KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) heads to the famous Mount Panorama Circuit for its maiden Bathurst 12 Hour (31 January – 3 February) appearance, fielding two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 cars as it looks for a successful start to the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign.
Although this marks KCMG’s debut in the Australian event, Nissan have enjoyed success here in the past, and the Hong Kong squad will run two cars with six talented drivers as it looks to add to Nissan’s winning tally on the Mountain.
On board the #18 car is Oliver Jarvis, Alexandre Imperatori and Edoardo Liberati, who head Down Under well prepared after a productive 2019 Dubai 24 Hour.
Having scored a podium in the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour, Jarvis returns to the 6.213 km Mount Panorama Circuit aiming for the top step with KCMG. Imperatori is also making his second Bathurst 12 Hour appearance, as Liberati hopes to help the squad to victory on his maiden outing here.
Driving the #35 Nissan GT-R is Katsumasa Chiyo, Tsugio Matsuda and Joshua Burdon, who each showed front-running pace in the Dubai 24 Hour with the team.
Chiyo was one of the drivers to lead Nissan to victory here in 2015 and followed that up with a second in 2016, making him popular with the fans. Fellow countryman and two-time Super GT champion Matsuda, as well as local star Burdon, are both making their Bathurst 12 Hour debuts.
This weekend also acts as the first round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, in which KCMG will be contesting all five races with a pair of Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 cars.
Practice sessions one to four will take place on Friday (1 February), with final practice and qualifying on Saturday before the race gets underway at 5:45am (local time) on Sunday morning.
Edoardo Liberati, #18 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “I can't wait to start the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge season. Racing at Bathurst has always been a target for me, and KCMG is really working hard to make sure everything will be ready for it. After our Dubai race preparation, I feel confident on achieving a top result. Let's give our best.”
Alexandre Imperatori, #18 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “I’m really excited to start the 2019 season in earnest at Bathurst. This is such an iconic race and a truly special track, which makes for a massive challenge. Nissan has had a lot of success here in the past and we are aiming to continue this streak, but the opposition will be world class meaning we can’t afford any mistakes. The team has worked very hard to get us in the best possible position so I can’t wait to hit the track!”
Katsumasa Chiyo, #35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “I'm really happy to be back at Bathurst again with the Nissan GT-R and familiar KCMG members. I'm so excited to drive on the Mount Panorama Circuit and look forward to seeing the amazing Australian fans and friends. With my team-mates Tsugio and Josh, and everyone else in the squad, we will give our all to win this race.”
Josh Burdon, #35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “I’m excited to begin our Intercontinental GT Challenge season at Bathurst. Being Australian I have been watching races at this circuit since I was a kid, so I cannot wait to get on track here for the first time. Preparation from KCMG has been intensive so I am confident we can bring home a solid result.”
Tsugio Matsuda, #35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “I am looking forward to entering my first Bathurst 12 Hour this weekend. KCMG have done a lot of work ahead of this race, and I am excited to compete alongside Josh and Katsumasa, who won Bathurst a few years ago. I will do my best to help give the team victory.”
Ian Geekie, Team Manager of KCMG: “We learned a lot in the Dubai 24H, which was challenging for the team and cars. The next hurdle was to get everything to Australia in a very short time, and also to fly the crew here to prepare the cars. The cars have been completely dismantled and all components checked, rebuilt or replaced. Lessons learnt from Dubai have been incorporated, which should improve reliability and performance. Due to the constraints of the cars’ homologation and the Balance of Performance it is not possible to make major changes, however we are continually refining and developing the whole package and are confident we can provide our drivers with a competitive car to take on the challenge of the Mountain.”