NISMO Athlete Global Team’s entry, the #35 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 (Katsumasa Chiyo/Wolfgang Reip/Florian Strauss), won the overall victory at the Bathurst 12 Hour race held in Australia on February 8.
The 12-hour race started 5:50 am when it was still dark. The #35 GT-R was well positioned in third place in the preliminaries. Reip, the starter driver was determined to run at full speed and was around second place in the opening lap. As dawn broke with a few more laps, Reip completed two stints in second place in the good condition were in. He then left the steering wheel to Strauss.
Strauss kept driving around steadily. Within 144 laps, he was eventually successful in standing on pole position among the 50 units participating in the whole race. After that, Chiyo did not allow other vehicles to lead through a vigorous running performance. However, each time there was a pit stop and a SC (Safety Car) lap afterwards, the race leader changed rapidly. After the race had passed its half-way mark, the top six were ranked in the same laps; this continued even until 14:00 when the race was a quarter away from finishing. Moreover, it developed a fierce battle for the seconds that mattered for the lead.
By 16:50, an hour left away from the finish, the #10 Bentley was leading, immediately after was the #15 Audi. Chiyo in the #35 GT-R, who drove around for the second time in about a 10 second interval, was in third place. However, an accident occurred at the climbing section in Mcphillamy Park. The SC lap came after close to 30 minutes until the race ended and the whereabouts of the race was not yet determined. The race resumed 20 minutes before the goal. However, a vehicle once again spun on the final corner and was sent to the SC lap. Just a little over four minutes was left when the green light turned on. At that moment, Chiyo, in third place with the GT-R, darted with all his might for the finish. At the Mountain Straight from the first corner , he overtook two vehicles that were ahead in one go and jumped to pole position. He then drove through the finish line in first place without letting others follow.
The champion driver Chiyo said, “At that lap when the race resumed, I gathered all the energy from that final corner and accelerated in full speed all in one go; it worked out well in the end. Having passed the two units in one go was unbelievable even for me.”
(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)