Toughest Test Yet For GT Academy Graduates
Nissan’s GT Academy graduates are taught from Day One to believe that anything is possible if you want it enough. This year, the current roster of graduates, now fully-fledged Nismo Athletes, will race the fearsome Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, the Nissan-powered LMP2 car of Greaves Motorsport and Carlin Motorsport’s Formula 3 car.
Two of the newest graduates will race for ‘Nissan GT Academy Team RJN’ in the new FIA GT Series. Mark Shulzhitskiy and Wolfgang Reip will provide an all-gamer line-up in the no.32 Nissan GT-R, while the no.35 car will be in the hands of Lucas Ordonez and Nissan regular Alex Buncombe. Both cars are Pro-Am entries in the FIA GT Series.
Both of these line-ups will also compete in the Pro-Am category of the Blancpain Endurance Series where Mark and Wolfgang will be joined by German GT Academy winner Peter Pyzera. This again creates an all-gamer line-up, demonstrating the confidence that Nissan has in its new found talent. In the sister car US winner Steve Doherty will join the team with Lucas and Alex to compete head to head with his fellow 2012 GT Academy graduates. The Blancpain Endurance Series is a championship consisting of three 3-hour races at Monza, Silverstone and Paul Ricard; a 1000km Nürburgring round and the daunting Spa 24 Hours, which will be a stern test of the new graduates. They will however all be under the ever-patient tuition of ‘Nissan GT Academy Team RJN’ boss Bob Neville.
Jann Mardenborough has just hit the steepest part of his learning curve with the announcement that he will compete in the 2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship. The 2011 GT Academy winner will race in F3 in order to fast track his education in downforce cars so he is ready to compete in a Nissan-powered LMP2 car at Le Mans this summer. From winning GT Academy in June 2011 to racing at Le Mans in 2013 this will be the shortest path yet from ‘Lounge to Le Mans’ for a Nissan driver.
The GT Academy winner with the most experience and who will join Jann in the Greaves Motorsport LMP2 car at Le Mans is Lucas Ordonez. The Spaniard already has a Le Mans podium on his CV along with a fantastic fifth place at Petit Le Mans in the Nissan DeltaWing. Lucas will also race in the Blancpain Endurance and FIA GT Series where he will be able to pass on what he has learned to the newest recruits.
The 2013 racing season gets underway with F3 at Monza on 23-24 March followed by FIA GT at Nogaro the following weekend.