Nissan NISMO scores Bathurst 12 Hour win

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We meant to get to this yesterday but alas, it’s still very much worth noting: Nissan’s NISMO Global Athlete Team took the win in the weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race in Australia. It marks Nissan’s first win at Bathurst since 1992.

The lineup of Katsumasa Chiyo and Nissan GT Academy winners Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss – the latter a last-minute fill-in for Alex Buncombe, who was unable to attend the race due to the birth of his first child – completed an improbable comeback win in their No. 35 Nissan GT-R after a crash in qualifying on Saturday.

The crew worked tirelessly through the night to get the rear of the car repaired in order to make the start at 5:50 a.m. local time on Sunday. A consistent drive from the three of them, particularly by Reip in the early stages and Chiyo in the later ones, put them into position to win.

Chiyo’s heroics came in the final stint of the race off the last restart – the Nissan’s straight-line speed edge playing to the car’s benefit as Chiyo made several passes to get into the lead of the race.

“It is just unbelievable because I couldn’t imagine that end of the race, with a strong Audi and Bentley and we are still in the amateur class,” said Chiyo.

“The car is very good, it is very strong on the straight. I tried to imagine, it was just amazing, we couldn’t know what would happen in this race, but we just tried our best in the moment and then I had a chance in the final restart. It was just awesome. The car was amazing, and so was the team.”

Meanwhile there was an intense scrap for the final podium positions at the final few corners.

The polesitting No. 15 Phoenix Audi R8 LMS ultra of Marco Mapelli, Markus Winklehock and Laurens Vanthoor emerged second and the No. 97 Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 emerged third, with Stefan Mucke, Alex MacDowell and Darryl O’Young behind the wheel.

Those two cars, with Vanthoor and Mucke driving at the end, made aggressive moves to displace Matt Bell, who fell to a hard luck fourth place in the No. 10 Bentley Continental GT3 he shared with Guy Smith and Steven Kane.

The dramatic finish prompted a few tweets from some sports car aces not pleased with either the Nissan’s horsepower or Mucke’s final corner move.

The dramatic finish came after an incident-plagued 12-hour race, which featured 20 safety car periods. One of them was for an incident where Red Bull Stratos space jumper Felix Baumgartner, in the sister Phoenix Audi, knocked Ivo Breukers’ Mazda off the road at high speed at the top of the mountain. Breukers emerged unscathed but it was a nasty looking incident.

The race also failed to include the usual guest stars from the Australian V8 Supercars championship, who were on a test session this weekend to conflict. Nonetheless, the presence only increased the star potential of those who were at Mount Panorama this weekend.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”