A LE CASTELLET, France the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN pulled off a strong result in the latest round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Circuit Paul Ricard last weekend with a fifth place finish for the No.23 GT-R.
The result seemed unlikely early in the six-hour enduro when Japanese ace Mitsunori Takaboshi was hit at the final corner & spun around, dropping the car he shared with Lucas Ordóñez and Alex Buncombe back to 31st position.
But as the sun set in the South of France, the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 came alive and former GT Academy winner Ordóñez made up 26 positions in his first stint before handing over to Buncombe.
“It felt like playing on PlayStation I was passing so many cars,” said Ordóñez.
“The traffic was huge, but everything went well and it really was one of the best stints of my life. The car’s balance was really strong as darkness fell.”
The team continued to run strongly in the top 10 as the race continued before suffering late misfortune – missing the opportunity to pit as a full course yellow came out as Buncombe was already past the pit entrance.
“The result was a little unexpected but we’ll take fifth after starting 21st,” said Buncombe.
“We had a very clean race, but unfortunately we missed out on a chance of getting on the podium as the full course yellow came out just as I was coming over the start finish line. A lot of our rivals were able to pit and gain some track position, but it was still a great result from the entire team”.
The No.22 GT-R of Sean Walkinshaw teamed with GT Academy winners Matt Simmons & Romain Sarazin suffered misfortune on the opening lap when Simmons was hit in the rear resulting in a punctured tire and forced trip to the garage for repairs.
The team was able to get the car back on track, and the trio was able to get valuable night mileage in preparation for next month’s 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.