Nissan will consider Baguette for future NISMO drive

Nissan has said that Bertrand Baguette is among the candidates for a future seat at its flagship NISMO SUPER GT team following his move from Honda.

Nissan will consider Baguette for future NISMO drive
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After eight seasons as part of Honda’s GT500 roster, Baguette has made the switch to the Nissan camp for the 2022 season, joining Team Impul alongside Kazuki Hiramine.

He replaces Nobuharu Matsushita aboard Impul’s #12 entry, with Matsushita taking over Baguette’s previous seat at Honda outfit Real Racing after one season with Nissan.

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Speaking to, Nissan SUPER GT executive director Motohiro Matsumura admitted that signing Baguette makes it look like the marque just “traded” drivers with Honda, but said the Belgian driver “aligns with our strategy of future success.”

He didn’t rule out the prospect of Baguette one day driving the #23 NISMO car currently piloted by Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda, who have six GT500 titles combined.

“It depends on the performance and the results, but if he is better than the current #23 drivers, then of course he has an opportunity, I wouldn’t deny that,” said Matsumura.

“Based on what Baguette did at Honda and in LMP2, basically we suppose he could be a very skilled driver. But at least he must exceed [the #23 drivers’] performance, race management, mental side, communication everything to consider next steps.

“We will carefully monitor the performance of all drivers. We also have to consider the combination of drivers and their different skills and characters in terms of development.”

Nissan has a tradition of employing Francophone drivers to race in its top GT500 team, with Erik Comas (1998-99) and Benoit Treluyer (2008) both winning titles for NISMO.

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Treluyer (right) pictured with NISMO squadmate Satoshi Motoyama in 2011

Treluyer (right) pictured with NISMO squadmate Satoshi Motoyama in 2011

Asked by if he could imagine himself piloting the #23 car in future, Baguette replied: “Why not?”

The 36-year-old added: “Obviously my focus now is on Impul and fighting for the championship, but if I went to Nissan, it’s clearly not just for one year. It’s to build something strong that can last for many years.

“I’m totally committed to my career in Japan and I think both sides want to have a long relationship. This year is kind of an ‘evaluation’, we can say, and we’ll see how we work together. But there’s no reason it can’t work well.

“I’ll do everything to stay here for a long time in Japan.”

Matsumura was however eager to emphasise that age alone will not be a decisive factor in whether Quintarelli and Matsuda, both 43, can keep their current seats in future seasons.

In particular he praised Matsuda for “getting better every year” following the veteran scoring his record-extending 23rd GT500 victory at Suzuka last year alongside Quintarelli.

“I am a bit surprised,” said Matsumura of Matsuda. “He is still improving his skill, his fitness, his mental strength. We have to decide on the drivers very carefully.”

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