Nissan Announces Racing Initiatives for 2009

Nissan Announces Racing Initiatives for 2009
Share this Article

Despite all of Nissan’s troubles, the company isn’t shying away from motorsports for 2009, with four factory backed cars running in Japan, as well as several privateer teams running in Japan, China, South Africa and even in Europe.

“Motorsports is an important part of Nissan’s strategy for building a strong brand with consumers who share our passion for high-performance driving,” said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. “In addition to being an important touch-point for consumers, motorsports serve as a dynamic proving ground for automotive innovation.”

That being said Nissan plans to back four teams in the SUPER GT series in the GT500 class. Team NISMO, Team Impul and Kondo Racing have all decided on running the Nissan GT-R, however, Hasemi Motorsport has not decided which platform it will use.

Some of the most exciting news, however, is that Gigawave MotorSport will run a NISMO-developed car in the FIA GT1 class in the U.K. The car will only run four races in 2009 and, therefore, won’t compete for the championship. The driver’s names are not official but are expected to be Michael Krumm ( a NISMO driver) and Darren Turner of Gigawave, a team that has compete in the FIA GT series since 2007.

Now if only a NISMO GT-R could make its way to the American Le Mans Series.

nissan-gt-r-fia-gt_3.jpgnissan-gt-r-fia-gt_4.jpg

Official release after the jump:

Announcement on Global Motorsports Activities for 2009

TOKYO (February 27, 2009) – Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. (NISMO) today announced their global motorsport programme for 2009.

For 2009, Nissan continues to participate in the SUPER GT series, GT500 class, which is the highest level in Japanese domestic motorsports, with the Nissan GT-R. Nissan will also support grassroots activities in select countries outside of Japan to help nurture the motorsports culture, which has millions of fans throughout the world.

“Motorsports is an important part of Nissan’s strategy for building a strong brand with consumers who share our passion for high-performance driving,” said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. “In addition to being an important touch-point for consumers, motorsports serve as a dynamic proving ground for automotive innovation.”

1. SUPER GT

Vehicles The R35 model Nissan GT-R will be entered in the GT500 class of SUPER GT. This year’s entries will incorporate changes that include an improved air-cooling system and a paddle-shift transmission. The vehicles also conform to the racing body’s latest regulation changes to decrease down force through shortened vehicle overhang. NISMO provides technical assistance and vehicle development to all participating teams.

Team Composition This year’s line-up of NISMO, HASEMI MOTORSPORT, TEAM IMPUL and KONDO RACING will deploy 1 car each for a total of 4 Nissan GT-Rs that will race in the GT500 class series. Kunihiko Kakimoto remains as general manager in charge of Nissan related teams with the NISMO team managed by Yutaka Suzuki. HASEMI MOTOR SPORT team welcomes to its roster Hironobu Yasuda, who trained in the rigorous Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP).

Car No: Entrant: Team Manager: Drivers: Vehicle Name: Tyre Maker:
1 NISMO Yutaka Suzuki Satoshi Motoyama / Benoit Treluyer MOTUL AUTECH GT-R Bridgestone
3 HASEMI MOTOR SPORT Masahiro Hasemi Ronnie Quintarelli / Hironobu Yasuda TBA Michelin
12 TEAM IMPUL Kazuyoshi Hoshino Tsugio Matsuda / Sebastien Philippe IMPUL Calsonic GT-R Bridgestone
24 KONDO RACING Masahiko Kondo João Paulo de Oliveira / Seiji Ara HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R Yokohama

2. Private racers category

  1. March Cup series – Providing amateur racers a chance to experience the thrill of auto racing, Nissan holds the March Cup races (East Japan Series, West Japan Series, Nissan March Championship Cup). This pits private racers with actual racing conditions, with each car equipped with a data logger and GPS to record the racing lines taken by drivers. As previously announced, 2009 is the final run for the March Cup series.
  2. Japanese domestic private teams
    1. SUPER GT GT300 class – Technical assistance will be given to private teams competing in Fairlady Zs.
    2. Super Taikyu series – Technical assistance will be given to private teams competing in Fairlady Zs in both ST1 and ST3 classes.
  3. Global Race activities
  • China – Aiming for a 3rd championship win, Nissan and NISMO will provide technical assistance to its China partner Dongfeng Motor Co., Ltd., which enters its Nissan Tiidas in the 1600cc Class of the China Circuit Championship (CCC). The event is the country’s premier domestic racing event, where locally manufactured production-based race cars compete. Nissan Tiida won the title in 2006 and 2008.
  • South Africa – With 8 consecutive Driver’s championship wins, Nissan seeks to retain its title in the South Africa Off-Road Championship. Dominating the event will be the Nissan Navara, well known for its controlled performance and rugged reliability.
  • Europe – To check the performance of cars to be sold to racing teams competing in the FIA-GT1 class, a NISMO-developed car will run as a non-championship entry in 4 races in 2009, entered in a team partnership with Gigawave MotorSport. It is expected that the car is to be driven by Michael Krumm (NISMO) and Darren Turner (Gigawave).

Gigawave MotorSport, a racing team based in county Essex, England, has been competing in the FIA GT Championship since 2007. The team’s parent company Gigawave Ltd., as an official partner of the FIA GT Championship, provides on-board cameras for real-time coverage of the races.