Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 Completes the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race in the SP9 Class
The final race of the 41st Nürburgring 24 hour race was held from Sunday the 19th to Monday the 20th of May, 2013. Gran Turismo series producer Kazunori Yamauchi entered the SP9 Class of this race in a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, and finished 134th overall.
The challenge in this year’s race was to raise the precision and real-world simulation accuracy of Gran Turismo by applying actual racing data gathered from previous races. In addition, further critical data obtained from technical partners including NISMO (Chassis), Yokohama Rubber (Tyres), and KW (Suspension) were unified and heavily implemented within the physics behaviour engine of GT6, allowing simulated changes in vehicle dynamics due to suspension and aerodynamics settings to be tested immediately. This allowed the team to really fine tune the car to the track.
The drivers included Kazunori Yamauchi, the Schulze brothers Tobias and Michael, and professional German race driver Michael Krumm. Three racing mechanics from Japan also joined in to support Schulze Motorsport, fighting the race together in a combined Japanese-German team.
In the first qualifying Michael Schulze marked 8 minutes 52.889 seconds. Fighting off top Mercedes, Audi and Porsche teams, they were in the overall lead for some time. This was a first ever for a Japanese car, to lead the qualifying round of the Nürburgring 24 hour race for over 40 minutes.
The team went on to enter the "Top 40 Qualifier" on the second day, with Tobias marking 8 minutes 27.467 seconds, placing them 26 overall.
On the 19th of May at 5pm as bad weather spread across the sky, Michael Krumm took the wheel as the starting driver in the final race. But 1 hour into the race, damage to the radiator hose caused the engine to overheat, forcing Schulze Motorsport to replace the engine entirely. And while the team worked tirelessly to install the new engine, heavy rainfall forced the race to be red flagged, causing further delays
The race restarted at 8:20am on the 20th. But problems continued for car number 123, as the power steering failed in Kazunori Yamauchi's stint, and running out of petrol in Michael Krumm's run. However the team fought on, and though they had fallen to 165th place overall at one point, in the end car 123 received the chequered flag of this year's Nürburgring 24 hour race in 134th place. The team's first ever challenge in the top SP9 category proved to be a harsh lesson in the realities of endurance racing.
The overall winner of this year's race went to the Black Falcon Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 (car number 9.)