The NISMO Athlete Global Team secured a hard-fought second-place finish at the recent Bathurst 12-Hour endurance race, held in Australia’s famous Mount Panorama circuit.
Team drivers Katsumasa Chiyo, Rick Kelly and Florian Strauss powered their Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 to the finish line a mere 1.276 seconds behind the winning Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S GT3 after 12 grueling hours of racing, which was more akin to a sprint than an endurance race.
The NISMO trio battled an intensely competitive field of exotic sports cars and skilled drivers from Australia and overseas, impressing with their consistent speed and trouble-free running throughout the long day of racing and leading for a total of 107 laps.
Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercar ace Rick Kelly started the race in the 5:45 am darkness and advanced strongly through the field from the team’s 13th-place grid position.
Former Nissan PlayStation GT Academy winner Florian Strauss, who co-drove to victory in last year’s race, helped push the No. 1 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 further forward during the course of the day, again displaying impressive pace and consistency at one of the world’s most challenging circuits.
But it was in the final hour that the race’s tension really rose, with Japanese driver Katsumasa Chiyo chasing the leading Tekno Autosports McLaren piloted by Shane van Gisbergen. The fast-finishing Chiyo showed incredible skill and daring as he closed the gap in the final laps.
Chiyo, who has fast-built a reputation with Australian fans for his daring abilities in the thrust of wheel-to-wheel combat, wowed on-lookers and viewers with a series of courageous moves as he pushed the rapid GT-R closer to the lead.
After 12 hours and 297 laps, and an impressive show of tremendous effort and skill, the NISMO Athlete Global Team crossed the finish line less than two seconds behind van Gisbergen’s McLaren.