinders. He wasn't actually driving the car during my stint but I made sure that BMW didn't get past me! Peter and Mark drove so well today and I think we are all happy with our first race here at Monza.”

It was Peter Pyzera who took over after Wolfie's stint and then Mark Shulzhitskiy drove it to the flag. After losing some time in the pits the gamers had a fight on their hands to regain position but they kept cool heads and brought the GT-R back in eighth place.

After Alex's blazing start it was Lucas who was next up in the YouTube GT-R and after the pit stop he was fifth overall and first in the Pro-Am class.

He commented: “The GT-R has been great here all weekend so it has been a lot of fun for us to race at Monza. When I jumped into the car everything felt great and I could push hard for the first half of my stint. After that I started to struggle a little with tyre pressures and I had to battle thoughout my run with very heavy traffic. I think I learned more in this race than I have in any race, fighting with the top GT drivers. Unfortunately I did a 'Hamilton' when I pitted, stopping a couple of garages short so we lost a bit of time. It has been a pleasure to race the GT-R here. It felt great to take it through the famous Monza corners and I will take away some great memories.”

The Nissan GT Academy Team RJN now moves swiftly on to Zolder in Belgium for the next round of the FIA GT Championship.

Click images above to see larger versions.


[ Race Results ] - CLASS: Pro-Am
Pos No Machine Driver Lap Time / Behind
1 50 Ferrari 458 Italia Hommerson/Machiels/Bertolini 94 3:02:18.254
2 25 BMW Z4 Hassid/Badey 94 1:05.494
3 18 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 Hummel/Jans/Christodoulou 94 1:15.675
4 99 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Howard/Mckenzie/Adam 94 1:46.280
5 17 Ferrari 458 Italia Andersen/Jenssen 93 1 LAP
6 35 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Ordonez/Doherty/Buncombe 93 1 LAP
7 8 Porsche 997 GT3 R Riegel/Stursberg/Westbrook 93 1 LAP
8 32 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Shulzhitskiy/Pyzera/Reip 93 1 LAP
9 12 McLaren MP4-12C Goudy/Vannelet/Demoustier 93 1 LAP
10 230 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Al Masaood/Bateman/Bell 92 2LAPS
[ Race Results ] - CLASS: Pro
Pos No Machine Driver Lap Time / Behind
1 44 Ferrari 458 Italia Ramos/Rigon/Zampieri 94 3:01:43.198
2 11 McLaren MP4-12C Leclerc/Parisy/Soucek 94 18.107
3 69 McLaren MP4-12C Caroll/Verdonck/Bell 94 32.887
4 13 Audi R8 LMS Ultra Stippler/Sandstrom/Mies Belgian 94 32.915
5 16 Audi R8 LMS Ultra Ide/Kumpen/Winkelhock 94 1:03.210
6 3 BMW Z4 Leinders/Buurman/Martin 94 1:06.434
7 6 Audi R8 LMS Ultra Primat/Jarvis/Haase 94 1:07.819
8 1 Audi R8 LMS Ultra Ortelli/Vanthoor/Rast Belgian 93 1 LAP
9 70 Ferrari 458 Italia Basov/Skryabin/Guidi 93 1 LAP
10 83 Porsche 997 GT3 R 93 Mapelli/Clement/Armindo 93 1 LAP
12 23 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Luhr/Kane/Dumbreck 93 1 LAP

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