Nissan had an awesome run in 2011 but it is aiming to be even more successful in 2012. In fact, it is preparing to show people what it is capable of at the upcoming Dubai 24 Hours. Three Nissan cars will participate in Dubai. Michael Krumm (Germany), Tom Kimber-Smith (UK), Franck Mailleux (France) and Alex Buncombe (UK) are the four drivers who will be handling Nissan’s brand new GT3 car, the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, as it competes in the A6 class.
These four drivers are the ones who won the championships in 2011. These are the FIA GT1 World Driver’s Championship, the Le Mans Series LMP2 title, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup LMP2 title and the Blancpain Endurance Series’ GT4 crown.
The GT3-specification Nissan GT-R has been tagged as the ‘Champions Car’. Nissan is now working to continue the intensive test and development program of the new car. The entry that has excited fans the most is likely to be the Nissan 370Z, which has an all-gamer driver line-up. These four champions of Nissan/PlayStation GT Academy will be competing against each other in the first ever all-gamer crew in a major race.
Jann Mardenborough (UK) and Bryan Heitkotter (USA) – the most recent winners – won last summer at the GT Academy. This earned them their place in the Dubai 24 Hours. They will be joined by Lucas Ordonez (ESP) and Jordan Tresson (FRA), who won Seasons One and Two. When Ordonez won in 2009 in Dubai, he was the newbie but only three years later, he became an international champion.
For this year’s race, Nissan’s entry -- the 370Z -- will excite fans even more as its driver line-up is composed of all gamers. The four drivers are winners of the Nissan/PlayStation GT Academy and by teaming up, it marks the first time a major race will have an all-gamer crew participating. Two of the most recent winners, Bryan Heitkotter from the U.S. and Jann Mardenborough from the U.K., earned a spot for the Dubai 24 Hours after being triumphant at last summer’s GT Academy.
In order to prepare for such a formidable race, the two had to undergo what may be one of the steepest learning curves there is. Joining these two will be veterans like Lucas Ordonez, who hails from Spain and was the Season One winner. He entered this race back in 2009 becoming an international champion 3 years later. The fourth member of the team is Jordan Tresson from France, the winner of Season Two.
Aside from this team, a third Nissan will be participating in next week’s race with RJN Motorsport managing a second 370Z with a team composed of Tetsuya Tanaka from Japan, Humaid Al Masaood of UAE, and Richard Meaden from the U.K. According to Ordonez, he is excited to be back in Dubai as this was where he first made his start just 3 years ago.
He added by saying that while Heitkotter and Mardenborough are clearly nervous, they are just as excited to claim their prize and be part of the race. Ordonez continued that he is familiar with the intensive development programme the two have been a part of and he knows that they’re ready for the challenges that may lie ahead. With the help of Tresson, Ordonez hopes their team will get a good result.
Though the race may be tough considering the heat, Ordonez said that he believes the two will show that they are indeed racing drivers, similar to what he and Tresson did in the past year. Meanwhile Al Masaood revealed that while he had successfully completed two Dubai 24hr races with his own team, he considers to be invited as part of Nissan and their three-car charge as both an honor and a challenge.
While presently racing in the U.S., he added, participating in the local 24hr remains to be special as this is where he developed skills to become a driver. Al Masaood continued by saying that he is excited to work with Nissan and his team and hopefully will come out with a great result.
In addition, he said, it is inspiring to learn that the brand is bringing in young drivers to motorsport through the GT Academy. He said further that he is excited to see drivers coming from the Gulf region and as they get the chance to race under a professional program.