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Makowiecki, Rossiter Join Nissan GT500 Program

Makowiecki, Rossiter join Nissan Super GT program as part of lineup shuffle…

Photos: Porsche/Toyota

Porsche factory driver Frederic Makowiecki and former Lexus driver James Rossiter will race for Nissan in this year’s Japanese Super GT championship.

Makowiecki, who is part of Porsche’s Michelin North American Endurance Cup program, has been confirmed alongside Kohei Hirate in the No. 3 NDDP Racing Nissan GT-R for the full season.

It will mark the Frenchman’s first appearance in the series since 2014, when he contested four races in a Honda NSX-GT with current champion Naoki Yamamoto which included winning that year’s Fuji 300km.

Makowiecki’s return means he now faces a scheduling clash between the Super GT round at Buriram and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in late June.

Nissan has elected to again enter a total of four cars in the top GT500 category, although three of the entries feature lineup adjustments.

Makowiecki and his co-driver Hirate effectively replace Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo in the No. 3 NDDP car.

Motoyama is set to become an executive director of the GT500 program after a 22-year driving career that included winning the title in 2008, while Chiyo is signed to Nissan’s Intercontinental GT Challenge effort.

Two-time champion Hirate, a former Lexus racer, joins Rossiter in switching manufacturers for the upcoming season.

Rossiter, who has completed five full seasons in Lexus GT500 machinery, has been confirmed in the Team Impul car for his first campaign with Nissan, replacing Jann Mardenborough who moves across to the Kondo Racing entry.

Rossiter will share driving duties with Daiki Sasaki, while Mardenborough will partner Mitsunori Takaboshi in place of the outgoing Joao Paulo de Oliveira.

The NISMO-entered Nissan GT-R will once again be driven by the 2014 and 2015 title-winning pairing of Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli, which returns for a sixth consecutive season.

Nissan has also confirmed its plans for the GT-R NISMO GT3 in the GT300 class, with Gainer set to return with two cars and Kondo Racing slated to field a single car in the category for the first time.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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