Nissan to field Nismo GT-R in Super GT300 class [w/video]

Think of Japan's Super GT series and you're likely to conjure up images of competition versions of top-spec Japanese supercars like the Lexus LFA, Honda HSV and the Nissan GT-R lapping the likes of Fuji, Suzuka and Motegi, their thunderous 500-horsepower V8 engines drowning out the thunderous applause from the enthralled crowds. But that's just the GT500 class.

Below it there's also the GT300 class, where new challengers this season will include the Subaru BRZ, Honda CR-Z and even the Toyota Prius, all decked out for competition duty with no more than 300 horsepower on tap. So while Nissan has dominated the GT500 class with its purpose-built GT-R racing machine, this year it's fielding a much more production-based version in the GT300 class as well.

While the GT500-spec GT-R ditches its twin-turbo V6 in favor of a V8 – making it more akin to the production car in appearance than in substance – the GT300 challenger is closely based on the road car. It starts out with the Nismo GT3 version (pictured above), and from there applies modifications like an air restrictor to bring it under the 300-horsepower cap to comply with series regulations.

The car is being fielded by the Nissan Driver Development Program, and forms part of the global motorsport program which the Japanese automaker just announced, with participation in both classes of Super GT, Le Mans and associated series, various GT and off-road series here in North America and even the Australian V8 Supercars series. Follow the jump for all the details and an spectacularly cheesy 80s-style montage clip.

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Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. (NISMO) today announced their 2012 global motorsports program.

Nissan won numerous championships in motor races in 2011. For 2012, it will participate in the GT500 class of the SUPER GT series, the top motorsports competition series in Japan, provide support in overseas races, mainly by offering its engines to teams participating in LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) Class, and support customer teams which use the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3, available to customers beginning this year.

Nissan will further support grassroots activities through a driver scholarship program and support for racing teams that enter national championship series around the world.

In pursuit of racing through electric cars, Nissan will continue demo runs globally with NISSAN LEAF NISMO RC, which has the same high performance lithium-ion battery and motor as the mass-produced electric car, the NISSAN LEAF.

Nissan and NISMO once again provide excitement and entertainment to customers through dynamic motorsports competition. A summary of 2012 motorsports activities are as follows:



SUPER GT GT500 Class


The R35 model NISSAN GT-R will take part in the SUPER GT series' GT500 class.

NISMO will develop the cars and provide technical support for participating teams. The 2012 NISSAN GT-R incorporates changes in the VRH34B engine that include improved torque characteristics, along with increased horsepower in accordance with regulation changes. Also significantly improved is aerodynamics performance, achieved through a full refinement of aero parts. A lowered center of gravity and optimal load distribution are also achieved by weight reduction.

Team Composition:

MOLA, NISMO, TEAM IMPUL and KONDO RACING will deploy one car each, for a total of four Nissan GT-Rs competing across the Nissan teams in the GT500 Class. Kunihiko Kakimoto will continue as the general director of the teams driving Nissan cars.

No. Entrant Team principal Drivers Vehicle name Tire brand
1 MOLA Toshiomi Oeki Ronnie Quintarelli (Italy)/
Masataka Yanagida (Japan) S Road REITO MOLA GT-R Michelin
23 NISMO Yutaka Suzuki Michael Krumm (Germany)/
Satoshi Motoyama (Japan) MOTUL AUTECH GT-R Bridgestone
12 TEAM IMPUL Kazuyoshi Hoshino João Paulo de Oliveira (Brazil)/
Tsugio Matsuda (Japan) Calsonic IMPUL GT-R Bridgestone
24 KONDO RACING Masahiko Kondo Björn Wirdheim (Sweden)/
Hironobu Yasuda (Japan) D'station ADVAN GT-R Yokohama
SUPER GT GT300 Class


The R35 model NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 will take part in the SUPER GT series' GT300 class for the first time.

The NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 is built specially for racing according to the FIA GT3 technical regulations, based on the R35 model NISSAN GT-R.

Team Composition:

NDDP (Nissan Driver Development Program) RACING, headed by team principal Masahiro Hasemi, will participate in the GT300 class with two Nissan Advance Scholarship drivers.

No. Entrant Team principal Drivers Vehicle name Tire brand
3 NDDP RACING Masahiro Hasemi Yuhi Sekiguchi (Japan)/
Katsumasa Chiyo (Japan) S Road NDDP GT-R Yokohama
2. Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP)

Nissan will continue to support Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ), which started in 2006 with the aim of educating young drivers to enable them to compete worldwide and in the Japanese top category.

Among Nissan Advance Scholarship drivers, two drivers will take part in the SUPER GT series' GT300 class and one driver in the National (N) Class of the All-Japan F3 Championship. Two additional individuals have been selected as Nissan Scholarship drivers and will receive support to run in FCJ.
NDDP Advance Scholarship Drivers:
SUPER GT (GT300 Class): Yuhi Sekiguchi (24), Katsumasa Chiyo (24)
All-Japan F3 Championship (N Class): Daiki Sasaki (20)
NDDP FCJ Scholarship Drivers:
Mitsunori Takaboshi (19), Kiyoto Fujinami (16)
3. Super Taikyu

NISMO provides technical support to customer teams participating in the Super Taikyu series in Japan.


1. European Le Mans Series (ELMS)

NISMO will offer its NISSAN VK45DE engine, which is developed based on mass production engine, and provide technical support to Greaves Motorsport.

Team Composition:

No. Entrant Team principal
1 Greaves Motorsport Tim Greaves Alex Brundle(U.K.)/Tom Kimber-Smith (U.K.)
Lucas Ordoñez (Spain)
2. 24 Hours of Le Mans

NISMO will also offer its NISSAN VK45DE engine and provide technical support to Greaves Motorsport for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Among 18 vehicles entered for the Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class, 11 vehicles are equipped with VK45DE engines. A former British Formula One driver Martin Brundle, with his son Alex Brundle, will take part in this race.

Team Composition:

No. Entrant Team principal
42 Greaves Motorsport Tim Greaves Martin Brundle (U.K.)/Alex Brundle (U.K.)
Lucas Ordoñez (Spain)
3. World Endurance Championship (WEC)

NISMO will offer its NISSAN VK45DE engine and provide technical support to the Signatech Nissan team that will participate in WEC LMP2 class.

Team Composition: No. Entrant Team principal Drivers

No. Entrant Team principal
23 Signatech Nissan Philippe Sinault Jordan Tresson (France)/Franck Mailleux (France)/
Olivier Lombard (France)
4. Blancpain Endurance Series

Alex Buncombe (U.K.), Christopher Ward (U.K.) and Jann Mardenborough (U.K.), winner of the GT Academy 2011, will take part in the Blancpain Endurance Series with the R35 model NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3. (Team: GT ACADEMY TEAM RJN)

5. GT Academy

The past three champions of the GT Academy, namely Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, 2008 winner), Jordan Tresson (France, 2010 winner) and Jann Mardenborough (U.K., 2011 winner), are expected to to be among the top drivers in endurance racing events, mainly in Europe, this year.

Nissan Germany recently announced the establishment of GT Academy in their own country and the trainee selection program will begin in early March.


1. GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge

B.J. Zacharias and Bryan Heitkotter, both from the U.S.A., will participate in the GS Class in this series with a NISSAN 370Z. Heitkotter will take part in selective events.

Lara Tallman and Vesko Kozarov, both from the U.S.A., will take part in the ST Class with a NISSAN Altima Coupe.

2. Pirelli World Challenge

Mike Skeen (U.S.A.) will participate in the GT class in this racing series with the NISSAN GT-R. Rick Bushey, Greg Shaffer and Brian Kleeman, all from the U.S.A., will take part in the GTS class with a NISSAN 370Z.

3. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Carl Renezeder (U.S.A.) will take part in the 2WD and 4WD classes with a NISSAN Titan full-size pick up truck, while Casey Currie (U.S.A.) will participate in the Pro Light Class with a NISSAN Titan.

4. The Off-Road Championship Series

Chad Hord (U.S.A.) will participate in the 2WD class with a NISSAN Titan pickup truck, and Brad Lovell (U.S.A.), in the Pro Light Class, with a NISSAN Frontier.


Australian V8 Supercars Championship
Nissan will participate in the V8 Supercars Championship, based in Australia, from 2013, as the third manufacturer along with Ford and GM-owned Holden.


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