Nissan has announced its Global Motorsports Activities for 2009 and it looks like we'll be seeing the GT-R campaign in the FIA-GT1 category earlier than expected.
Initial reports claimed that Nissan would begin offering LeMans-spec racers to privateer teams for the 2010 FIA-GT1 season, but in an effort to test the performance and competitiveness of the platform, a NISMO-developed GT-R will run as a non-championship entry in four races in 2009. Nissan is partnering with Gigawave MotorSport on the GT-R entry and has tapped GT500 racer Michael Krumm from NISMO and Darren Turner from Gigawave to pilot the GT-R during the season. Nissan hasn't announced exactly what events the NISMO GT-R will participate in, but there's a good chance that we'll be seeing Godzilla running at LeMans.
The specs on race-ready GT-R haven't been officially revealed, but there's a possibility that NISMO will drop the twin-turbo'd V6 in favor of the 4.5-liter VK45D8 V8. Output is estimated to be between 540-590 hp and 450-500 lb-ft of torque, with a curb weight as low as 3,000 pounds.
Nissan also took the opportunity to announce its SuperGT contenders, with four teams – NISMO, Hasemi Motor Sport, Impul and Kondo Racing – each campaigning a GT-R in the GT500 class. The new SuperGT car will sport a new air-cooling system and, in keeping with the new regulations, shortened overhangs to reduce downforce. A new paddle-shift transmission is also being developed.
All the details on the drivers, the teams and Nissan's other motorsports efforts are in the press release below the fold, along with a video of the official announcement. No word yet on a possible Grand Am GT-R, but with every automaker throttling-back their motorsports efforts, we're not surprised.
[Source: Nissan via GTRBlog]
Announcement on Global Motorsports Activities for 2009
TOKYO (February 27, 2009) - Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. (NISMO) today announced their global motorsport programme for 2009.
For 2009, Nissan continues to participate in the SUPER GT series, GT500 class, which is the highest level in Japanese domestic motorsports, with the Nissan GT-R. Nissan will also support grassroots activities in select countries outside of Japan to help nurture the motorsports culture, which has millions of fans throughout the world.
"Motorsports is an important part of Nissan's strategy for building a strong brand with consumers who share our passion for high-performance driving," said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. "In addition to being an important touch-point for consumers, motorsports serve as a dynamic proving ground for automotive innovation."
1. SUPER GT
The R35 model Nissan GT-R will be entered in the GT500 class of SUPER GT.
This year's entries will incorporate changes that include an improved air-cooling system and a paddle-shift transmission. The vehicles also conform to the racing body's latest regulation changes to decrease down force through shortened vehicle overhang. NISMO provides technical assistance and vehicle development to all participating teams.
This year's line-up of NISMO, HASEMI MOTORSPORT, TEAM IMPUL and KONDO RACING will deploy 1 car each for a total of 4 Nissan GT-Rs that will race in the GT500 class series. Kunihiko Kakimoto remains as general manager in charge of Nissan related teams with the NISMO team managed by Yutaka Suzuki. HASEMI MOTOR SPORT team welcomes to its roster Hironobu Yasuda, who trained in the rigorous Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP).
|Entrant:||Team Manager:||Drivers:||Vehicle Name:||Tyre Maker:|
|1||NISMO||Yutaka Suzuki||Satoshi Motoyama / Benoit Treluyer||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Bridgestone|
|3||HASEMI MOTOR SPORT||Masahiro Hasemi||Ronnie Quintarelli / Hironobu Yasuda||TBA||Michelin|
|12||TEAM IMPUL||Kazuyoshi Hoshino||Tsugio Matsuda / Sebastien Philippe||IMPUL Calsonic GT-R||Bridgestone|
|24||KONDO RACING||Masahiko Kondo||João Paulo de Oliveira / Seiji Ara||HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R||Yokohama|
2. Private racers category
1. March Cup series
Providing amateur racers a chance to experience the thrill of auto racing, Nissan holds the March Cup races (East Japan Series, West Japan Series, Nissan March Championship Cup). This pits private racers with actual racing conditions, with each car equipped with a data logger and GPS to record the racing lines taken by drivers. As previously announced, 2009 is the final run for the March Cup series.
2. Japanese domestic private teams
1. SUPER GT GT300 class
Technical assistance will be given to private teams competing in Fairlady Zs.
2. Super Taikyu series
Technical assistance will be given to private teams competing in Fairlady Zs in both ST1 and ST3 classes.
3. Global Race activities
Aiming for a 3rd championship win, Nissan and NISMO will provide technical assistance to its China partner Dongfeng Motor Co., Ltd., which enters its Nissan Tiidas in the 1600cc Class of the China Circuit Championship (CCC). The event is the country's premier domestic racing event, where locally manufactured production-based race cars compete. Nissan Tiida won the title in 2006 and 2008.
With 8 consecutive Driver's championship wins, Nissan seeks to retain its title in the South Africa Off-Road Championship. Dominating the event will be the Nissan Navara, well known for its controlled performance and rugged reliability.
To check the performance of cars to be sold to racing teams competing in the FIA-GT1 class, a NISMO-developed car will run as a non-championship entry in 4 races in 2009, entered in a team partnership with Gigawave MotorSport. It is expected that the car is to be driven by Michael Krumm (NISMO) and Darren Turner (Gigawave).
Gigawave MotorSport, a racing team based in county Essex, England, has been competing in the FIA GT Championship since 2007. The team's parent company Gigawave Ltd., as an official partner of the FIA GT Championship, provides on-board cameras for real-time coverage of the races. http://www.gigawavemotorsport.com/