On Monday, Nissan and NISMO (Nissan Motorsports) announced their global motorsports plans for 2018, including their team and driver lineups for the 2018 Autobacs Super GT Series.
Nissan enters four Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500s, aiming to recapture the championships it won in 2014 and 2015. Nissan won five out of eight races in 2016 and missed the 2017 title by a mere 2 points. They will also enter GT300 with two newly evolved 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s and two of the previous 2015-spec GT-R GT3s.
Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli, the 2014 and 2015 champions, will again drive NISMO’s #23 Motul Autech GT-R, marking their fifth straight season as a driving combination. Matsuda is the most successful GT500 driver in the history of the championship, with 19 wins. Quintarelli holds the series record for most championship wins, with four titles (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015).
They scored Nissan’s only victory of the 2017 season, when they won from the pole position at the Motegi GT Grand Final at Twin Ring Motegi.
Supporting them are a new team to GT500 and two returning challengers, the newcomers being NDDP Racing with B-Max. Led by legendary Nissan driver and team director Masahiro Hasemi, the new team will pair three-time GT500 champion Satoshi Motoyama with young star Katsumasa Chiyo in the #3 Craft Sports Motul GT-R.
The #12 Calsonic Impul GT-R of Team Impul will feature Daiki Sasaki alongside GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough, with Sasaki moving over from Kondo Racing. Meanwhile, 2017 Japanese Formula 3 champion Mitsunori Takaboshi steps up from the GT300 class with Kondo Racing with Brazilian veteran João Paulo de Oliveira in the #24 Forum Engineering Advan GT-R.
The 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500’s updates include: Aerodynamic improvements, including optimization of air flow along the vehicle’s center; enhanced drivability, with increased engine output and improved durability; and revision of all alterable components to optimize the car’s potential.
Racing team Gainer will compete in the GT300 class with two 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s, as part of a strengthened alliance with NISMO. NISMO will also continue customer support for teams running the 2015-spec GT-R NISMO GT3, those teams being privateers Tomei Sports and Dijon Racing.
“We’ve got a hungry new lineup in Super GT, eager to chase down another championship for Nissan, and an eagerly awaited updated version of the GT-R NISMO GT3 that will race this year,” said Michael Carcamo, global motorsports director at Nissan.
Nissan – GT500 Teams and Drivers
#23 – NISMO – Michelin
Tsugio Matsuda & Ronnie Quintarelli
#3 – B-MAX RACING with NDDP – Michelin
Satoshi Motoyama & Katsumasa Chiyo
#12 – TEAM IMPUL – Bridgestone
Daiki Sasaki & Jann Mardenborough
#24 – KONDO RACING – Yokohama
João Paulo Lima de Oliveira & Mitsunori Takaboshi
Nissan – GT300 Teams & Drivers
#10 – GAINER – Yokohama
Kazuki Hoshino & Hiroki Yoshida
#11 – GAINER – Dunlop
Katsuyuki Hiranaka & Hironobu Yasuda
#48 – DIJON RACING – Yokohama
#360 – TOMEI SPORTS – Yokohama