NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan GT Academy U.S. champions Bryan Heitkotter and Steve Doherty will team up behind the wheel of a Nissan Altima for the remainder of the 2014 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) racing season in the No. 34 Street Touring (ST) class CA Sport/Skullcandy machine. This weekend, the duo will take on an always crowded field at the Monterey Grand Prix at historic Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
Nissan GT Academy is a partnership between Nissan and Sony PlayStation® that brings the best Gran Turismo® racing gamers together in a competition to determine which of them can translate their gaming skills into actual on-track racing results. Heitkotter, 33, won the U.S. GT Academy rounds in 2011, while Doherty, 30, was the 2012 champion.
The drivers were teammates once previously in the Skullcandy Altima 3.5 V6 at Sebring in March, where they finished 31st in the ST class after mechanical difficulties just before the halfway point. The pair have run separately with the Skullcandy team at different events – Heitkotter at Daytona in January, where he qualified fourth, and Doherty at Kansas Speedway last August.
Doherty raced last season in the Blancpain Endurance Series in Europe, driving a race prepared Nissan GT-R and earning two podium finishes.
Heitkotter, the 33-year old has three pole positions, five front row qualifying runs, a podium finish and four top ten finishes in six starts in the Grand Sport (GS)-class Doran Racing Nissan 370Z NISMO in 2012 and 2013.
“I'm thrilled to be racing with Skullcandy Team Nissan for the rest of the 2014 season,” said the Fresno native. “They've got a solid platform and a real passion for racing which will serve us well. As a driver, racing regularly in highly competitive fields will provide many opportunities for growth and refinement. Partnering with Steve gives us a strong driver lineup and we will be working hard to get the Nissan Altima on the podium and further up the points standings in CTSC.”
Team owner Lara Tallman and pro driver Vesko Kozarov manage the Salt Lake City-based CA Sport racing shop. The team finished first at the 2013 Daytona CTSCC event and grabbed a combined seven top ten finishes en route to 11th place in season points. The team’s No. 33 car, driven by Kozarov and Derek Jones, finished 4th at Sebring last month.
“It’s so great to have Steve and Bryan racing with us in the 34 Altima all season,” said Tallman. “They bring a lot of energy and the interaction between all of drivers, combined with Vesko’s experience is something that I believe will make the whole team better as we move forward.”
First practice for the CTSCC takes place at 12:35 p.m. (PDT) on Friday, May 2, with qualifying the same day at 7:10 p.m. The 2.5-hour race starts at 3:45 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, May 3. Full event information, as well as timing and scoring, can be located at www.imsa.com.
Television coverage of the race will be shown on a tape-delayed basis on FOX Sports 1 at 10 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, May 11.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
Founded in 1984, NISMO is Nissan’s Global Motorsports and performance road car development arm. From its new headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, NISMO promotes and manages Nissan’s international racing activities, plans and develops competition engines and parts for race applications and also designs performance parts and accessories for Nissan production vehicles. Visit the NISMO performance parts and accessories site at http://www.nissanusa.com/nismo/
About GT Academy
Nissan GT Academy returns to U.S. television for its fourth season this fall, determining once again which of America’s best racers from PlayStation® driving simulator Gran Turismo®6 have what it takes to make the jump from the couch to the cockpit to become a professional racing driver. For more information about Nissan GT Academy, visit http://www.nissanusa.com/gtacademyshow/
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Nissan North America, Inc.
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