Florian Strauss Achieves 2nd Place in the Australian Bathurst 12 Hour Race
Florian Strauss (2013 GT Academy Germany Champion) of the NISMO Athlete Global Team placed 2nd in the famous “Bathurst 12 Hour" race held on 8 February at the Mount Panorama Circuit, Australia. Following up on his overall victory last year, he stood once again on the podium for this race.
The drivers of this year’s NISMO Athlete Global Team consisted of Florian, Katsumasa Chiyo and former Australian V8 Super Car Series Champion, Rick Kelly. The car was the Nissan GT-R, adorned with the number “1” in recognition of its victory last year.
Going up against strong rivals like the McLaren 650S and Audi R8 and with some doubt in the selection of tyres during qualifying, the Nissan GT-R did not quite shine initially, qualifying in 13th place. However in the final race starting at 5:45AM on Sunday, it shot up through the ranks and was in the lead just 1 hour after the start.
However, the race was once again very chaotic this year, with the safety car cutting in on track several times. Because every team takes this opportunity to jump into the pit, the top positions changed frequently. With only 1 hour remaining in the race, car #1 made its last pit stop while leading the race. Seeing this opportunity, the #59 McLaren took its best shot and got the lead, even gaining a 10 second advantage. It looked as though car #59 had it in the bag, but Nissan’s car #1 wasn't to go down without a fight: from the last 10 minutes when the course started to become clear, Chiyo rocketed through the track to reduce the time difference down to just 5 seconds. And in the final lap, Chiyo was truly pushing the limits of the car, even rubbing the car against the course side to come up right behind car #59. But that was the end of the race, and the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 car #1 finished this year’s Bathurst just 1.276 seconds behind 1st place.
Florian Strauss (Germany)
“I think [the day] was just incredible. Everyone at the team was a little bit disappointed yesterday but we were pretty sure our race pace should be much more in front than our qualifying lap showed,” said Florian Strauss.
“But of course it is always difficult to win here; a lot of green running this year. As Rick said, it was impossible to catch the fast guy [currently sitting] next to me [at this press conference], but Chiyo tried every single thing. I am sure next year we will have another attempt and try to win again.”