BATHURST, New South Wales, Australia – Kicking off the 2017 race season, NISMO's 60 hours of endurance racing continues at this week's Bathurst 12 Hour at Mount Panorama in Australia.
In January, Nissan contested the Dubai 24 with an all-GT Academy alumni line-up, then supported engine customer ESM's return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Nissan now enters the Australian endurance battle this weekend with two factory Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 entries.
After making its debut in the Bathurst race three years ago, Nissan raced to victory in 2015 with Katsumasa Chiyo passing two cars on the final restart to claim the win. Last year, the Japanese driver was again on a late race charge – including pulling off a "pass on the grass" on Mountain Straight – but came up short to finish in second place.
This year, Chiyo will team with fellow NISMO athlete Alex Buncombe and Australian Supercars driver Michael Caruso aboard the No. 23 Nissan GT-R. The sister No. 24 Nissan GT-R will feature former GT Academy winners Jann Mardenborough and Florian Strauss with Australian Supercars driver and former Bathurst 1000 winner Todd Kelly. The trio's GT-R will feature a new Nissan Genuine Oil line-up livery for Bathurst.
In 2016, Mardenborough excelled in the GT300 class of Super GT series in Japan. He will be entering his second endurance race for the year after heading the Dubai line-up.
Strauss was part of the winning line-up in 2015 and also joined Chiyo on the Bathurst 12 Hour podium last year.
"I'm really looking forward to having a crack at the Bathurst 12 Hour again this year with my Australian family, Team Kelly and Team RJN," said Chiyo. "I have strong teammates. It's like a dream team. It's such an amazing track with awesome fans and amazing history. In 2015, we won the race in a dramatic finish. Last year, we tried to defend the title, but we were beaten by the McLaren. This year, I think our mission is simple: win back the trophy for the Nissan GT-R."
In addition to the two factory entries, Wall Racing will enter two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s in the GT3 Am class. The No. 38 entry features drivers Daniel Bilski, Adrian Flack and Chris Pithe. The second No. 66 car will be headlined by Always Evolving U.S. Nissan Pirelli World Challenge team boss Eric Davis with Brett Hodges and Fred Poordad.
The 12 Hours of Bathurst will be streamed live on NISMO TV on YouTube. Saturday's Top Ten shoot-out will also feature on the live streaming schedule.
Bathurst 12 Hour, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
12 Hours of Sebring, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Sebring, Florida, USA
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