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NISMO aims to farewell the Suzuka 1000km on a high note
SUZUKA, Japan – After finishing second in the past two Super GT rounds, NISMO has its sights set on success at this weekend's Suzuka 1000km in Japan – the final time the GT500 machines will be part of the event.
Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo finished second at Sugo on July 23, and Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda took the runner-up spot at Fuji International Speedway on August 6. Quintarelli and Matsuda are currently fifth in the 2017 points – but only three points off the lead.
Motoyama finished on the podium here at Suzuka last year with Mitsunori Takaboshi filling in for the injured Chiyo.
For next season, Suzuka will host a 300km race for the Super GT Championship, with the Suzuka 1000km evolving into a stand-alone 10-hour race for GT3/GT300 spec cars.
First held in 1966, Nissan took its first win in the event in 1970 with Kawakami Nishino and Koji Fujita. Nissan got more wins in 1973 (Kunimitsu Takahashi and Kenji Tohira), 1990 (Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki), 1993 (Takao Wada and Toshio Suzuki), 2006 (Benoît Tréluyer, Kazuki Hoshino and Jérémie Dufour), 2008 (Tsugio Matsuda and Sébastien Philippe), and 2012 (Masataka Yanagida and Ronnie Quintarelli).
GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough will race a GT500 at Suzuka for the first time this weekend. He enters this weekend with teammate Hiro Yasuda after finishing fifth at Fuji.
"Suzuka is one of the old school circuits, and the track hasn't been altered since its original design," said Mardenborough. "Sector one is great. Turn one is so fast. The entry speed with a GT500 car is so fast in turns one and two. Sector two through 130R is also fun, especially working through traffic with the GT300s. At the last race, I started ninth and managed to pass a few cars early. I was fighting with Chiyo-san and Nick Cassidy and managed to pass Heikki Kovalainen – an ex-F1 driver – so that was pretty cool. We finished fifth which was a good result. We're not where we need to be but we're getting closer."
This weekend's race at Suzuka will again be steamed live online with English commentary from NISMO TV's Sam Collins and GT Academy mentor, Rob Barff. The race will start at 12:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, August 27 / 5:30 a.m. EU time / 4:30 a.m. UK time. In the U.S., the race begins Saturday, August 26 at 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and 8:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Watch at NISMO.tv.