Nissan international racing drivers Michael Krumm and Lucas Ordonez will test for the Nissan Motorsport factory V8 Supercar team in Australia next month, as the recently-announced Nismo Global Driver Exchange extends to Australia and V8 Supercars.
Fresh from a podium finish together at the recent Le Mans 24 Hours for Nissan, Krumm and Ordonez will fly to Australia to test two of the team’s Nissan Altima V8 Supercars at Winton Motor Raceway on Monday 12 August 2013.
It will be the first drive of a V8 Supercar for both Krumm and Ordonez, who will test at the 3.0-kilometre Winton circuit a day ahead of Nissan Motorsport’s first official test day since the season launch event at Eastern Creek in February.
Nismo athlete and Spaniard Ordonez is the first driver to take advantage of the new initiative, racing a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in the SUPER GT Championship.
Krumm and Ordonez will fly to Australia for their debut V8 Supercar test, then head straight to Japan for the Suzuka 1000 on 17-18 August, Round 5 of the 2013 SUPER GT Championship, where Krumm will drive his regular #24 Nissan GT-R in the GT500 class for the factory Nismo squad, and Ordonez for the NDDP outfit in the GT300 class.
A German native, Krumm is well known in Japan, marrying Japanese WTA Tennis Tour professional Kimiko Date-Krumm in 2001.
Krumm, 43, is a Nismo Global ambassador and has achieved a long list of success with Nissan. He won both the 2003 All-Japan GT Champiopnship (now SUPER GT Championship) and the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship driving for Nissan.
He also won the Japanese Formula 3 Championship in 1994, the All-Japan GT Championship in 1997 and finished third outright in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2002.
Krumm was also selected to race the Nissan DeltaWing in its debut at the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Ordonez also drove the Nissan DeltaWing in 2012, piloting the unique machine at Petit Le Mans in the United States.
Ordonez shot to fame in 2008 by winning the inaugural Nissan GT Academy program, an initiative between Nissan and Sony that turns PlayStation gamers into racing drivers.
As well as appearances in LM P2 and SUPER GT with Nissan, Ordonez races a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in the FIA GT Series and Blancpain Endurance Series in Europe.
Last week’s Nismo Global Driver Exchange announcement also includes news that Nismo will enter a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour on 7-9 February 2014, with Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercar driver and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Rick Kelly to lead the outfit that will be entered as the ‘Nismo Athlete Global Team’.
“I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve always watched it on TV, and I like the cars. They have a lot of power and not very big tyres,” said Michael Krumm.
“From what I know from driver colleagues that have driven the car, it will be a big challenge. It’s good for the driver, apparently, because you have to have a lot of different techniques. The driver plays a bigger role in the speed of the car.
“This is just a test, and this is a Nissan engine. I’ve driven many Nissan engines before, so this is a chance for me to see how it compares to the other engines worldwide.
“I haven’t driven a race car in Australia, so I’m really looking forward to that.
“The Bathurst 1000 is a big race, something that everyone wants to do at least once in their lifetime. It would be nice, but first of all, I have to drive the Altima V8 Supercar and see if I feel comfortable.”
“Most of my racing has been in Europe, so to have the chance to drive a V8 Supercar is amazing. It’s another step in my career,” said Lucas Ordonez.
“I have followed the V8s from Europe, and with Nissan entering in the championship, it’s amazing to hear the news that I’m testing the Altima V8 Supercar. I really can’t wait for it. I know it’s a tough car to drive with no electronic systems, no traction control, but it’s a proper racing car with a lot of power.
“I have spoken to some international guys who have driven the cars before, and they’ve told me that the cars are tricky to drive and tricky to make fast. They say you can drive them over the kerbs quite aggressively, and the way you enter the corner has to change to make less wheel spin, because the car has a lot of power.
“This is a great chance for me to learn, have fun, and hopefully one day compete in the Bathurst 1000.”
Darren Cox – Nissan Global Motorsports Director:
“Part of our wide ranging program to continue to globalise Nissan Motorsport is to get some of our high profile international drivers to sample the brand-new Altima V8 Supercars,” said Darren Cox.
“Nissan and Nismo want to give our drivers the opportunity to try different forms of motor racing, but also for us to show the strong links we already have with Nissan Motorsport in Australia.
“For Nissan fans, Michael Krumm needs no introduction. He’s raced all around the world, but in recent years, he has been racing successfully in Japan. He speaks perfect Japanese, he’s been working with Nismo engineers over the last 14 years and therefore for us to get him to sample the V8 is a benefit for him, for Nissan, Nismo in Japan and Nissan Motorsport in Australia. We’ll be able to share technical information and driving feedback information across all our programs.
“Only four years ago, Lucas Ordonez was driving his PlayStation. Now, he’s driven 370Zs, GT-R, the Nissan DeltaWing and various other Nissan products all around the world. He has just been in Japan testing for his Super GT debut. In his short career he has driven a variety of cars, so the Nissan Altima V8 Supercar should not be a shock to him.
“Lucas has never been to Australia before. The first time he goes, he gets to drive these fantastic cars, with guidance from the Kelly brothers. This really shows the power of the ‘Virtual to Reality’ concept of Nissan GT Academy. It really does change lives as well as provide a potential route for a Motorsport career.”
Jeff Fisher – General Manager, Motorsport – Nissan Motor Company Australia:
“It’s a vote of confidence from Nissan’s global motorsport decision-makers, including Nismo, for the Australian program and the V8 Supercar Championship.
“The test will give two of Nissan’s premier factory drivers invaluable data and track time behind the wheel of an Altima V8 Supercar and give us more options for endurance drivers in 2014.
“Conversely, I expect that our active participation in the Nismo Global Driver Exchange will give our guys some mouth-watering international opportunities in the future.”
Rick Kelly – Driver and Co-Owner, Nissan Motorsport Australia (V8 Supercars):
“We’ve been excited to be part of the Nissan family over the past 12 months, and with our new relationship has come many opportunities, one of which is the Nismo Global Driver Exchange program,” said Rick Kelly.
“To have some of Nissan and Nismo’s leading drivers come over and sample our Nissan Altima V8 Supercars is the next step for our team becoming truly embraced into the Nissan family. We know that Nissan has many accomplished drivers around the world and we are looking forward to meeting two of their best.
“The Gold Coast event has opened our eyes to the talent that lies in different parts of the world, and we’ve learnt a lot from those races. To have Michael Krumm and Lucas Ordonez out here will be a great opportunity for them, and for us to learn from them as well.
“Nissan Motorsport Australia is really looking forward to the day and very interested in being involved in Nissan’s global motorsport activities around the world.”