posted in Autofan MotorSports section January 23, 2017
Video: Crazy Traffic! Nissan 370Z GT4 Helmet Cam @ Dubai 24hr
DUBAI, UAE – Nissan's all-GT Academy alumni line-up for the Dubai 24 Hour endured a bittersweet day in the United Arab Emirates after finishing eighth in class in the opening endurance race of the year. The Nissan 370Z GT4 – steered by Jann Mardenborough, Ricardo Sanchez, Romain Sarazin and new 2016 GT Academy winner Johnny Guindi – was easily the quickest car in the SP3 / GT4 class. After qualifying second, Mardenborough jumped to an early lead and recorded the fastest lap of the race – nearly two seconds a lap quicker than the best effort of the eventual class winner. However, the team suffered a number of misfortunes (on Friday the 13th). Issues with broken dampers twice sent the car to the pits plus an electric issue and a four-lap stop to repair crash damage after Johnny Guindi spun at the start of his first stint. The delays eventually pushed the former gamers 20 laps adrift of the class winner. The Nissan 370Z GT4 completed 511 laps over the 24-hour period among the packed 92-car grid. The Nissan was one of only three cars in the class to record a time in the 2-minute, 10-second bracket.
Mardenborough's fastest lap of 2:10.180 was nearly half a second faster than the next nearest challenger, and all his three GT Academy teammates all turned laps in the 2 minute, 11 second range. "The car mechanically is sound, but cosmetically it is a bit battered," said Mardenborough. "We kept it running, and the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN team did a really good job changing dampers, fixing the damaged door and repairing the contact. I'm pleased we got to the end, but it was not where we wanted to finish at all. My teammates did a really solid job. Johnny's first stint didn't go to plan, but he redeemed himself with his second and third stint, and to see him cross the line – flashing the lights and then for him to get out the car with tears in his eyes – showed it meant a lot to him. We just had too many ups and downs. The car had the pace and the was very quick – not just the fastest lap overall in the class – but when we were running we were consistently faster then everyone but we'd always hit issues. As a team we worked really well with the strategy. It would have been nice to have been on the podium. Nissan has finished second and third in the past with this car and now we have our sights on next year."