Kazunori Yamauchi achieves a Class Victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race
On June 25th and 26th, the race final of the 2011, 24 hours of Nürburgring was held at the Nürburgring circuit of Germany. Gran Turismo series producer, Kazunori Yamauchi succeeded in winning the SP8T class in a Nissan GT-R.
This was actually the world's first appearance of the Nissan GT-R in a 24 hour race, and Kazunori Yamauchi's team succeeded in crowning the historic event with an impressive class victory.
"This year's participation in the Nürburgring 24 hour race was in the Nissan GT-R, a car for which I was a part of the original development team. The experience was more tense and exciting than ever before." said Yamauchi-san.
The Nürburgring 24 hour race spec Nissan GT-R racecar driven by Yamauchi-san, was entered by Schulze Motorsports, based just outside Dresden, Germany. The team owner, Wolfram Schulze, runs a Renault/Nissan dealership. The four drivers making up the team were his two sons, Tobias and Michel, who were introduced to motorsports from a very young age, along with Kazunori Yamauchi and former Japanese Super Endurance Series Champion, Yasuyoshi Yamamoto. They participated in the Nürburgring 24 hour race as one of the local private teams, which make up the roots of this 24 hour race.
"Tobias, Michael, and everyone at Schulze Motorsports were like family to me, and made me very comfortable to be there." added Yamauchi-san.
The Nissan GT-R compete in the SP8T class, in which there were three new Golf GT24s' entered from Volkswagen Motorsports. The VW works team, who had dominated the class with Sciroccos in the past, showed incredible speed right from the start. However upon entering the night session, the Golfs were plagued with problems and by dawn, 2 out of 3 cars had retired from the race.
This brought the Nissan GT-R into the lead, but they were still being chased aggressively by the surviving Golf number 235 from the VW works team.
Having lost their anti-roll bar, the Nissan GT-R was unable to increase its pace, and at one point lost its position to the Golf driven by former F1 Drivers Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell. However, further issues with their car forced the Golf to fall behind, and the GT-R once again took the lead.
Far from over, the Schulze team worked relentlessly to fix their car while an Audi RS4 from another private team gradually began to close the gap.
In the end however, the Schulze Motorsports team managed to hold their ground in the Nissan GT-R and complete the 24 hours at the top of their class.
Upon the team's victory, Yamauchi-san commented, "As the first time in history that the Nissan GT-R was participating in a 24 hour race, I'm glad we were able to produce results that would not be an embarrassment to the GT-R name. The GT-R was extremely tough, controllable, and above all else extremely fast. "
In the fight for the overall victory between the 4 major works teams of Porsche, BMW, Audi and Mercedes, the Manthey Racing 911 GT3 RSR came out as the victor. Last year's champion, the BMW M3 GT, came in second place. Third on the podium was the Audi R8 LMS of Team Phoenix. Of the Japanese teams, the Impreza WRX won the SP3T class (21st overall), and the Lexus LFA achieved 3rd place in the SP8 class (41st overall).