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Watch a hot lap of Spa-Francorchamps
The car in the video you are about to watch below is an exception to the rule. Bob Neville, RJN Motorsport team boss, told us so.
But don’t just take his word for it: the head of the organisation that runs the Blancpain Endurance Series Bob and his Nissan GT Academy team race in, recently said that to keep costs in GT racing down, they would freeze the specification of GT3 cars. With the exception of the Nissan GT-R.
Why? Because it’s new. And Nismo is still developing it. At its heart sits a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 - the same as the production car - but with an air restrictor limiting power to around 520bhp, as per the regulations. This is sent to the rear wheels only (unlike the four-wheel-drive road car) via a Hewland racing gearbox. The suspension is again mostly production stuff, but it features bigger uprights, and, as Bob himself told us, “much, much bigger brakes”. Have a look at this pic here - they’re so big they’re practically on fire.
It also weighs in at 1,300kg, so is much lighter than the standard car, which means it’s fast. Very fast. And in the hands of rising young gun Jann Mardenborough, fast and balanced enough to keep race leaders at bay.
Says Bob: “It’s just a fantastic car - probably the one car I’ve most enjoyed working with throughout my career.” A career that saw him begin as an engineering apprentice at the MG car company, race sportscars competitively, work for Nissan Motorsport Europe, head up RJN Motorsport and run cars like the Primera touring car, 350Z and 370Z GT cars, and even Nissan’s Rally Raid Dakar car with Colin McCrae and Ari Vatanen. He even ran Johnny Herbert.
“In some ways it helps that I come from a different generation,” Bob told TG, noting Jann’s stratospheric rise into GT racing. “And that helps balance out the bedrock of motorsport that I come from, with this new gaming reality. Look at how much time these F1 guys spend in simulators… it’s the future.”
Have a watch of a hot lap of Spa with Jann behind the wheel of the GT-R, and tell us Bob hasn’t done a good job with the lad.