Nissan has confirmed that Katsumasa Chiyo, Florian Strauss, and Rick Kelly will drive its factory GT-R at Bathurst next month.
Chiyo and Strauss return looking for back-to-back wins, having both been a part of Nissan’s triumph at Mount Panorama a year ago.
This time, however, they will be joined by V8 Supercars star Rick Kelly, who re-joins the Nissan line-up after missing out on a spot in 2015 thanks to the clash with V8 testing.
“The combination of Rick, Chiyo-san and Florian gives us a very strong line-up for our Bathurst 12 Hour title defence,” said Nissan’s Australian Managing Director and CEO Richard Emery.
“We had very accomplished drivers from all over the Nissan world keen to race our new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at Bathurst.
“In the end, we are pleased to be giving Rick a second chance to race in the Bathurst 12 Hour, alongside Chiyo-san, who had an outstanding season in 2015, and Florian, who did the GT Academy programme proud with last year’s win.
“The 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour victory was a momentous occasion for Nissan and NISMO. Our aim is to repeat the success of 1991 and 1992 and give the GT-R back-to-back Bathurst wins, but that will be a tough task given the very high level of competition in this year’s race.
“It’s also great to see the global collaboration that is going into our Bathurst 12 Hour entry, which is further evidence of how highly Nissan rates this event and how seriously NISMO is treating our efforts to defend last year’s spectacular race win.”
Kelly: Tough to watch in 2015
For Rick Kelly, being named as part of the line-up means he will have a second crack at adding a Bathurst 12 Hour win to his already impressive CV.
“We showed great pace and potential in 2014 but unfortunately our race ended early in the day,” he said.
“Then in 2015 the team, car and drivers all performed superbly to take a spectacular win. I was so pleased for Nissan to win, but it was tough to watch as opposed to being a part of it.
“So I’m really happy to be coming back to reunite with the NISMO team, with Chiyo-san, Florian and the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3. That car is just amazing to drive, especially around Bathurst, where it is unbelievable.”