Guest Blog: Len Clarke>> Nismo Press Conference 2010

I’ve recently come back from the NISSAN Motorsports Press Conference 2010. It was the first such event at the company’s gleaming new headquarters in Yokohama, where the DATSUN brand was born nearly 75 years ago. 

Naturally, the focus was on who will be driving for each of the three teams in the GT500 class of SUPER GT this season…

.. but equally on what developments had taken place ahead of the inaugural FIA GT1 World Championship.

With the sudden demise in December of Gigawave Motorsports (old race livery shown), the company NISSAN had partnered with last season, all eyes were on newly appointed British squad SUMO POWER GT. 

They and the Swiss Racing team will represent NISSAN in the first season of the fourth FIA-sanctioned world championship after Formula One (1950), the WRC (World Rally Championship – 1973), and the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship – 2005). 

NISSAN’s main focus within world motorsport for the last 17 seasons (besides its Le Mans programme of the late-nineties) has been Japan’s most popular domestic endurance-based GT series, the JGTC (All-Japan Grand Touring Car championship) – which in 2005, morphed into SUPER GT – an effort by series’ organizers the GT-A to make the series more international. Their 2010 GT1 World Championship program marks the start of a new chapter in the story of Nismo.

They are adding four NISSAN GT-R (R35) entries will compete alongside cars from Maserati (MC12), Lamborghini (Murcielago), Corvette (C6.R), Ford (GT) and Aston Martin (DBR9).

Under the new-for-2010 rules, each of these makes will provide four examples of their iconic machines to a pair of two-car entries, making for a 24-car grid representing six manufactures.

SUMO POWER GT is a newcomer to GT racing, but has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in a variety of other motorsport disciplines over recent years in the U.K.

The other squad fielding a pair of NISSAN’s mighty GT-R is Swiss Racing, formed a decade ago. The FIA GT 1 World Championship gets underway on April 18th at the YAS Marina Circuit in the UAE, scene of the season-ending round in last year’s Formula One world championship, and takes in races on no fewer than four continents; Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

A comparison of the two types of GT-R shows some stark differences… 

First, the SUPER GT-spec GT-R, while running approximately 100 less horsepower, is much quicker than its FIAGT counterpart, due in no small part to its aerodynamics and flat floor (not allowed in the FIA GT1 series) but also because it’s 150kgs (400lbs) lighter than the FIA GT-spec machine.

The SUPER GT car has undergone a number of changes since last season…

the most major being the switch from the 4.5-litre powerplant to the 3.4-litre unit mandated by this year’s Technical Regulations. 

 While both cars run in what are hugely different series, it’s still interesting to compare the cars’ aerodynamics. 

The radical treatments applied to the SUPER GT machine appear in a milder form on the FIA GT1-spec cars.

Here is the front quarter panel of the SUPER GT-spec car, with a further aero development that was first seen at the final round of last season.

The ducts in these images, used to cool the rear brakes, are an adaptation that’s come over from last year’s iteration of FIA GT-spec GT-R and will be used in SUPER GT this season as well.

Here's a look at the GT1 version.

 Another area where the cars differ greatly, the SUPER GT-spec car utilizing vanes to expel air at the front…

…while the FIA GT1 car is sealed in this area.

Michael Krumm, a double champion in the JGTC/SUPER GT and chief development driver for the FIA GT-spec GT-R, will once again head up the lead machine, but instead of being partnered with Briton Darren Turner his new stablemate is the highly-underrated Peter Dumbreck. Also a veteran of SUPER GT, the Scotsman has shown incredible turns of speed as well as being a thoroughly adaptable driver. In my opinion, this pairing is the one to watch among the GT-R crews in the FIA GT1 World Championship. 

Michael Krumm holds the hopes and dreams of his paymasters NISMO Managing Director Kunihiko Kakimoto (left), and Chairman Yuichi Sanada (right).

Benoit Treluyer continues his successful driver partnership with fellow 2008 SUPER GT champion Satoshi Motoyama, with team leader Yutaka Suzuki entering his second year at the helm.

Moving over from Hasemi Motorsports, Ronnie Quintarelli joins Tsugio Matsuda in the iconic blue IMPUL CALSONIC GT-R, here seen with Team Principal and living legend, Kazuyoshi Hoshino.

New to the team Hironobu Yasuda has replaced Seiji Ara from Hasemi Motorsports. Last year’s rookie took a win in only his fourth race in GT500 and teamed up with three-time winner Joao Paolo de Oliveira, this pair should be potent indeed. For Team Director Masahiko Kondo, this is the fifth season for his squad. 

Hasemi Motorsports will not be contesting the GT500 class this year, and is expected (not confirmed at time of writing) to campaign a Fairlady Z in the GT300 class, the category in which they took the title in 2003. Both seasons are only a few short weeks away, and should provide incredibly exciting racing. I’ll be at each of the SUPER GT events, so look for full coverage on Speedhunters after each of the eight rounds, plus the post-season exhibition double-header.

-Len Clarke



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

perfect of a vehicle. simply stunning.


perfection of a vehicle. simply stunning.


They did a lot of tweaking & fine tuning of the bodywork as well as the engines, chassis etc.. quite a few ever-so subtle differences between versions, but still looking mega..


any explanation about why they have no entries in LeMans 24Hour?


As far as i'm aware the demise of gigawave in december ment that they were not sure who would be running the car in 2010, so missed the deadline for there Lemans application.