Nissan now has “no excuses” after poor Fuji opener

Jamie Klein
·2 min read

Nissan’s revamped GT-R was off the pace of its GT500 competitors at the curtain raiser three weeks ago, with NDDP/B-Max Racing pair Katsumasa Chiyo and Kohei Hirate scoring the Yokohama marque’s best result of seventh place.

Ronnie Quintarelli(#23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R)

Ronnie Quintarelli(#23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R)<span class="copyright">Masahide Kamio</span>
Ronnie Quintarelli(#23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R)Masahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio

Nissan’s other international GT500 driver Jann Mardenborough started the year with 10th place in the Kondo Racing GT-R he is sharing with Mitsunori Takaboshi.

But worryingly, the Yokohama-shod car was just over a minute away from the winning TOM'S Toyota at the finish – representing a time loss of well over two seconds a lap in the final part of the race after the second safety car period.

While none of the Nissans played a starring role in the race, Mardenborough admitted Kondo was suffering particularly badly with handling and that alleviating this problem has been a key focus for the team ahead of this weekend’s second round.

“In Round 1 it was clear to see where the weakness compared to the other manufacturers was; we weren’t so strong in a straight line,” Mardenborough told Motorsport.com.

“Within Kondo we had some other things that we needed to improve on. But it’s slowly getting better. A direction is being forged, a change of concept.

“We were struggling to turn the car properly, which amplified the original problem of being too slow on the straight. The solution has been a mix of raw power and optimising the set-up, but for Kondo, just exiting the last corner better makes a huge difference."

#24 Realize Corporation ADVAN GT-R

#24 Realize Corporation ADVAN GT-R<span class="copyright">Masahide Kamio</span>
#24 Realize Corporation ADVAN GT-RMasahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio

Helping Nissan’s case this weekend at Fuji is SUPER GT’s trademark success ballast system, with the winning Toyota having to carry around an extra 42kg of weight and the sister TOM’S machine being handed a 30kg penalty for its second place finish last time out.

Not carrying any weight, Quintarelli managed to put the #23 car in fifth on the grid during qualifying on Saturday, a place behind the best of the GT-Rs, the #12 Impul car.

#3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R、#12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R、#23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R、#24 Realize Corporation ADVAN GT-R

#3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R、#12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R、#23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R、#24 Realize Corporation ADVAN GT-R<span class="copyright">Masahide Kamio</span>
#3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R、#12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R、#23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R、#24 Realize Corporation ADVAN GT-RMasahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio