There’s been further fallout in Nissan’s lineup of GT Academy graduates, with both Mark Shulzhitskiy and Gaetan Paletou’s contracts also having not been renewed, following news earlier this week of Wolfgang Reip’s departure from the manufacturer.
Both Russian driver Shulzhitskiy and 2014 European Champion Paletou confirmed their departures via social media, adding to the news that reigning Blancpain Endurance Series champion Reip will not be back with the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN squad.
Shulzhitskiy, who has starred behind the wheel of LMP2 machinery, was part of Nissan’s ill-fated LMP1 program, while Frenchman Paletou made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut last year in a Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S Nissan while also impressing in LMP3.
It’s unclear if any other GT Academy graduates’ contracts have not been renewed as well, although it’s understood that inaugural champion Lucas Ordonez had a pre-existing contract for 2016.
Florian Strauss took part in last weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour but the German is understood to have been on a single-race contract.
A Nissan spokesperson told Sportscar365 that news on its global programs, including driver lineups, will be revealed on Feb. 26.
Nissan’s reduced driver presence is likely in reaction to fewer available seats this year, with the elimination of the LMP1 program and forecasting a likely reduced LMP2 presence in 2017 once the class moves to a generic, Gibson-tuned engine.