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Event Report

Kazunori Yamauchi achieves a Class Victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race

On June 25th and 26th, the race final of the 2011 24 hours of Nürburgring was held at the Nürburgring circuit of Germany, and Gran Turismo series producer Kazunori Yamauchi succeeded in winning the SP8T class in a Nissan GT-R.

This was actually the world’s first appearance of the Nissan GT-R in a 24 hour race, and Kazunori Yamauchi has succeeded in crowning the historic event with a class victory.

The Nürburgring 24 hour race spec Nissan GT-R racecar was entered by Schulze Motorsports, based just outside Dresden, Germany.

The team owner Wolfram Schulze runs a Renault/Nissan dealership, and the drivers were his two sons Tobias and Michel who were introduced to motorsports from a very young age.

Joining these two in this race were Kazunori Yamauchi and former Japanese Super Endurance Series Champion, Yasuyoshi Yamamoto. They participated in the Nürburgring 24 hour race as one of the local private teams, which make up the very roots of this 24 hour race.

In the SP8T class in which the Nissan GT-R was participating, there were three new Golf GT24s’ entered from Volkswagen Motorsports.

Being the works team who had dominated this class with Sciroccos in the past, they showed incredible speed right from the start.

However upon entering the night session, the Golfs were plagued with problems, and by dawn 2 out of 3 cars had retired out of the race.

This brought the Nissan GT-R into the lead, but they were still being chased aggressively by the surviving Golf number 235 of the VW works team.

Having lost their anti-roll bar, the Nissan GT-R was unable to increase its pace, and at one point lost its position to the Golf driven by former F1 Drivers Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell. However further issues with their car forced the Golf to fall behind, and the GT-R again rose to the top.

Far from over, the team worked relentlessly to fix the car while an Audi RS4 from another private team gradually started to close the gap.

In the end however, they managed to hold their ground and completed the 24 hours at the top of their class.

In the fight for the overall victory between the 4 major works teams of Porsche, BMW, Audi and Mercedes, the Manthey Racing 911 GT3 RSR came out as the victor, with last years champion the BMW M3 GT coming in second place. Third on the podium was the Audi R8 LMS of Team Phoenix. Of the Japanese teams, the Impreza WRX won the SP3T class (21st overall), and the Lexus LFA achieved 3rd place in the SP8 class (41st overall).