Nissan Shake Things Up As Mardenborough Prepares For Double Duty

by James Charman

Nissan has altered its Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 line-ups for the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Starting at this weekend’s round at Paul Ricard, Lucas Ordonez, Wolfgang Reip and Peter Pyzera will pilot the #35 GT-R, while Alex Buncombe will share the #32 GT-R with Mark Shulzhitskiy and Steve Doherty.

The changes aim to increase the experience and knowledge of the GT Academy’s latest graduates, pitting them against their higher-graded team-mates.

“This is a driver development programme,” said Nissan’s Darren Cox. “Championships are a secondary consideration; we’re here to get the absolute best out of the talent we discovered through GT Academy. We realise that changing line-ups mid-season will have a negative effect on points tables but we are confident we will produce better racing drivers this way.”

“In addition to broadening their experiences by shuffling the pack, we’re also aware of rumblings in the paddock that our No.35 line-up was too strong,” added RJN team boss Bob Neville. “We’re not here to upset the competition – in fact we are one of the longest-standing supporters of SRO championships – so we have moved it around so each standard Blancpain line up will consist of one silver and two bronze drivers, below the required maximum driver line up regulations. We can’t make it any fairer than that.”

Elsewhere for the GT Academy, following an impressive showing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jann Mardenborough will join the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN at the Spa 24 Hours while also competing in the British F3 races at the same event.

“It’s good for the Nismo Athletes to have a variety of experiences during the racing season,” continued Cox. “Young drivers these days are far too focused purely on one series, but why shouldn’t they gain experience in the way someone like Jim Clark used to by jumping into a Lotus Cortina after doing an F2 race. We’re not wrapping them up in cotton wool. We want them to have diverse experiences which in the long term will improve them as well rounded professional drivers. ”

Mardenborough will join Ordonez, Reip and Pyzera at Spa in the #35 YouTube liveried GT-R, while Chris Buncombe will join brother Alex in the #32 G-Drive machine for the race.

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