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GT Academy Graduates 2016 Race Calendar

On February 26 (Local time) Nissan Motor Company / NISMO has revealed their plans for the 2016 racing season, announcing their participation in various categories and championships as well as providing technical support to other teams with their engines. From the announcements, below are some of the news relating to the GT Academy graduates.

Lucas Ordóñez (2008 European Champion)

Lucas Ordóñez, who last season competed in Japan’s Super GT (GT500 Class), F3 Championship and Le Mans 24 Hour race, will be returning to Europe for a full participation in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup (Pro car) driving the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3. With his comrades of many battles Alex Buncombe and Mitsunori Takaboshi, they will race to defend the team title established by Wolfgang Reip in the previous year. The first round of racing begins in Monza (Italy) on 23-24 April.

Jann Mardenborough (2011 European Champion)

Jann, who participated in the FIA World Endurance Championship last season, will be trading places with Lucas to race in Japan in the Super GT and the All Japan F3 Championship. For the Super GT, he will join NDDP Racing Team, the same where Lucas raced, driving the B-MAX NDDP GT-R. His team mate will be Kazuki Hoshino, who was already Lucas' team mate, and the two will race first at the Okayama International Circuit on 9-10 April. Jann will be also competing in the All Japan F3 Championship driving for the B-MAX Racing Team with NDDP. In the #22 car, he will be driving his first round at the Suzuka Circuit on 23-24 April.

Bryan Heitkotter (2011 US Champion)

Bryan Heitkotter, who raced the US Pirelli World Challenge and earned five victories in GTA Class with eleven overall top ten finishes last year, will be returning to the series. He will drive the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 from the opening round of the season at the Circuit of the Americas (Austin, Texas).

Ricardo Sánchez (2014 International Champion)

Ricardo, who fought in the Blancpain GT Endurance Series Cup last season, will be entering the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup (Silver Cup Class) this year, a first for Nissan. A drastic change from the more strategic endurance races, this series requires spontaneous speed. The car he will be driving is the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, and the opening round of the series will be held at Misano (Italy) on 8-10 April.

Matthew Simmons (2015 International Champion) / Romain Sarazin (2015 European Champion)

Last autumn Matthew and Romain both went on to become racing drivers after winning their own GT Academy competitions, rising to the top from thousands of Gran Turismo players. They will be participating in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup (Pro Am Class). They may still be inexperienced, but we can hope to see them shine through in the series. The opening round is in Monza (Italy) on the same days as Lucas on 23-24 April.

Follow the feats of our graduates while they battle throughout the 2016 season!