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Nissan GT-R would struggle at Nurburgring now, says Kondo

Kondo Racing doesn’t believe the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 would be competitive if it were to return to the Nurburgring 24 Hours next year.

#45 Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3: Takaboshi Mitsunori, Fujii Tomonobu, Matsuda Tsugio

#45 Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3: Takaboshi Mitsunori, Fujii Tomonobu, Matsuda Tsugio

Jan Brucke/VLN

The Super Formula and SUPER GT squad caused a splash when it took on the Nordschleife in 2019 with its GT-R, finishing ninth overall with Nissan factory drivers Tsugio Matsuda and Mitsunori Takaboshi, as well as Tom Coronel and Tomonobu Fujii.

Kondo planned a return in 2020 with Matsuda, Takaboshi, Kazuki Hiramine and Joao Paulo de Oliveira announced as the team's drivers, but was ultimately forced to withdraw due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The team hasn’t been back to the Nurburgring since, with a return last year made impossible due to a clash with the SUPER GT schedule.

Next year there is no clash, raising the prospect that Kondo could attempt a comeback if it can obtain a car, having sold the GT-R it ran in 2019 to aero parts company Busou - which embarked on a now-suspended GT300 campaign in SUPER GT with Drago Corse.

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But, asked about the prospect at last month’s Suzuka SUPER GT round, team owner Masahiko Kondo played down the chances, and suggested that the GT-R would have a hard time keeping up with newer models like the BMW M4 GT3 and Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.

“It’s not decided if we’ll go or not,” Kondo said. “Also, we don’t have a car [GT-R] available right now, because the one we used in 2019 was sold to Busou.

“Even if we were to buy it back, the German GT3 cars have increased their performance [since 2019] and I honestly don’t think the GT-R would be able to compete on equal terms.

"I don’t think we can go there for just the second time and say, ‘we’re aiming for a top 10 again’.”

 

While the last three editions of the Nurburgring 24 Hours have not featured any Japanese GT3 cars, the 2019 race featured three GT-Rs on the grid, with KCMG fielding two examples alongside Kondo Racing.

De Oliveira was part of the KCMG line-up at the 'Ring that season, and currently campaigns the GT-R for Kondo in SUPER GT.

The GT-R remains well represented in Japan, with five cars currently racing in SUPER GT, but is absent from top-level European competition.

Asked by Motorsport.com how he thought the GT-R would fare in a series such as GT World Challenge Europe, de Oliveira replied: “This is something I have been requesting from NISMO, to have a car running in Europe so we can compare it properly to the German and Italian manufacturers.

“I really don’t know how it would fare. The GT-R has a special character, so at tracks like the Nurburgring, it has a ‘bounce’ to it, it doesn’t ride the kerbs as well as the German cars. That for me was a tough thing to deal with.”

Additional reporting by Kazuya Minakoshi

 

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Edition

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