Nissan GT Academy Team RJN finally broke their run of poor fortune in the Blancpain GT Series to score their first podium finish of the 2016 season, at the three-hour Endurance Cup finale held at the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit in Germany.
The #23 Nissan GT-R finished third, driven by Mitsunori Takaboshi, Super GT alumni Lucas Ordoñez, and Alex Buncombe. They finished behind the race-winning #19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan (Michele Beretta/Andrea Piccini/Luca Stolz) and the second-place #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 (Laurens Vanthoor/Frederic Vervisch/Dries Vanthoor).
“We had to save our brakes during our stints because the Grand Prix Course of Nürburgring was hard on brakes, but all three drivers were fast and the team did fantastic jobs at pit stops,” said Takaboshi, who drove the final stint of the race.
“I am really happy to get on the podium. I am not 100 percent satisfied, as there are higher places to go, but third place is very valuable that was earned by the whole team.”
Takaboshi’s first career podium finish in the Blancpain GT Series comes just three weeks after he scored a podium finish in his first-ever GT500 race in Super GT, finishing third in the 45th International Suzuka 1000km for S Road MOLA International.
“It was quite good to be able to start from P11, because we had not been that high up this year,” said Ordoñez, who last raced in Super GT in 2015 for Kondo Racing.
“I quickly got to the front, the car behaved fantastic. I kept pushing, we had some excellent pitstops and Mitsu and Alex both did amazing jobs. I think we deserved this podium, we’ve had a tough season but this makes up for a lot.”
The race saw the Garage 59 McLaren team of Rob Bell, Côme Ledogar, and Shane van Gisbergen crowned Blancpain GT Endurance Cup champions of 2016 (van Gisbergen was replaced by Duncan Tappy for the final event).
The final Blancpain GT round will be held in Barcelona, Spain in two weeks’ time, where the overall Blancpain GT Series championship will be decided in a final sprint race at the Circuit de Catalunya.