As the world counts down to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race, Nissan reveal their line-up, with the experienced Katsumasa Chiyo leading the #23 car. Elsewhere the #24 features British racer Jann Mardenborough.
The event will be notable for the Japanese crew as they become the first manufacturer to enter two cars for the race around Mount Panorama. The team will enter a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
Headlining the charge will be the #23 with Chiyo returning for the fourth time. The 29-year-old won the event in 2015, while narrowly missing out by only a few seconds in last years event. As a result, the team will be tough to beat as the 2017 competition revs-up.
Joining him will be ELMS racer Alex Buncombe, who has become a staple of the GT world and local entrant Michael Caruso. Buncombe raced for the NISMO team in his last Bathurst outing, though his team failed to finish in 2014 after Chiyo crashed in the early stages.
Surprisingly, the team has decided to split their race winning potential, with regular competitor Florian Strauss parting ways from Chiyo to headline the #24. His team will hardly be short of talent though, as he’s joined by another GT Academy graduate; Mardenborough.
The 2017 event will be Mardenborough’s first outing around the Australian mountains, though impressed with his maiden season racing in Japan, finishing runner-up in Japanese F3 last season. Completing the line-up will be Todd Kelly, who won the 2005 Bathurst 1000.
“I’m really looking forward to having a crack at the Bathurst 12 Hour again this year with my Australian family, Team Kelly and Team RJN.” said Chiyo. “I have strong teammates. It’s like a dream team.”
“In 2015, we achieved winning the race after a dramatic finish. Last year, we tried to defend the title, but we were beaten by the McLaren. This year, I think our mission is simple – win back the trophy for the Nissan GT-R.”
In a 61 car strong field it will be tough for the team to not just manage the gap to their competition, but also to slower cars on track, with overtaking notably difficult in the mountain section.
The 2017 Ligui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours will take place on the 3-5 February in North West Australia.