JRM Racing’s debut Blancpain Endurance Series campaign reaches its conclusion this weekend with the championship finale at the famed Nürburgring in the heart of Eifel Mountains, Germany. After four races of hard-fought wheel-to-wheel action the five-race championship will conclude with the 1000km of Nürburgring, a one-off maximum six hour race that naturally requires strong reliability and performance, but also tactical precision.
Northamptonshire-based JRM Racing will field one Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 this race. The experienced crew of Steven Kane (GBR) and Peter Dumbreck (GBR) will be joined in the #23 Pro car by Kazuki Hoshino (JPN), who is seconded from Nismo as part of the Nismo Global Driver Exchange programme.
The #23 car’s results have strengthened throughout the campaign, its first full year of GT3 competition. After a 12th in class finish at the season opener in Monza, the team came back strongly with fourth place overall at the second event of the year at Silverstone, which was swiftly followed by a podium at round three at Paul Ricard. A difficult Spa 24 Hours only served to whet the appetite for renewed success.
Steven returns to the Nürburgring for the first time since his junior single seater days this weekend. ‘I’ve raced at the Nürburgring before but not for some time – the last time I think was in the World Series or Formula 3! But the track hasn’t changed so I think I will get back into it quickly. The most difficult parts are dealing with the changeable weather and the up and down gradients, but these are challenges I enjoy.
‘I think the line-up we have this weekend will be pretty good,’ he added. ‘I’ve actually raced against Hoshino-san in Formula Ford before and we met again at a Nismo test in Portimão earlier this year – he’s a good guy and I think will settle into the team really well. He also knows the car from Super GT in Japan so I’m sure we’ll form a strong partnership very quickly that should pay dividends in the race.’
Kazuki is seconded from Japanese Super GT where he races the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. ‘Kazuki’s experience of the GT-R in Japan should enable him to slot right in and be up to speed without any problems,’ commented JRM team manager and chief engineer, Nigel Stepney. ‘I’m sure we will learn from him too – he may well give us directions we have not yet explored.
‘We’re in good shape for this race. There has been a long break since Spa and we were able to take stock of everything, digest the information and look at how we can improve the overall package. Nürburgring is very different from Spa – 1000km as opposed to 24 hours! – but there are a number of items we have carried forward. Overall the car has improved in handling and balance since the start of the season, which was exactly the aim at the start of the year. The other teams in the field are strong competitors but we’ve chipped away and I think we can mix it up at the front and give them something to think about!’
The #23 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 will be the sole JRM-entered car at the season finale, since two cars will be entered into the final race of the ADAC GT Masters championship at Hockenheim the following weekend. ‘All our efforts will go into making the Pro car successful this weekend and finishing the championship strongly,’ commented team principal James Rumsey. ‘We can be relatively satisfied with the performance this year. Considering where we started at Monza at the start of the year, we’ve improved overall performance by close to 50% and are now regularly challenging for podiums with the Pro car. A strong result at the Nürburgring would confirm this progress and put us in a more representative position in the championship. On another note, we hope to see the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN secure victory in the Pro Am cup. We wish them all the best and hope to be able to help them in the championship fight!’
JRM Racing is currently seventh in the team standings with 32 points. Peter, Steven and Kazuki will benefit from two 90-minute practice sessions on Saturday before afternoon qualifying at 16:50, with the race starting at 11:45 on Sunday and running for a maximum of six hours. Points will be awarded on an enhanced basis with 33 points for the win.