Fuji International Speedway, Japan: Nissan has celebrated another successful season by saying thanks to the Nissan/NISMO fans – both in Japan and across the world at last weekend's NISMO Festival at Fuji Speedway.
More than 30,000 fans attended yesterday's event which brought together the stars and cars of Nissan's past and present motorsport activities from around the world.
Super GT fans are used to seeing the incredible support of the "Nissan Supporter's Association" who can be seen waving Nissan flags in support of our teams at every event.
Throughout the festival, an exhibition was on display that detailed the 20 years of history of the cheering squad and NISMO CEO Takao Katagiri presented squad leader Takeshi Kurosawa with a certificate of appreciation along with a DVD containing messages from the drivers and team directors.
As part of the event's closing ceremony, the championship-winning effort of the Threebond Nissan Technical College GT-R team in Super Taikyu was highlighted along with Nissan and Super GT driver Ronnie Quintarelli's fundraising efforts for the "Pray for Italy" earthquake relief fund.
Nissan enjoyed another successful 2016 on the world motorsport stage winning five out eight races in Super GT in Japan, saying farewell to LM P2 prototype racing with championship wins in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series as well as taking racing wins in major championships in both Australia and the US.
“We have shared many ups and downs this year. We would like to thank you all, our fans, for your unwavering support and will continue to strive to ensure that next year you continue to think that ‘Nissan is No. 1 in motorsports and road cars," NISMO CEO Katagiri said.
The final event of the day – the NISMO Grand Prix – was won by the GT500 No.12 Calsonic Impul GT-R of JP de Oliveira and Hironobu Yasuda with Kazuki Hoshino the first GT300 machine across the line.
NISMO also recognised its international fans at the festival with the event streamed live with English commentary on NISMO.TV for the first time on YouTube. The complete day's action can be replay by clicking here…
MARDENBOROUGH THRILLED WITH FIRST YEAR OF JAPANESE RACING
Fuji International Speedway, Japan: Former GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough headed home to Wales in the UK today and completing his final laps of his debut season in Japan at yesterday's NISMO Festival.
The young ex-gamer enjoyed a stunning debut season in Japanese racing finishing second in the Formula 3 championship and becoming a race-winning, GT300 class championship-contenter with Kazuki Hoshino in Super GT.
To complete his first season in Japan at the NISMO Festival, Mardenborough yesterday got to drive a wide variety of machines including Michael Krumm's 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship-winning GT-R, the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour-winning GT-R GT3 NISMO and the Calsonic Nissan R92CP Group C sportscar.
"I've loved my first year in Japan, not only just racing out here but from a life experience perspective," Mardenborough said.
"To get the chance to come over here and live in Japan for six months has been really interesting.
"I've learned a lot about the Japanese culture and it is nice to get the chance to travel the world and race in different countries as well. This was something that I never believed would be possible and get to drive such amazing cars like I have this weekend.
"It is work for me – but it doesn't feel like it when get to drive and go racing with a few friends. I've really loved the whole experience in Super GT and Formula 3."
GUINDI AND SARAZIN BATTLE GT ACADEMY MENTOR IN DUBAI PREPARATION
Dubai Autodrome, United Arab Emirates: GT Academy mentor Rob Barff has played a key roll in the development of Nissan's GT Academy graduates for many years but last weekend he had a unique experience – the apprentices were chasing the master.
2016 GT Academy International winner Johnny Guindi teamed up with 2015 European winner Romain Sarazin in Dubai as part of of Guindi's Nissan Driver Development Programme.
The pair won their class and finished second overall in the NGK Racing Series two-hour event in Dubai while GT Academy mentor Barff won the race overall.
The event was the final part of Guindi's preparation for his international debut with Nissan GT Academy Team RJN for January's Dubai 24 Hour where he will team with Sarazin and fellow GT Academy winners Jann Mardenborough and Ricardo Sanchez.
"These past two months have been the most tyring and draining days of my entire life but it's been an amazing journey where I've seen myself progress and learn so much every day," Guindi said.
"The program has certainly done its job. I feel more than up to the challenge of joining the team for the big race in January."
Sarazin completed his first season as a NISMO athlete in 2016, competing for Nissan in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
"There were many different cars and categories during the race in Dubai so we had a lot of traffic to manage," Sarazin said.
"This will be very similar conditions to what we can expect for the 24 Hour in January. It was a great preparation and awesome to win the race and finish on the top step of the podium."
|Images from the 2016 NISMO Festival at Fuji Speedway|