SUZUKA, Japan – NISMO Global Exchange driver Lucas Ordonez had a most auspicious inauguration to his Japanese racing career when he scored the fifth quickest time in class on the second day of the SUPER GT test at Suzuka Circuit on July 19-20.
The Spaniard used Friday's two sessions to get acclimatized to the car, before mounting a long run on Saturday where his job was to give feedback on the tires while setting decent times around the challenging track.
Ordonez proved popular with the many fans gathered at Suzuka over the two days, crowds of well-wishers flocking to get a glimpse of the man who will make his Japanese racing debut at the F1 venue in four weeks' time.
"It's been an amazing week here and I just can't wait to come back in a few weeks' time for the 1,000km race. Coming to Japan as a driver is an incredible opportunity. The experience and learning you get racing here is unbelievable. The level of competition in SUPER GT is incredibly high, I'm learning a lot and I feel really proud to be here thanks to Nissan and to NISMO. Coming here is really a dream come true for me."
NDDP Racing Team Principal Masahiro Hasemi:
"We already knew Lucas had the experience and skill to do well, and that's why we brought him to this test. On the opening day, I watched his lines and was impressed by how smoothly he drove. When I mentioned it to him, he replied that he had practiced a lot on the simulator - it really shows!
"Overall, we are very pleased with the progress he made over the two days. Lucas isn't just a quick driver; he works well within the team. He was able to correctly follow whatever instructions we gave him, expertly carrying out the tasks at hand, while also controlling his pace and managing the tires. These are qualities that are vitally important in any endurance race, and he will be a valuable addition to our team as we challenge for honors next month."
Ordonez now heads to Belgium for the 24-hour race at Spa this coming weekend, prior to jetting around Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Australia before arriving back in Japan ahead of the 1,000-km race at Suzuka on August 17-18.
SUPER GT, Japan's most popular spectator sport, enjoys huge support from the motorsport fraternity throughout the country, where eight races at six different tracks regularly bring in crowds of over 50,000 per event.
Since Nissan launched its GT3 customer car program last year, the number of Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 entries has surged to four in SUPER GT's GT300 class, equaling the series' premier class, GT500, where the car is the defending champion, having taken the Driver's title for the last two seasons. The marque now makes up some 20% of the entire 40-car field in this wildly popular series.
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