Nissan GT Academy Team RJN survive Spa 24 hour battle for double finish

RJN-Nissan Credit: Craig Robertson/
Credit: Craig Robertson/

Nissan GT Academy Team RJN battled through the 2016 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps to get both Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 entries to the finish.

The teams PRO class entry had an uphill battle from the start of the race after starting from forty-third on the sixty-nine car grid.

Lucas Ordonez, Mitsunori Takaboshi and Alex Buncombe fought their way up to twentieth position by the eighteenth hour of the race but this progress was disrupted with full course yellow safety car periods.

Despite the progress the team were forced to pit with five hours, twenty-five minutes left to repair a rear brake light issue. With the car back out on track, now battling the weather conditions they were forced to pit again with three and a half hours to go when the GT-R lost drive. Sixty minutes later the team had carried out a full gearbox change and the trio of drivers managed to bring the car home in fourty forth position.

The PRO-AM entry of Sean Walkinshaw, Ricardo Sanchez, Matt Simmons, and Romain Sarazin were also forced to battle hard as they hit electronics problems after five hours, thankfully Sanchez managed to reset the circuit breaker and get the car back to the pitlane for a full repair. With the GT-R repaired the four young drivers pushed on to bring the car home in thirty seventh position.

“Luck wasn’t on our side but in true Spa style we just kept at it and got both cars to the finish line,” team boss, Bob Neville said.

“Some teams had massive hopes of a strong result here and weren’t able to pull it off and other drivers come here for years without ever getting a race finish so to get both cars home is quite an achievement.

“We didn’t have the pace we would have liked but in race conditions the cars were quite strong and I’m delighted we were able to battle through some headaches in the race to get to the finish.”