Nissan has kicked off the 2019 Super GT championship in fine form with the four-car Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 squads finishing second, third, fourth and fifth in torrential rain in Okayama.
The No.23 GT-R of Ronnie Quintarelli scored pole for Nissan on Saturday and led early after the field was released from behind the safety car after three laps.
The safety car was quickly back on track after a number of GT300 class incidents. The No.23 machine was shuffled back on the restart before the red flag was thrown for another on-track incident in the GT300 class on lap 13.
Teams had to endure a 45-minute delay before the race restarted under the safety car. Then more delays, safety cars and on-track incidents eventually caused the race to be stopped early.
The end result had the No. 23 Motul Autech Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda in second place and joined on the podium by the No. 12 Calsonic Impul entry of James Rossier and Daiki Sasaki.
Only half points were awarded for the Okayama race because of the event disruptions.
“I started with a slightly stiffer tire, but the rain became stronger and I wasn’t able to fully pull out the car’s performance in the early stages and was passed by the NSX,” Quintarelli said.
“However, I thought I could catch up after the tires warmed up, so it’s a little disappointing that the race ended the way it did. However, it was unavoidable considering the conditions. The next round is at Fuji, which is a favorite for us, so I will do my best to aim for victory. ”
Quintarelli and Matsuda took Nissan to victory in the corresponding Fuji round last year which coincides with Japan’s “Golden Week” holidays.
More Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500s followed the two Nissan podium places with Fred Makowiecki and Kohei Hirate crossing the line in fourth place ahead of Nissan’s Formula E simulator, and test and reserve driver duo respectively – Jann Mardenborough and Mitsunori Takaboshi.