After days to decide the Sparco Official boots&gloves design winners to use at 24HduMans I would like to announce that the winners are…. @anglgls @Lewis_Pintor CONGRATS!!!
Many thanks to all the competitors (too many) for your amazing designa (I will share all) also thanks to Sparco and DNOiSE for a great job!
On my way to Le Mans to drive the Nissan ZEOD RC in way cool boots and gloves!
Since my last update from the Fuji Super GT race I’ve been busy racing at the Nordschleife to prepare for the Nurburgring 24 Hours and also testing in the UK with the Nissan ZEOD RC. We’re ready for June now, which is going to be a busy month!
After these events I flew to Japan for Round 3 at Autopolis. It was a new track for me so I took the chance to train in a simulator in Tokyo to get some experience as well as doing lots of training with Motoyama-san in the simulator at the ZEOD workshop. I also had the opportunity to visit the NISMO headquarters for an interesting interview about my past and present. It was really good to speak to the Japanese journalist who had so much interest in my career and my childhood.
The following day I flew to Kumamoto in the south of Japan and, after a delicious tonkatsu meal, I took a beautiful drive with Kazuki (Hoshino) up to the mountain where the Autopolis track is. My first impression was that it is like a small Nordschleife, with lots of gradient changes and blind corners. My first view of it was on a bike though and some of the climbs were pretty tough!
When I went out for my first laps in the Nissan GT-R I realised it is very hard to find the right lines with lots of long corners, blind corners, and double apex corners, but I really loved the track so I worked hard to learn as quickly as possible. I managed to qualify in the Top 10 in Q1 so Kazuki had the chance to push and get a fantastic P3 in Q2. We really worked hard with the setup of the car as we expected high degradation of the tyres during the race due to the hot weather.
When me and Kazuki left the track we realised there were hundreds of fans waiting for us. I keep saying it but I am so impressed with the Japnese fans as they are true motorsport lovers. I have a lot of respect for their dedication.
Race day was hot and it turned out to be a fantastic day for all the Nissan family with an awesome 1-2-3 in GT500. Omedetou!! (Congratulations!!!)
In GT300 though things were more difficult. I made my first Super GT start from third place. I tried to pass the Honda and Subaru at the start but they did a good job of blocking me on the inside so I had no chance from the outside of turn 1. Then I had to manage my gap with the fourth-placed Mercedes of Wirdheim but he was really strong on tyres in the middle of the stint. I had to defend my position throughout the stint then right at the end a GT500 Toyota made a risky move, passing me on the grass. I had to lift as I was about to broadside him and the Mercedes managed to slip past me.
Kazuki did a great job of chasing the Mercedes throughout his stint but in the end we had to settle for fourth place.
I’m hungrier than ever now for a Japanese podium and I’m sure it will come soon with the fantastic people I have around me.
Now I am off to Fukuoka to visit my Gran Turismo friends. Kazunori Yamauchi has always been a big supporter of me so it is always good to see him. After that I’ll travel back to Europe for the Le Mans 24 Hours in the Nissan ZEOD RC, then the Nurburgring 24 Hours in the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, then back to Japan for testing. As you can see, it is non-stop at the moment… #eatsleepRACErepeat