Nismo’s newest Athletes have already tasted success in their first race outing at the Dubai 24 Hours thanks to a strong finish in their Nissan 370Zs.
The four GT Academy winners, Nick McMillen, Florian Strauss, Miguel Faisca and Stansislav Aksenov joined inaugural GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez for their first international race after winning the global competition three months ago.
“We came here to gain racing experience and our goal was to finish the race so it is amazing to win,” said European GT Academy winner, Miguel Faisca. “We have all learnt a lot as it was a tough race with so many cars. There wasn’t a single lap where you didn’t have to overtake or be overtaken. It was a great pleasure to compete in our first 24 hour race.”
The team won class SP2 in their 370Z and for Ordonez it was the first time he had stood on the top step of the podium after years of trying: “In the last three years I have finished third, then second and now in first place at the Dubai 24 Hours.
“It is always a very important event for me and of course for the new winners. This is their first international race so to win it is a dream for them. The fact I have third, second and first is very special for me and I will make sure I line up the trophies at home. As always a big thank you to Nissan, to RJN and everyone involved here.”
The sister car #126, finished a remarkable third in class even after it was hampered with problems during the night. The car was an “international” effort designed at raising speculation as to where GT Academy will go next, but for the time being Tor Graves, James Moffat, Karun Chandhok and Ashley Oldfield proved the place to be was Dubai.
“You need luck in a 24 hour race,” said Chandhok. “We didn’t get our share of the luck but we fought back and took a podium finish. It’s a shame we had a few problems as we were matching the pace of the sister car at the start of the race. The podium is a massive reward for the RJN boys so it was good to get it for them. This event has been an education for me, learning about GT Academy. I have only seen it from the outside before and have read about it in magazines. I hope it will launch in India soon. It’s good to see these guys getting the opportunities that people like me didn’t have. They have been given a golden opportunity and they need to make the most of it.”
Indeed that was a sentiment shared by Darren Cox, Nissan’s Global Director of Motorsport: “The fact that over the years we have finished third, then second and now first in the race is an indication of how the academy keeps improving in every area, from the way that we approach our racing to the way that we prepare our guys for every challenge they face as new drivers.
“It’s great that we had nine different nationalities of drivers here and they all finished on the podium. It shows the international flavour of Nissan Motorsport and we look forward to seeing which new markets we will move into next.”