One of Nissan’s top-performing GT3 drivers from 2015 may not be returning as a factory driver this year, as reports have circulated that reigning Blancpain Endurance Series Champion Wolfgang Reip has been dropped from the team.
Belgian Web site SpeedActionTV reports that former GT Academy winner Reip was notified last week that he will not return to defend his Pro Cup title, with Nissan apparently choosing to retain Lucas Ordonez instead for its planned Blancpain GT Series program.
The 29-year-old Belgian enjoyed a breakout 2015 season, winning the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, Paul Ricard 1000, as well as the Blancpain Endurance title alongside Alex Buncombe and Katsumasa Chiyo.
He was also one of the lead development drivers of the Nissan ZEOD RC in 2014 and enjoyed success in LMP2 machinery as well, through Nissan-backed programs.
When recached by Sportscar365, a Nissan spokesperson said there’s been no news yet on drivers, with its 2016 global motorsports program, including teams and drivers, to be announced later this month.
Nissan GT Academy Team RJN has already indicated its return to the series this year, although it’s unclear if the team will field one or two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s, as it did last year.
Newly crowned GT Academy International champion Matt Simmons, of Australia, has already been confirmed for a Blancpain Endurance effort.
The reported changes comes in the wake of a management shakeup, following Darren Cox’s departure from Nissan late last year.
Cox, the mastermind behind the GT Academy program, was known to be an avid supporter of graduates such as Reip, having helped place the gamer-to-racers with various Nissan or Nissan-powered teams.