Kazunori Yamauchi achieves a Class Victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race
On June 25th and 26th, the race final of the 2011 24 hours of Nürburgring was held at the Nürburgring circuit, Germany, and Gran Turismo series producer Kazunori Yamauchi succeeded in winning the SP8T class in a Nissan GT-R.
This was actually the first ever appearance of the Nissan GT-R in any 24 hour race, and Kazunori Yamauchi succeeded in crowning the car's historic entry with a class victory.
The Nürburgring 24 hour race spec Nissan GT-R racecar was entered by Schulze Motorsports, based just outside Dresden, Germany.
The team owner Wolfram Schulze runs a Renault/Nissan dealership, and two of the team drivers were his two sons Tobias and Michael who were introduced to motorsports from a very young age.
Joining the two in the race were Kazunori Yamauchi and former Japanese Super Endurance Series Champion, Yasuyoshi Yamamoto. Schulze Motorsports participated in the Nürburgring 24 hour race as one of the local private teams, which make up the very roots of this 24 hour race.
Within the SP8T class in which the Nissan GT-R was participating, there were three new Golf GT24s entered from Volkswagen Motorsports.
Being the works team and having dominated this class with Sciroccos in the past, they showed incredible speed right from the start.
However upon entering the night session, the Golfs were plagued with problems, and by dawn 2 out of 3 cars had retired out of the race.
This brought the Nissan GT-R into the lead, but the team were still being chased aggressively by the surviving Golf number 235 of the VW works team.
Having lost its anti-roll bar, the Nissan GT-R was unable to increase pace, and at one point the team lost its position to the Golf driven by former F1 Drivers Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell. However further issues with their car forced the Golf to fall behind, and the GT-R again rose to lead the class.
With the race far from being over, the team worked relentlessly to fix the Nissan while an Audi RS4 from another private team gradually started to close the gap.
In the end however, they managed to hold their ground and completed the 24 hours at the top of their class.
Commenting on the race Kanunori Yamauchi said: "This year’s participation in the Nürburgring 24 hour race was in the Nissan GT-R, a car for which I was a part of the original development team, so the experience was more tense and exciting than ever before.
And because it was the first time ever that the Nissan GT-R was participating in a 24 hour race, I’m glad we were able to produce results that would not be an embarrassment to the GT-R name. The GT-R was extremely tough, controllable, and above all else extremely fast.
I am especially pleased to have shared the experience with Tobias, Michael, and everyone at Schulze Motorsports who were like family to me, and made me very comfortable to be here."
In the fight for the overall victory between the 4 major works teams of Porsche, BMW, Audi and Mercedes, the Manthey Racing 911 GT3 RSR came out as the victor, with last years winning vehicle the BMW M3 GT achieving second place. Third on the podium was the Audi R8 LMS of Team Phoenix. Of the Japanese teams, the Impreza WRX won the SP3T class (21st overall), and the Lexus LFA achieved 3rd place in the SP8 class (41st overall).