GT-Rs finish 7th to 9th in final GT500 class race for the R35
Perfectly clear, fine autumn weather, a snowcapped Mt Fuji backdrop and three GT-Rs finishing in the top ten made for a fitting final SUPER GT race for the R35 based Nissan GT-R GT500 racers this weekend.
A fierce battle for position unfolded right from the very beginning and following a hectic opening skirmish at the first corner, the #23 GT-R leaped up from 9th to 6th, the #3 GT-R from 8th to 7th, and the #12 GT-R from 14th to 10th. The intense vying for position continued and on the third lap, an accident involving three cars occurred at the final corner. As a result, by the end of the 3rd lap, the #3 GT-R was in 6th, the #23 GT-R in 8th, the #24 GT-R in 11th, and the #12 GT-R in 12th. However, a drive-through penalty later dropped the #12 GT-R down to 14th.
At the mid-point of the race, after the GT500 cars had finished their pit stops in lap 34, the #3 GT-R was still in 6th, the #23 GT-R in 7th, the #24 GT-R in 12th, and the #12 GT-R in 13th. The #3 GT-R and #23 GT-R began engaging in a close battle for position and in the 40th lap, Matsuda in the #23 GT-R passed the #3 GT-R to move up to 6th position. Other cars joined the grapple, and on lap 41, the #3 GT-R dropped to 9th, then on lap 46, the #23 GT-R was also passed by a rival and fell back to 7th. From here on the #23 GT-R and the #3 GT-R continued their back-and-forth wrestle right up until the checkered flag with the #23 GT-R ultimately coming out on top at the finish line in 7th. The #3 GT-R followed just behind in 8th while the #12 GT-R wasn’t far behind in 9th after a strong fightback from the rear. The #24 GT-R finished the race in 11th.
This race marked the end of the 2021 season, bringing the curtain down on the R35 Nissan GT-R’s participation in the GT500 class. The Nissan machine took two race wins and complete podium domination in the third round at Suzuka. In the 14 seasons that the GT-R has competed since 2008, it has taken 36 pole positions and 41 victories, while the Nissan/NISMO teams have won five driver championships and four team championships with the R35 GT-R.
Tsugio Matsuda commented, “I've been racing with the GT-R since 2008, and I think I was able to be very competitive in the SUPER GT series driving it. In this car, I have won two championships and taken a total of 17 victories, so I have nothing but gratitude for the car.” Motohiro Matsumura, Nissan SUPER GT Team Executive Director followed, “This is the end of the R35 Nissan GT-R’s GT500 class battles. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the fans who have supported us so much. I would also like to ask for your continued support for Nissan/NISMO's future SUPER GT activities.”
In the GT300 class, five Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s competed. The #56 Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R (Kiyoto Fujinami/Joao Paulo de Oliveira) achieved an impressive comeback from 17th place to finish 5th, and although they, unfortunately, missed out on a second consecutive title, they finished 2nd in the rankings.