GT Academy Graduates Win Bathurst 12 Hour
On February 8th, the Nissan GT-R has taken another significant victory at Mount Panorama after scoring a dramatic victory in the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour.
After a race full of drama, crashes and Safety Cars, Japanese star Katsumasa Chiyo passed two cars on the penultimate lap to secure a remarkable win for the NISMO Athlete Global Team.
The victory for Chiyo and GT Academy winners Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss is the first time that the Nissan GT-R has won at Mount Panorama since the GT-R took back-to-back Bathurst 1000 wins in 1991 and 1992.
The crowd at the top of the Mount Panorama roared as Chiyo put the Nissan into the lead, a fairytale story after the car was damaged in a qualifying crash on Saturday, with repairs to the #35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 only completed at 4:30am local time on Sunday morning.
Strauss was especially ecstatic to take the victory, as he was a late recruit to the event when Alex Buncombe was unable to attend due to the birth of his first child. Strauss has only been a racing driver for 18 months following his win in GT Academy in 2013.
“Yes it was very stressful (watching the final laps), I couldn’t keep calm,” said Reip.
“It is incredible, our first win for the last two years we have been racing, so really a lot of emotions. I took the start this morning, at the beginning of the stint I was following the Audi and then I started to save the car because we knew we had to do it to reach (the window). It was pretty long, a two hour forty minute stint and then Chiyo did a three hour stint, so it was quite long, but very exciting.
“My second stint went pretty well, there were a lot of safety cars but I could reach the pit in time. It was very stressful as we had a strategy and then with the Safety Cars we did not know what would happen – we didn’t really expect any more to win, but the last ten minutes was incredible. The car was very good here, it is definitely a track that suits us. It was a good race.”
“It is just awesome, still unbelievable,” said Strauss.
“I am very lucky that we have won, no one can say what would you have achieved with Alex, we couldn’t have achieved a better result. The team did an amazing job all weekend, Chiyo put the car in first place, the team put all the effort in to get the car ready in the morning.
“The car gave me a lot of confidence, I got up to speed quite well I guess, not too far away from my team mates. My stint was amazing, a bit long and a lot of Safety Cars. Disappointingly, half way from the end of the race we were in third place, but Chiyo put the hammer down at the end and we achieved a good result, and it’s awesome for Nissan.”