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THE BATTLEFIELD MOVES TO BELGIUM
The GT3 battlefield moves to Belgium this weekend for one of the world’s toughest endurance races, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which is round four of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series. Nissan’s GT Academy Team RJN will be there with the No.35 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, competing against a very strong field of over 60 GT3 racing cars.
Spa-Francorchamps is a track that grabs a driver’s attention from the first turn, before weaving its way through the forest of the Ardennes like a life-size rollercoaster ride. For Jann Mardenborough it will be a step into the unknown as the most recent GT Academy winner has never been to Spa.
“This is a new challenge for me,” said British GT race winner Jann. “I have heard everyone talk about Spa and I have been learning as much as I can on my PlayStation and in the simulator but I can’t wait to get out there and drive it for real. The GT-R should go well at Spa; it likes the high-speed stuff as it’s so well planted at the rear. It’s an easy car to drive fast so I think Spa is going to be a lot of fun.”
The regular Blancpain line-up of Jann Mardenborough, Alex Buncombe and Chris Ward will be strengthened by the addition of Lucas Ordonez for the Spa race. This will be the fourth 24-hour race of the year for the Spanish racer.
“It will be good to have Lucas with us,” continued Jann. “I know he hasn’t raced the GT-R before but he knows Spa well and I expect he’ll be on it right away. The RJN guys know how to win races like this as they won the GT4 class with Jordan (Tresson) last year so we will apply the usual 24-hour rules – be consistent and keep going – and hope for a good result.”
Nissan will be competing against 11 other brands this weekend including Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche. The weather is notoriously fickle at Spa and regularly plays a part in the outcome of the race so it is important to approach this event with a level head and an open mind.
“This is another exciting challenge for me,” said Lucas. “Spa is one of my favourite tracks and Eau Rouge is pure adrenaline so it will be great to go through there for 24 hours! I’ve raced there four times in the past, in the GT4 car and also the LMP2 car but it will be a new experience in the Nissan GT-R. I haven’t driven this car before but I can learn from my team-mates and enjoy driving such an amazing car.
“It will be great to drive with Jann again, as we did at the Dubai 24 Hours earlier this year, and of course to join the fast Al Buncombe, my old team mate,” continued Lucas. “Chris Ward is also a good friend from Silverstone and I know the RJN team very well. I always enjoy working with Bob and Liz (Neville) as they helped to build me as a driver since I won GT Academy in 2008. I hope I can help them all to get a great result this weekend.”
The Total 24 Hours of Spa gets underway this Saturday at 1600hrs CET.
CATCH THE ACTION
You can follow the action from Spa online at www.blancpain-endurance-series.com where live streaming and live timing will be available. Large parts of the 24-hour action will also be broadcast live across Europe on Motors TV. Please check listings on the day.
As always you can keep up to date with the goings on via our twitter feed @Nissan_OnTrack and on www.dailysportscar.com.
2012 BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES CALENDAR
R1 April 15: Monza, Italy R2 June 3: Silverstone, UK
R3 July 1: Paul Ricard, France
R4 July 28/29: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
R5 September 23: Nurburgring, Germany
R6 October 14: Navarra, Spain