2014 British GT Marque-By-Marque Preview: Nissan


The Nissan returns to the British GT grid after a year away (Credit: Jakob Ebrey)

Last year the British GT paddock remained a largely Nissan-free zone, despite (and partly because of) the startling performance of the NISMO and JRM massaged GT-R in the hands of Alex Buncombe and Jann Mardenborough. For 2014 two team give the car a welcome return, with both boasting a star driver in their line-up

Strata 21
#21 – Paul White/Tom Onslow-Cole

Paul White’s Strata 21 team join the British GT grid having been part of Britcar paddocks, most recently with a Mosler. White is an experienced GT and endurance racer, his Britcar exploits the tip of an iceberg that conceals World Endurance Championship starts and numerous appearances in endurance races in a range of GT and touring car equipment.

Through 2013 those outings crossed his path with Tom Onslow-Cole, who as doors around the BTCC paddock began to swing closed, made the move to GT racing, with his British GT plans only part of his 2014 plans.

He is another driver who could be fighting for pole positions in the Pro parts of qualifying, though it may take him a few outings to find the limits of the Nissan. When he does the JMH run team will be part of the maelstrom fighting for points finishes.

Nissan GT Academy Team RJN
#80 – Chris Hoy/Alex Buncombe

It would be very easy to write the arrival of multiple track cycling champion Hoy off as a PR move from a manufacturer already comfortable with news attention through its ‘couch-to-cockpit’ GT Academy program. However, finishing fourth in the Radical SR1 in his first season of car racing proves Hoy can find speed on four wheels as well as two.

With the support of Nissan and team RJN – who have experience of nurturing the GT Academy drivers – Hoy’s progression could be rapid and when he reaches a certain level in the car having Alex Buncombe as a teammate will ensure he will be taking over cars at the sharp end of race running orders.

The time needed for Hoy to gain the pace necessary to match the best of the ‘Ams’ likely precludes a championship assault, but race wins in the second half of the season are certainly a possibility.