GT Sport Motul Team RJN team principal Bob Neville is “delighted” with the new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3’s performance at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, having scored a largely trouble-free top-ten finish in the second-generation car’s 24-hour debut.
The No. 23 Nissan of Alex Buncombe, Lucas Ordonez and Matt Parry finished seventh overall in last weekend’s Blancpain GT Series’ blue-ribboned event, equaling the British squad’s best result in the race with the previous-generation GT-R NISMO GT3.
While finishing just off the lead lap, the new-for-2018 contender briefly led the race and ran solidly inside the top-10 all race, showing impressive reliability.
“We weren’t very lucky at Monza, but then at Paul Ricard we had a good run with fifth and if we hadn’t been turned around by somebody we’d probably been on the podium,” Neville told Sportscar365.
“But to come here and get that result… we’re delighted. We’re the first non-German car.
“We’d loved to come in sixth. It was possible, but the No. 88 AKKA ASP Mercedes only had to stop once at the end and we had to stop twice.”
Neville said that the result with the car, which made its competition debut less than a year ago, proves that the program is now as competitive as ever.
“We got it as a brand-new car, sorting a few bits out and testing it, but not too much unfortunately,” he said. “We knew it was very competitive.
“It’s an entirely new car, but it is based on the same road car, the R35. Whether there’s more performance to be unlocked is subject to the BoP, at a stroke of a pen and it could go quicker.
“The car easier on the rear tires, the engine is in the middle of the car, we’ve improved traction control, it’s much better.”
Neville couldn’t be drawn on whether the team’s No. 22 Nissan, which competes in the Silver Cup, would soon be upgraded to the new-generation car.
He also confirmed the team would not enter the Laguna Seca California 8 Hours Intercontinental GT Challenge season finale in October.
“We definitely won’t be going to Laguna Seca. We did actually enter last year, but in the end it was all too much,” Neville said.
“The [timing] didn’t work out. It’s sad we didn’t go, we’ve done Bathurst and won it and it would have been lovely to won all the Intercontinental GT Challenge.”