KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) finished 1-2 in the Pro-Am class of the ADAC Qualifying Race for the Nürburgring 24 Hours, while also scoring a top 10 overall with its pair of Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
Having utilised three VLN Endurance Series races to test and develop the Nissan GT-R, KCMG finally went racing proper with both its cars around the 25.95 km circuit to qualify for the Nürburgring 24 Hours, running faultlessly on route to a 1-2 finish in the Pro-Am class.
After getting both cars inside the top 20 in qualifying, the order was jumbled almost immediately as changeable conditions at the start of the race meant several drivers came into the pits at the end of the formation lap to change from wet tyres to slicks. The #39 Nissan, being started by Christer Jöns, was one of those to do so.
It proved to be a good strategic choice as he was battling in the podium positions by the time he handed over to FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 racer Matthieu Vaxiviere.
2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Nico Menzel consolidated a strong top 10 position during his stint, before KCMG’s Intercontinental GT Challenge driver Edoardo Liberati took over for his first racing laps in the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 around the Nordschleife.
Jöns was back behind the wheel for the final run to the flag, maintaining position before crossing the line ninth, with the Pro-Am victory.
Super Formula and Super GT ace João Paulo de Oliveira took the start in the #38 car and made his change from wets to slicks at the end of the third tour. He was battling to break inside the top 10 when he handed over to Philip Wlazik, before another of KCMG’s IGTC drivers, Joshua Burdon, took the wheel as they eased themselves up the order.
Christian Menzel put in a strong stint until Oliveira took over once again to see the car home, completing a 1-2 finish for KCMG in Pro-Am and narrowly missing out on making it a double top 10 finish overall by 0.6 seconds at the finish line.
Next for KCMG and the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 is the Nürburgring 24 Hours on 20-23 June, as well as the following round of the IGTC which is the Spa 24 Hours on 25-28 July.
Nico Menzel, #39 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “It was fantastic to finally work with the confirmed driver line-up for the 24 Hours. I think we’ve learned a lot, first in rainy conditions but luckily the weather stabilised in the race. That meant we could test out many components and tyre compounds in the dry which was really helpful. We were able to understand the degradation and how the tyre feels over a race distance. We’ve learned a lot and it’s all positive. We have a great team, everyone is doing a fantastic job and finishing first and second in Pro-Am is even better. Ninth and 11th overall in such a strong field is a positive way to start off the real racing, as we really tested only before, so I’m really happy.”
Matthieu Vaxiviere, #39 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “It’s a very good result for us to finish ninth and 11th with both cars during the 6 Hours, I’m really looking forward to the 24 Hours now. It was a great race, we had completely dry weather but I really enjoyed driving around the Nordschleife and it’s a good result. We have improved a lot since VLN 3 and now we will aim to be completely ready for the 24 Hours.”
Christer Jöns, #39 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “I am very happy with the result we achieved. The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 was really fast and competitive. KCMG did a great job improving the set-up and managing the race strategy. This time with dry conditions and higher ambient temperature it was good to see how the Michelin tyres work. The 24 Hours can’t come quick enough as we are all really eager to get going.”
Edoardo Liberati, #39 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “I’m very proud of what the whole KCMG crew has been able to achieve this weekend. Victory in Pro-Am and ninth overall in such a competitive field in the first year here is a very strong result and now we will all work hard to continue improving in every area for the 24 Hours. A big thank you to the team and my team-mates.”
João Paulo de Oliveira, #38 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “This was good experience for us ahead of the 24 Hours. Most importantly we have a better understanding regarding procedures, strategies, tyre calls, etc. Experience in Nürburgring is extremely valuable and I’m sure we all have learned a great deal this time. I’m looking forward to coming back in a month and optimise everything. Thank you everyone for the effort and let’s keep working to go a step forward.”
Josh Burdon, #38 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “A great job by everybody in the team this weekend. Both cars ran without an issue and positive gains were made in the development. It was great to finally get some race experience in the GT3 around here and I am feeling confident that as a team we have a strong package heading into the 24 Hours. Thanks to everyone for their effort.”
Philip Wlazik, #38 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “We are totally happy with this result, ninth and 11th overall plus a 1-2 victory in Pro-Am. That’s a great debut because this was the first time we really raced, so the data we collected in the races before paid off and now we can look with this strong line-up to repeat it at the 24 Hours.”
Christian Menzel, #38 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: “A great weekend! Perfect weather conditions, all drivers did a lot of laps and now have a lot confidence. The car improved greatly but the best is the team spirit. It’s a pleasure to be a part of this squad. We are now ready for the 24 Hours.”
Paul Ip, KCMG Founder: “What an incredible result for KCMG. A 1-2 in the Pro-Am field is no easy task, but to have had a car in the top 10 and the other one so close to it as well, in what we know to be a hugely competitive field, it looks promising for the 24 Hours in June.”
Press release KCMG