As part of its ongoing development programme for the Nissan NISMO GT-R GT3, JR Motorsports took part in Sunday's round nine of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Donington Park. The event - which is only the second ever competitive outing for the car - proved to be an extremely worth-while exercise, as the JRM and NISMO engineers were able to gather a great deal of information and data over the course of the weekend.The drivers chosen for the British GT event were Nick Catsburg and Alex Buncombe, whereas the GT3 car's first race saw David Brabham and Richard Westbrook take part in the Blancpaign Endurance Series at Magny-Cours at the end of August.After delivering a solid performance in the practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday, the GT-R started the three-hour British GT race - which got underway at 4.00pm - from 12th on the grid. However, due to the wet conditions, the first two laps were performed behind the safety car to enable drivers to feel the change of grip levels, as all running up to now had been in the dry.Catsburg was first to drive and found the good feedback he got from the car's chassis enabled him to acclimatize to the wet track quickly and he moved up to ninth place by the end of lap one. With no issues to report, the Dutch driver pulled into the pits for the compulsory fuel stop, driver and tyre change in seventh place, where a set of slicks were fitted now that the racing line was drying out.As Buncome started his one-hour stint, all was going according to plan until 20 minutes later he found difficultly selecting gears. After pulling into the pits, it was found that the pump for the compressed air gear-change system had become hot - the problem caused by the fitting of an exhaust silencer under the floor to reduce noise levels prior to the British GT event.The issue was quickly rectified and Buncome returned to the race where he was able to set a series of respectable lap times. Catsburg then took over for the final hour and, impressed with the car's balance on the dry track, was disappointed not to be able to continue when he lost drive and had to pull off the track.Although not achieving the maximum amount of miles from the car this weekend, JRM were pleased that, once again, other than a few minor issues, the car continues to prove its un-questioned potential.
The next race which falls into the company's development plan is the British round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, which takes place on 8/9 October at Silverstone.
Nick Catsburg"Having driven the car in tests earlier this year, I felt it has progressed exceptionally well and I think it has great potential. Although we could not finish the race today, we showed that the GT-R is a strong package - and I'm sure there's even more to come."
Alex Buncombe"It was great to be able to join JRM for this race and assist with the company's GT3 development programme. I was impressed with the balance of the GT-R during my stint and I think it's a car that you can just get into and be competitive with from the word go. It is very straightforward to drive. I therefore hope I will have the opportunity to drive it again."
Andy Scott - Development Engineer"The car has now done over 3500 kilometers of testing in total and has never missed a beat, so to get a few minor issues this weekend has helped us find the things we now need to look at. We now know exactly what areas to concentrate on and so far the development programme is going according to plan."
Andy Barnes - Team Principal"The whole point of taking part in races is to cover more miles in the car and to put it through its paces in exactly the conditions its going to face when it's in the hands of our customers. I'm pleased that the feedback from the drivers continues to be very positive and consistent. Whilst we would have preferred to complete full race-distance this weekend, I am happy with the progress we are making and our current status in terms of the car's development programme."