This weekend saw the first outright race victory for a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, when Benji Hetherington brought the JMH Automotive car home in first place in a round round of the GT Cup Championship at Donington Park. In excessively wet conditions, Hetherington came through from third place to win by a convincing margin of 15-seconds, recording the fastest lap of the race in the process.
The MSVR-promoted meeting hosted the first three rounds of the popular GT Cup Championship, with JMH Automotive using the event to put more miles on their car and gather data and information regarding set-ups, in advance of the second round of the British GT Championship at Nürburgring in three weeks time.
The first race of the weekend on Saturday saw Benji’s brother Freddie finish in a strong fourth place on a dry track. Then, with the onset of rain and gales, all of Sunday’s races were run in the wet, the conditions such that streams of water could be seen running across the circuit.
Following a cautious start in the second race on Sunday morning, Benji settled into third position and spent the first lap dialling himself in and getting used to the extremely difficult conditions. He then started to put pressure on the Ferrari 458 ahead of him, which consequently spun when exiting Redgate on lap two.
Hetherington then focussed on the race leader Martin Short, in a Mosler Super-GT. After spending four laps weighing up the situation and feeling confident with the Nissan GT-R’s handling and levels of grip – even on a saturated track – Hetherington was able to carry more speed through the Craner Curves and out-braked Short going into the Old Hairpin on lap six.
Once past, Hetherington was able to pull away and was nearly two-seconds ahead by the end of the lap. Now very comfortable with his car’s performance in the conditions, as the race went on he was able to increase his lead and even took time to try out some different traction control and ABS settings.
Unchallenged, Hetherington crossed the line after 17-laps and 27-minutes of racing by a clear 15-seconds to give the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 it’s first ever outright race victory anywhere in the world. Following this success and, having collected enough data, the JMH team wisely opted not to contest the third race of the weekend due to the worsening weather conditions.
Andy Barnes – JRM Managing Director
“Congratulations to Benji and all the JMH Automotive team for giving the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 its first outright victory. This is a very important achievement for everyone involved with the project and, in only the team’s third race, confirms that the car is a winner – even in adverse conditions. Once again, the GT-R proved 100% reliable, has great pace and was able to outperform some of the far more established machinery by a considerable margin.”
“It was a great race and I’m delighted to have been able to deliver the GT3 Nissan’s first ever outright win. The car felt exceptionally stable in the conditions, the grip, braking and turn-in were all excellent and I didn’t have to take any risks. We were also able to come away with a great deal of information, so overall it was a very successful weekend.”
Ian Hetherington – on behalf of JMH Automotive Team
“I am thrilled with this result. We went to the meeting at Donington as a data-gathering exercise and came away with a race win, so you can’t get better than that. After the start, Benji was able to hunt-down the leader and once he got past he was able to use the Nissan’s capabilities to pull out a massive lead. We were certainly punching above out weight and extremely pleased to have scored the car’s first win for JRM, Nissan and Nismo.”