- Spa 24 Hours entry includes all-gamer line-up in No.35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3
- Mardenborough takes on the Spa 24 Hours and three F3 races in one weekend
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium - Nissan takes its gamers to one of the best racing circuits in the world this week to compete against top line-ups from the likes of McLaren, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Audi, Porsche, Aston Martin and BMW. With 70 cars expected to take the start of the Spa 24 Hours, the track that has been described as a rollercoaster ride through the forest never fails to deliver one of the toughest endurance races on the calendar. Nissan's gamers will go head-to head with over 250 racers, from ex-F1 drivers such as Bruno Senna to LMP1 works drivers including Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer.
In the white No.35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, Jann Mardenborough will join Lucas Ordonez, Wolfgang Reip and Peter Pyzera, creating a team made up purely of GT Academy winners. If jumping back into a GT car wasn't enough of a test for Jann he will be tearing between the GT and F3 paddocks throughout the weekend as he will also race in three British F3 International Series races at Spa.
Local man, Wolfgang Reip, was in the final stages of the GT Academy competition this time last year and now he is lining up on the grid for the Spa 24 Hours.
"Racing at Spa is definitely the biggest highlight of my career so far," commented Wolfie. "It has always been a dream of mine. Last year I was here as a spectator, having just qualified for Race Camp and I was laughing with my friend saying ‘maybe next year I will be racing here' and now look! My hopes are of course to finish the race; if we can do that with no incidents the result will come by itself. A Pro-Am podium would be amazing."
Over in the black corner, Alex Buncombe will be joined by his brother Chris for this race, and two GT Academy winners and Blancpain regulars Mark Shulzhitskiy and Steve Doherty, who will race the No.32 Nissan GT-R. The Nissan GT Academy Team RJN currently leads the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am Championship so a strong finish at Spa is vital.
Jann Mardenborough doubles up for the busiest weekend of his career so far
The 2011 GT Academy winner is on double duty this weekend as in addition to the Spa 24 Hours he is competing in three British Formula 3 International Series races at Spa.
"The weekend will be quite busy with Formula 3 and the Spa 24 Hours," said Jann. "I've sat down with my F3 engineer and Bob (Neville - RJN boss) to sort out the schedule for me during the time at Spa and as long as there are no timetable changes it's all good.
"Getting back into the GT3 car is going to be great!" he continued. I've been down to see the team to refresh my memory on buttons and procedures from last year so that when I get to Spa I will be on it quicker. I still have my little booster seat from last year too! The switch back to GT3 won't be completely alien to me as I drove the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 last year. Of course it's a big difference to the Formula 3 car and requires a very different driving style. The F3 car works best when it's flat, so no pitching the car unnecessarily, whereas in the GT3 car you have to sometimes use the weight and transfer it to help you. I'm looking forward to the power of the GT-R though!"
There aren't many racing drivers who don't love Spa. With it's sweeping curves and the daunting challenge of corners like Eau Rouge and Blanchimont it has something for everyone and is very good at sorting the men from the boys, as Jann explains:
"The Spa track is incredible! Eau Rouge is a great corner in a GT car as you can really make time up here as a driver. It's a good mix of fast and slow corners with barriers very close to the edges of the track. You can't make a mistake there because it will bite and you have to watch out for the marbles and debris that builds up over the 24 hours - you don't want to run wide onto that. Competing in a 24-hour race is always special and Spa makes it even more spectacular. I love the environment that surrounds a 24-hour race. The circuit fills with real enthusiasts who have come to watch some real racing.
"Racing in the dark on your own is one of the coolest things there is in racing. A win at the Spa 24 Hours is something I would love to have on my CV."
Success at Spielberg
Nissan power took the spoils in Round Three of the European Le Mans Series last Saturday. The three-hour race took place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and was won by the Thiriet by TDS Racing team, competing in a Nissan-powered Oreca chassis with Mathias Beche and Pierre Thiriet at the wheel.
2013 BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES CALENDAR
April 14: Monza, Italy
June 2: Silverstone, UK
June 30: Paul Ricard, France
July 27: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
September 22: Nürburgring, Germany
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