July 29, 2013


Buncombe, Shulzhitskiy and Doherty second in Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am class
Blancpain Endurance Series Race Report

Spa - Francorchamps, Belgium (July 28 2013)

  • Nismo Athletes hold top three positions in Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am Championship
  • Nissan GT Academy Team RJN retains lead in Teams' Championship
  • Wolfgang Reip is highest-placed Belgian in Spa 24 Hours

Nissan's all-gamer line-up of Lucas Ordonez, Jann Mardenborough, Wolfgang Reip and Peter Pyzera took a Pro-Am podium in the Spa 24 Hours today when they brought the #35 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 to the checkered flag in third place in class and seventh place overall.

This result means that the driver's championship is now a Nissan 1-2-3 with Lucas Ordonez at the top of the table, followed by Peter Pyzera and Alex Buncombe. Nissan GT Academy Team RJN also retains the lead in the teams' championship.

The 2013 Spa 24 Hours will be remembered as a race of attrition with around 50% of the starters failing to finish. The #32 G-Drive-liveried Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 sadly had a dramatic exit during the first hour of the race. Alex Buncombe made one of his trademark starts, moving up from 15th on the grid to eighth place after just two laps. On lap 13 as Alex went into Eau Rouge something broke on the left rear of the car and he was pitched into the tire barrier at Raidillon. Alex walked away unscathed but the race was over for the #32 GT-R, which will now be taken back to the UK for investigation.

The #35 ‘YouTube’ Nissan GT-R ran like clockwork throughout the 24-hour race. A stroke of bad luck during the night put the car three laps behind the leaders, which left the Nismo Athletes with a lot of work to do. The team completed a scheduled brake change only for the safety car to come out just after the Nissan had returned to the track, giving the other competitors the time to do their brake change during a safety car period. No amount of planning can avoid these situations so there was nothing for it but to race on and race hard - and that's exactly what they did!

It has been an emotional week for Lucas Ordonez so it was fitting that the Spaniard was behind the wheel when the #35 GT-R took the checkered flag.

“This week has been tough emotionally,” he said. “I lost my Uncle Carlos and then the terrible train crash happened in Spain. My Uncle was a big supporter of my racing so he has been on my mind a lot this week and of course I dedicate this podium to him. This is a great result for Nissan, for GT Academy, and for everyone involved in this program. We took seventh place overall with an all-gamer entry so we have proved once again that GT Academy works and I feel very proud. This was a tough race; just look at the results as only 50% of the cars finished. I very much enjoy driving this car, in this team, with Nissan.

Jann Mardenborough had a very busy weekend at Spa, the highlights being his second-place finish in yesterday's final Formula 3 race and now a podium in the Spa 24 Hours.

“The car ran perfectly today,” said Jann. “The pit stops were great and everyone drove a mature and sensible race so we were able to make steady progress. It's good to be back in the GT car. I'll admit now that I was a little anxious before the weekend about switching between F3 and GT but getting in the GT car felt like coming home. I'll have to work on getting used to sharing my car again though!”

“This is my first big podium and it has happened at Spa so it is an incredible feeling,” said Wolfgang Reip, who was the highest placed Belgian in the race. “It was a very difficult race and I'm sure with better luck we could have won our class but so many things can happen during a 24-hour race. I'm very proud to have this trophy.”

“It's a great feeling when you realize that all your hard work has paid off,” said Peter Pyzera. “After winning GT Academy we join Nissan's driver development program and we are pushed very hard to make the most of our abilities. To take this podium finish shows us that we are doing it right.”

“Motor racing is a tough, competitive sport and the fact that almost 50% of the cars didn't even finish this race is testament to the hard work put in by Nissan GT Academy Team RJN,” said Darren Cox, Nissan's Director of Global Motorsport. “It's almost getting monotonous to write good news stories about our GT Academy winners but this one ranks as one of our most rewarding and hard-earned results.”

Click images above to see larger versions.


Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am class
Pos No Machine Driver Laps Time / Behind
1 59 Ferrari 458 Italia Cameron/Griffin/Mortimer/Vilander 557 24:02:09.389
2 71 Ferrari 458 Italia Salo/Ladygin/Shaitar/Mediani 556 1Lap
3 35 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Ordonez/Mardenborough/Pyzera/Reip 553 4Laps
4 18 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 Hummel/Jans/Christodoulou/Jäger 551 6Laps
5 72 Ferrari 458 Italia Zlobin/Persiani/Ladygin/Babini 547 10Laps
6 83 Porsche 997 GT3 R Clement/Pla/Armindo/Renauer 545 12Laps
7 70 Ferrari 458 Italia Basov/Bobbi/Guidi/Skryabin 544 13Laps
8 73 Ferrari 458 Italia Aleshin/Markozow/Frolov/Move 539 18Laps
9 98 Porsche 997 GT3 R Klohs/Ragginger/Asch/Richter 526 31Laps
10 99 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Howard/Adam/Mc Kenzie/Mücke 524 33Laps
Blancpain Endurance Series Pro class
Pos No Machine Driver Laps Time / Behind
1 84 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 Schneider/Buhk/Götz 564 24:00:09.667
2 150 Porsche 997 GT3 R Lieb/Lietz/Pillet 563 1 Lap
3 2 Audi R8 LMS Ultra Lotterer/Mies/Stippler 558 6Laps
4 6 Audi R8 LMS Ultra Primat/Jarvis/Haase 557 7Laps
5 75 Porsche 997 GT3 R Hennerici/Maassen/Soulet 550 14Laps
6 33 Porsche 997 GT3 R Bernhard/Bergmeister/Lapierre 543 21Laps
7 69 McLaren MP4-12C Verdonck/Carroll/Bell 542 22Laps
8 88 McLaren MP4-12C Senna/Barff/Goodwin 540 24Laps
9 44 Ferrari 458 Italia Rigon/Ramos/Zampieri 528 36Laps
10 26 BMW Z4 Colombo/Franchi/Kechele 525 39Laps
11 23 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Luhr/Kane/Dumbreck 497 67Laps


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