Rd.1 Okayama International Circuit 6 - 7 Apr


Aiming steady race to get points in both classes for the opening round

“This season features changes to the driver lineups and tire brands of NISSAN's GT500 teams. Reigning champions Masataka Yanagida and Ronnie Quintarelli, both of whom have achieved dominance over the last couple of seasons, have been welcomed at NISMO, and the car will run on Michelin tires for the first time in three seasons.In addition, Satoshi Motoyama has joined the double championship-winning MOLA team, and will be contesting the series with GT300 graduate Yuhi Sekiguchi.Meanwhile, the abundantly experienced and Nismo global ambassador Michael Krumm has taken up residence at KONDO RACING, and will be partnered by Hironobu Yasuda. TEAM IMPUL retains its driver pairing of Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paolo de Oliveira, now in their third year together.

“This is a very important season for NISSAN, one where the Yanagida/Quintarelli duo will be attempting to take a third successive driver's title while their erstwhile team MOLA will be going for a third-straight Teams crown.

“Additionally, it has been decided that next year's GT500 cars will be integrated with the same chassis as the DTM, making this season the last year in which the teams race under the current regulations, so I'd like to see a strong finale. This is a crucially important opening round of that final season.

“From the perspective of the Nissan camp, firstly, I want us to be strong at grabbing points from the opening race onwards. In the initial stages of last season, Okayama for the opening round and Fuji for the second, those were races that we should have been able to win. It was painful that those two results got away, and brought us to working hard during the initial stages of the series, but eventually we were able to take the championship. Therefore, this year we will be putting in a massive effort towards our goal of reliably taking as many points as we can from the beginning of the season, and are planning to compete in a way that takes in the broader view, without getting impatient.

“Prior to the opening round, we have been testing in a variety of locations. However, since we don't know how much fuel our rivals have onboard, vehicle weights, etc., we can't yet see the difference in actual performance. Once the lid's been lifted on the season-opener, we'll know for the first time the real results of the efforts of the various manufacturers. With this in mind, I'd like us to deploy a steady race, as if predicting the future of the season. This may sound reticent, but of course if the opportunity arises, we'll definitely be aiming for win the event.

“By changing drivers and tire brands, as I mentioned earlier, there's a tendency to invite a little confusion into the mix. I think it's important not to be conceited about past glories, but rather to carry on and every time to put together a strong race. There has been a driver switch as well, so I might go up to Motoyama before the start of the race and tell him "don't get confused when you pit!

“The weather forecast for the weekend in Okayama calls for clouds with some rain, and so the weather conditions may be unstable. However, we have three brands of tires competing. Even if it's cold or rain falls, I think we can handle whatever gets thrown at us, and maybe a major opportunity will present itself.

“Finally, in GT300 this year, there are four NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 entries. One (#360) is built to 2012 specifications while the other 3 are all 2013 spec. - meaning that there'll be no shortage of battle power!

“The conditions in all four cars are exactly the same, so all the teams are evenly matched. We won't put any difference into the handling of one or other particular car. With this arrangement every each team has a chance at victory anywhere. I'd definitely like us to aim for a double title across both classes, GT500 and GT300 - and I think that we've got enough potential to achieve that. I'm looking forward to your support of the NISSAN GT-R throughout 2013!”