Nissan: Nissan Shuffles the Pack of GT Academy Graduates

LE CASTELLET, France – Nissan has altered the line-ups in its Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 cars in the Blancpain Endurance Series. From this weekend at Paul Ricard, the No.35 GT-R will be raced by Lucas Ordonez, Wolfgang Reip and Peter Pyzera, while Alex Buncombe moves over to the No.32 GT-R, which he will race with Mark Shulzhitskiy and Steve Doherty.

The change has been made to increase the experience and knowledge of the newest GT Academy graduates and give them a chance to challenge themselves against their higher-graded teammates. It will also ensure the G-Drive backed entry has as good a chance as the YouTube GT-R of a strong run in the Blancpain series.

“This is a driver development program,” said Nissan’s Darren Cox. “Championships are a secondary consideration; we’re here to get the absolute best out of the talent we discovered through GT Academy. We realize that changing line-ups mid-season will have a negative effect on points tables but we are confident we will produce better racing drivers this way.”


After his incredible performance at the Le Mans 24 Hours, next month’s Spa 24 Hours will provide another test of Jann Mardenborough’s mettle. The young British racer will not only compete in the British F3 races at Spa but he will also join Nissan GT Academy Team RJN for the Spa 24 Hours itself.

Jann will join Lucas, Wolfie and Peter in the No.35 YouTube-liveried GT-R, while Chris Buncombe will make it a family affair in the No.32 GT-R, joining his brother Alex in the black and red liveried G-Drive GT-R.

“I think it will fascinating to see how Jann goes in a GT car after racing purely in F3 and LM P2 so far this year,” said RJN team boss Bob Neville. “As for the newer graduates, in addition to broadening their experiences by shuffling the pack were also aware of rumblings in the paddock that our No.35 line-up was too strong. We’re not here to upset the competition – in fact we are one of the longest-standing supporters of SRO championships – so we have moved it around so each standard Blancpain line up will consist of one silver and two bronze drivers, below the required maximum driver line up regulations. We can’t make it any fairer than that.”

“It’s good for the NISMO Athletes to have a variety of experiences during the racing season,” said Cox. “Young drivers these days are far too focused purely on one series, but why shouldn’t they gain experience in the way someone like Jim Clark used to by jumping into a Lotus Cortina after doing an F2 race. We’re not wrapping them up in cotton wool. We want them to have diverse experiences, which in the long term will improve them as well rounded professional drivers.”

The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s will take to the track at Paul Ricard on Saturday morning at 09:00 for an hour of testing for the Bronze drivers. Qualifying takes place on Sunday at 10:25 before the three-hour race gets underway that afternoon at 15:00 (All times CET).