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September 2012

NISSAN SPIRITS DAMPENED AT DONINGTON

The Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3’s British GT debut at Oulton Park in April heralded the start of the car’s development year, all done under the scrutiny of the watching public.  Less than six months later the car was right at the centre of the battle, fighting for championship glory.  The final scene of 2012 was played out at Donington Park today where Nissan was heading for a dream result before victory was snatched away by a broken damper.

The British GT Championship standings were so close going into the last event of the season that today’s race was a winner-takes-all affair where any one of five cars just needed to win the race to be crowned champions.

Things didn’t start too well when the team qualified in 14th place for the race but everyone had high hopes for one of Alex Buncombe’s now famous mega-starts. He didn’t disappoint.

When the lights went green, Alex was off like a rocket, making it all look very easy.  By the end of lap one he had the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 up to fifth place and by lap three he was in the lead! For the remainder of his stint he built up a comfortable gap back to P2 before pitting to hand over to Jann Mardenborough.

Everything went well in the pit stop and Jann joined the race still in the lead.  All was well for just over a lap but then disaster struck when the rear left damper broke, sending Jann straight back to the pits for repairs. He rejoined after some swift repair work from the RJN boys but after losing a few laps the championship dream was over and he finished the race in 16th place.

“The team were fantastic all weekend,” said Jann after the race. “We overcame a few problems we had in practice and had a great opening stint to the race. Al was mega and then the pit stop was perfect so I got out in the lead.  Then second time I went through the Craner Curves the car felt just as it had all weekend but then I felt it squirm a little. As I turned in for the Old Hairpin I knew there was a problem with the rear suspension so I headed for the pits.  Once I came in I could tell from the guys faces that the championship was over.


August 6th - NEWS

GT Academy 2012 has begun with the German finals at Silverstone, to be followed by Russia, Europe and finally USA.  By the end of this month we will have our four 2012 GT Academy winners who will begin their driver development programme in preparation for the 24 hours of dubai in January 2013


BRITISH GT - SNETTERTON - August 4/5 2012


Saturday’s qualifying session was cancelled after torrential rain fell at Snetterton so Jann and his team-mate Alex Buncombe would start the two one-hour races in 11th and fifth places after the grid slots were allocated according to practice times.

Jann got away well from 11th place at the start of race one and soon began to make his way up the order. In just a few enthralling laps he was challenging for third place when he made contact with the Porsche of championship-leader David Ashburn.  He quickly recovered but dropped down the order to sixth place.  With little time left in his stint he pitted to hand the Nissan GT-R over to Alex.

As the duo won the last British GT race they had a 15-second success penalty to add to their pit stop time in this race. They also had to wait an extra four seconds after a rather unique penalty had been applied.

Jann is classified correctly as a bronze driver in British GT, as he has little racing experience.  Alex is a silver as he has been racing for many years. Although Jann can’t be classified as a silver the organisers have ruled that he is too fast to be a bronze and applied the four second penalty usually reserved for a silver-silver driver line-up.

After the changeover it was decided that the car should be retired from race one to get a small amount of front-end damage repaired for race two. Spurred on by the penalty, Jann was ready for battle.

It was Alex’s turn to take the start for race two. He did an extra lap through the pits to check all the repairs were good before heading to the grid. Unfortunately this isn’t allowed in British GT so as soon as the race got underway he had to take a drive through penalty!

From that moment the hunt was on. Alex began the fight back before handing over to Jann and between them they clawed their way back through the field. At the chequered flag Jann was up to an incredible third place.

“Who knows what would have happened if the race had been a few laps longer,” said GT Academy Team RJN boss Bob Neville. “We’ve right on the heels of the championship leaders now and with two more events to go we have everything to play for.”

The next British GT race will be held at Silverstone on 9 September before the season finale at Donington Park on 30 September.  The Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 is now just two points shy of the leaders so the scene is set for an incredible championship battle that could go all the way to the wire.


WASHOUT AT SPA - 28/29 JULY 2012

A fast car, fast drivers and some incredible work in the pits wasn’t enough to produce a result in the 2012 Total 24 Hours of Spa for Nissan.  After moving up from 41st to 20th place in just two hours, the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 ultimately retired with an electrical problem.
“We pulled the car into the garage to have a good look for the problem,” explained team boss, Bob Neville. “We couldn’t trace the fault at first but eventually got the car going again.  Chris (Ward) went out and did two installation laps, which were competitive so we thought we were going again. Unfortunately he then stopped at Raidillon and in the torrential rain there is little he could have done to try to get moving. The mechanics all went up to try to help him in some way but ultimately it was game over.  It’s a real shame as we could have had a great result here.


NISSAN TAKES BRITISH WIN

BRITISH GT - BRANDS HATCH 23/24 JUNE 2012


Jann Mardenborough, driving the No.35 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, crossed the finishing line at Brands Hatch today just two-hundredths of a second ahead of the No.007 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, to take his own and the GT-R’s first major race victory a year to the day that he won Nissan’s GT Academy competition.

BRITISH GT - NURBURGRING - 18/19 MAY 2012

POLE POSITION FOR NEWEST GT ACADEMY GRADUATE

Less than a year after he stepped into a racing car for the very first time, Jann Mardenborough has taken pole position for the first of this weekend’s British GT races at the Nürburgring.  This is also the first pole position for the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car.


BRITISH GT PODIUM REWARD FOR NISSAN’S NEWEST RECRUIT

After Jann Mardenborough took a magnificent pole position for today’s British GT race at the Nürburgring, he got to taste the Champagne on the podium when he and his team mate Alex Buncombe took third position after a close fought race.


January 2012


GT ACADEMY HITS THE TARGET IN DUBAI

•    All-Gamer entry takes podium finish in Dubai in Nissan 370Z
•    2011 British winner, Jann Mardenborough takes chequered flag in third place

The All-Gamer Nissan 370Z took a podium finish at the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai this afternoon, marking the end of the ‘Road to Dubai’ for the two 2011 winners, Jann Mardenborough and Bryan Heitkotter. They couldn’t have had more appropriate team-mates as they were joined by the 2008 and 2010 GT Academy winners, Lucas Ordonez and Jordan Tresson.

“That was without doubt the weekend of my life,” said Mardenborough. “The only thing that compares to it is winning GT Academy last June. It feels like pure joy. This is just the first step for me and now I hope that my performance in Dubai can take me further.”

“I’m so pleased that we got a good result in our first international 24 hour race,” added Bryan Heitkotter. “We’ve worked hard during the last six months to get to this point and I would say to anyone who wants this as much as I did that you can reach your goals if you focus on them and work hard.”

The first winner of GT Academy, Lucas Ordonez, started his international racing career in Dubai three years ago and so far his journey has taken him all the way to a class podium in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“This is a great moment,” said Ordonez. “We have really proved that GT Academy works as to get four gamers to a podium finish at this race is amazing. I am very impressed with my new team mates who have only been racing for six months. They came here and were fast, consistent and didn’t make any mistakes.”

“It was pretty tough in the car and 24 hours is a long time to have to hold it all together,” said second GT Academy winner, Jordan Tresson. “If any of us had made just one slip at any point during the race it could have been game over for us.  I want to say well done to Jann and Bryan who were still bedroom gamers just one year ago.”

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Dubai 24H

Perhaps the most exciting entry is of course the Nissan 370Z with an all-gamer driver line-up. The four winners of Nissan/PlayStation GT Academy will race together in the first ever all-gamer crew in a major race. The most recent winners, Jann Mardenborough (UK) and Bryan Heitkotter (USA), earned their place in the Dubai 24 Hours when they won GT Academy last summer. Since then they have been on one of the steepest learning curves imaginable to make sure they are up to speed for such a daunting race.  Joining the newest recruits will be two ‘old hands’, the winners of Seasons One and Two, Lucas Ordonez (ESP) and Jordan Tresson (FRA). Lucas was the new boy in Dubai in 2009 but just three years later he is an international champion.

“It’s a good feeling for me to go back to Dubai as this is where it all really started for me, just three years ago,” said Ordonez.  “I know that Jann (Mardenborough) and Bryan (Heitkotter) will be very nervous but also very excited to take their GT Academy prize and compete in this race.  I also know what an intensive development programme they have been on so they are more than ready for the challenges ahead of them.  I hope that, along with Jordan (Tresson), I can help them to a good result. It’s going to be a tough race due to the heat but I am convinced that Jann and Bryan will prove that they are real racing drivers now, just as Jordan and I did last year.”

There will be a third Nissan competing in the race next week as RJN Motorsport will run a second Nissan 370Z for Humaid Al Masaood (UAE), Richard Meaden (UK) and Tetsuya Tanaka (JAP).

"I have competed successfully in the previous two Dubai 24hr with my own team so to be invited to race with Nissan and their three car assault is a great honour and a new challenge,” said Al Masaood. “Although I am now racing in the USA there is something very special about racing in my local 24hr as it is this race that has helped me develop as driver.  I am looking forward to working with Nissan and my co-drivers and hopefully delivering a great result.   It is really encouraging to see Nissan bringing talented young drivers into motorsport through GT Academy and I am keen to see drivers from the Gulf region be given the opportunity to start racing through such a professional programme."  


Follow us live on www.dubai24H.com


NOVEMBER 2011

jann_britcar_night-14lr.jpgEuropean winner of the 2011 Nissan Playstation GT Academy Jann Mardenborough and his American counterpart Bryan Heitkotter completed the final race of their intensive 'Driver Development Programme' on Saturday 19th November.  Competing in the 'Into the night' Britcar race at Brands Hatch in an RJN Nissan 370Z GT4 race car they finished a notable 1st in class and fifth place overall.

Bryan got off to a good start from 14th on the grid he was quickly up eight places.  Jann responed with a faultless drive and Bryan took over for the finish, both putting in consistantly fast laps.
Bob Neville said "One hundred percent mission accomplished, we were unlucky at one point because the safety car picked us up instead of the leader and we lost a place.  Nevertheless both drivers drove brilliantly in the dark and we can now look forward to Dubai. Jann and Bryan will be arriving in tip top condition and they could not be in a better position  to take on such a competative race".


Watch Eurosport Tuesday Evenings "Road to Dubai" a series of short programmes documenting the progress of all of our Gt Academy winners.


October 2011


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For those of you that are following the fortunes of Jann Mardenborough, the 20-year-old British winner of GT Academy 2011, who has been racking up the podium places in the GT4 Nissan 370Z, in preparation for his drive in the 2012 Dubai 24 Hours.  Last Saturday reality decided to bite back at the virtual-to-real racer.   Competing in a round of the GT4 European Cup at the notoriously tricky Zandvoort Circuit in Holland, Jann was out on track during the practice session when he suddenly found himself upside down.  Jann explained afterwards. “It all went by in a flash but I didn’t get hurt at all and to be honest I am just annoyed with myself.” The Nissan 370Z went off the track backwards and then rolled over before landing hard, back on all four wheels.  Jann was immediately taken to the Medical Centre on site where he was pronounced fully fit and cleared to race.   Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for his race car so Bob Neville and the RJN Motorsport team had no choice but to call it a day and head back to the UK. “I think Jann has just demonstrated that the reality of being a racing driver isn’t easy,” said Bob. “We work the drivers hard as we are training them to compete at the highest level, just as Lucas (Ordonez) did at Le Mans this year.  It was good to see that Jann had a typical racing driver’s reaction to his accident; he was furious with himself!  It was also good to hear the scrutineers tell us that our car has a fantastic roll cage. It was a big impact and Jann walked away unscathed, which is always the most important thing.  Fortunately the damaged car is fixable, and more fortunately this car is not the Blancpain Championship winning car that will be going to Dubai along with the SP8 370Z.” 


Jordan becomes a GT ACADEMY CHAMPION! 




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2010 GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson has just become the second of Nissan’s graduates to win an international Championship. Along with his RJN Motorsport team mates, Alex Buncombe and Chris Ward, he took the Nissan 370Z to the GT4 title in yesterday’s final race of the Blancpain Endurance Series race at Silverstone.  

Consistently strong performances from the entire RJN Motorsport team throughout the season meant that all the driving crew had to do to seal the Blancpain Endurance Series GT4 Championship was to finish the final race. Aside from one tense moment early on when Alex Buncombe pitted so the team could solve a small problem with a sensor, everything ran like clockwork and the new champions were crowned.

Lucas Ordonez, winner of the 2008 GT Academy, began his racing career then and in 2011 he is now a Champion after his Nissan powered car secured the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup LMP2  Championship.  It has been a fairytale year for the Spaniard who has proved beyond doubt that you can cross over from virtual to reality, Lucas came to racing via GT Academy and he is now a World Champion. The GT Academy concept has caused a stir amongst Lucas’s fellow competitors, with many of them seeking Lucas out to discover if it is true that a gamer has become a racer!    
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CHAMPIONSHIP HAT TRICK?

With Le Mans Series and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup LMP2 Championships in the bag for 2011, attention at Nissan now turns to GT Academy graduate No.2, Jordan Tresson. He and the RJN Motorsport team has had a brilliant season in the brand new Blancpain Endurance Series. The season wraps up at Silverstone this weekend (8--‐9 October) and the team is gunning for GT4 glory so keep your fingers crossed and don’t forget who won the last two rounds…! “It seems that the results are all rolling in at the moment and it is a joy to see further proof that GT Academy and the subsequent development programme works. There is no disputing that fact as the results speak for themselves. Our first graduate, Lucas, has had a mind--blowing year with the podium at Le Mans and now a Championship victory. His pace was great in Atlanta, closer than ever before to his professional team mates.  Watch out for Jordan this coming weekend at Silverstone as he is really coming of age now and has a Championship there for the taking, right in front of his eyes.” Darren Cox, Nissan Europe Chief Marketing Manager Crossover and Sports Cars


August 2011

ANOTHER WIN FOR THE 370Z IN THE BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES
The RJN Motorsport Nissan 370Z, driven by 2010 GT Academy graduate Jordan Tresson, along with Alex Buncombe and Chris Ward, took another class victory at Magny Cours this weekend and extended the teams lead in the championship. With one more race to go at Silverstone in October everything is now set for an exciting season finale. Alex Buncombe took the start from fourth place in the GT4 category in the Nissan 370Z and made light work of two of the cars ahead of him.  After a few laps he was up to second place, chasing down the leading Lotus. Jordan jumped in next for his run.  “ Jordan said “I didn’t know exactly where I was in relation to the competition during my run so I just pushed as hard as I could. We were very happy to take another win.  Now we have an 18 point lead in the championship which is a great position to be in going to Silverstone”The final round is at Silverstone October 8/9th.


Mardenborough Does the Double at Rockingham Two race wins for GT Academy winner and gained an ‘International C’ Race Licence Monday, 22 August 2011: European GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough’s bid to make the switch from PlayStation® gamer to real racing driver took a massive step forward on Sunday when he contested a round of the Nippon Challenge national series at the UK’s Rockingham Circuit. The 19-year-old from Cardiff had an almost faultless day in the Nissan 370Z taking pole position and dominant wins in both races and recording the fastest lap of race one in the process.  Jann’s American counterpart, Bryan Heitkotter, completed an excellent weekend for the PlayStation® Nissan Team taking second on the grid, second place in both races and the second fastest lap. The weekend marked a double celebration for the two Gran Turismo®5-gamers-turned-racing-drivers as they have now secured enough ‘signatures’ to qualify for an ‘International C’ race licence. The licence is required for the GT Academy winners to achieve their goal of competing in a Nissan 370Z GT4 car in the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour race in January, 2012 – the ultimate prize of the competition that saw over 90,000 gamers enter the European version. Despite holding first and second on the grid in both races, the GT Academy drivers were passed by some fast starters. But they quickly fought back and by the end of lap one on both occasions were one and two not headed again. Bob Neville, the experienced PlayStation Nissan Team boss, was extremely pleased with both the speed and maturity of his two drivers: “This was an excellent performance by both Jann and Bryan,” he enthused. “They had to lap people and pick their way through traffic while keeping an eye on the faster guys chasing them. There were a few signs of contact on the cars after the first race and so I had a word with them and there was no repeat in race two – fast and 100% safe. “After a short break for the guys we are going to see how they get on in the GT4 car next month. The switch from the modified road car to a full-on race car will be a big test for them, but on the evidence so far I am feeling confident.”  


July 2011

2010 GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson takes class victory at Spa
First 24 Hour race victory for RJN Motorsport and the Nissan 370Z




After one of the most gruelling ‘Total 24 Hours of Spa’ for many years, the RJN Motorsport Nissan 370Z of Jordan Tresson, Alex Buncombe and Chris Ward crossed the line as the GT4 race winner this afternoon.  This marks the first international victory for a GT Academy winner and indeed for the production class Nissan 370Z.
 
This year’s race has seen the mighty fall at the hands of the ever-challenging Spa track and the impossible to predict Ardennes weather but the RJN Motorsport team stayed focused and held on to the end to take the victor’s spoils.
 
The race got off to a good start yesterday afternoon with RJN regular Alex Buncombe at the wheel of the 370Z.  Qualifying was also Alex’s job this weekend and he did it perfectly, sticking the Nissan on pole position in the GT4 class, ahead of stiff competition from Lotus, BMW and Aston Martin.
 
The race itself was full of dramas but that is the nature of endurance racing. If you can deal with the problems and keep your focus, you are well on your way to success. 
 
The Nissan 370Z held the lead for the first three hours of the race but the Lotus took the lead when a damper problem required a visit to the pits. A couple of hours later a rear puncture further delayed the Nissan but the fight-back was well and truly on.
 
After a very long, dark night the Nissan surfaced from some heavy rain in second place and then at around 0800hrs the lead Lotus retired out on the track. The Nissan breezed into the lead and never looked back, taking a comfortable win after 24 hours of hard racing.


 
“The RJN guys blew me away today,” commented Darren Cox, Nissan Europe’s Chief Marketing Manager (Crossover and Sports Cars). “Just when you think it’s all over they dig even deeper, fix the car and send it out again.  Their ‘never say die’ attitude is an example to us all and an incredible thing to witness.”
 
“Al Buncombe did an amazing job,” he continued. “Especially during the night when he was out on slicks in the damp conditions.  He took huge chunks out of the Lotus’ lead during that run.  He is a prime example of a professional driver and a great role model for Jordan as he continues his racing education.  Jordan himself has been very mature and calm throughout the race. He is a good team player and he is learning his lessons well. This is a great moment for GT Academy: second place at Le Mans and now a win at Spa shows we are getting it right.”
 
Bob Neville, the RJN Motorsport team boss and the man who has guided the GT Academy graduates since 2008 was naturally delighted with the result.
 
“It has been a long journey to get to this victory,” he said. “This is the first major 24 hour race win for RJN and for the Nissan 370Z. This proves that it’s not just the fastest GT4 car in Europe but it is also strong enough for a car-breaking endurance race like this. This was a tough race and many of the big teams and drivers made mistakes so to be knocking on the door of the overall top 20 at the end, despite our own problems, is a good feeling.”
 
The final position for the Nissan 370Z was 22nd overall from a field of over 60 cars.  The 2011 Total 24 Hours of Spa will be remembered as the race where the Nissan 370Z mixed it with the big guns and came out at the top of the class.

GT Academy champions turn up the heat at Castle Combe Britcar Event 23 & 24 July 2011

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European GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough and his American counterpart Bryan Heitkotter faced the toughest challenge so far of their intensive 'Driver Development Programme' on Sunday, 24 July at Castle Combe.  The pair campaigned their PlayStation® Nissan 370Z to a second-in-class finish (17th place overall) in the competitive Britcar Dunlop Production GTN Championship. The strong result in the two-hour endurance race secured each driver two more vital ‘signatures’ required for them to attain the international race licence that will allow them to compete in the Dubai International 24 Hour Race in January 2012.



16th & 17th July 2011
Jann Mardenborough, the Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy 2011 champion, recorded a notable first in class, third overall, finish at the Donington Park round of the Production Touring Car Trophy (16 & 17 July). More importantly, the weekend’s results have moved Jann and Bryan Heitkotter winner of GT Academy North America, another step closer to qualifying for an international race licence. With the 19-year-old from Cardiff collecting valuable signatures at Donington, his licence has now been upgraded from National ‘B’ to National ‘A’, and his motor sport CV now reads; two race meetings, two podiums.



First event for GT Academy winners

The lucky winners of the European and North American GT Academy competition were off to Pembrey, South Wales for the start of their driver training programme.  Jann Mardenborough was not far from him own patch as his home city of Cardiff was just down the road and he was supported by friends and family.  Both Jann and Bryan Heitkotter from California drove the Nissan 370Z race cars for the first time and did a good job with Bryan winning driver of the day on Saturday and Jann coming in third in the last race on Sunday and also winning driver of the day.
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Next up for them is Donington 15/16/17 July making an appearance in the Dunlop Production Touring Car Trophy, and the time in between races filled with simulator driving experience, fitness training, karting practice and a visit to the British F1 Grand Prix.

JUNE 2011 Round Up of News for RJN Motorsport

June was a busy month for the team kicking off with the Silverstone rounds of the GT4 European Cup then straight into preparations for the 24 hours of Nurburgring with an RJN designed, built and prepared SP8 Nissan 370Z with a 4 litre NISMO engine and a Nissan 370Z GT4 Version NISMO race car both in Falken Tyre colours.

Both cars showed excellent pace on the Nordschleife with an exciting driver line up in both cars of Sabine Schmitz, Michael Krumm, Tetsuya Tanaka and Holger Eckhardt in the SP8 car and Guy Smith, Kurt Thiim, Alex Buncombe and Duncan Huisman in the GT4 car.  The GT4 running in SP10 category took pole position in the class and both cars finished having had an eventful 24 hours.  The SP8 car finished 4th in class and 82nd overall and the GT4 SP10 car 6th in class and 93rd overall.  Of the starting field of 210 cars, 73 were DNF, the consensus of the drivers was the race to the flag was more intense and aggressive than ever this year with many teams fighting for top finishes.

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JUNE 2011

Silverstone GT4 Cup 4/5 June
As a one off appearance to support the Nissan GT1 teams of JRM and Sumo Power, the RJN GT4 Version NISMO car driven by Alex Buncombe achieved the car's first win after an exciting battle with the front runners.  GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson qualified 3rd on the grid for his race and drove well to hold onto this place to the flag despite coming under intense pressure. 
To read more visit www.gt4cup.com 

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MAY 2011

Another Podium for Nissan 370Z SP8 car at the Nurburgring.


28th May.  The RJN team took two 370Z’s to the 4 hour VLN race at the Nurburgring, the GT4 Version NISMO car entered into SP10 class with drivers Guy Smith, Kurt Thiim and Alex Buncombe, and the SP8 car driven by Holger Eckhardt, Michael Krumm and the experienced Nordschleife  Japanese driver Tetsuya Tanaka.  The SP8 car sporting its new Falken livery achieved a 8.59 lap in practice, and was performing well in the race when a broken throttle body caused a delay.  The car continued at good pace and finished 3rd in SP8 class.

The GT4 car performed faultlessly in practice, qualifying and in the race with a fastest lap of 9.04 and on for a fantastic finish when a puncture after a very minor brush with a Clio dropped it to a 4th in class finish and 50th overall.

Bob Neville commented “ Both cars have a good chance of competing well in the 24H race next month, all the drivers are pleased with the  performance and with a few weeks now to make some improvements I am feeling confident “.
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Podium for Jordan – 2nd Place in Blancpain Endurance Series.  

21st May.  The Blancpain Endurance Series round 2 took place at Navarra in Northern Spain and the GT4 Nissan 370Z competed well with its drivers GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson, Alex Buncombe and Chris Ward.  Starting 3rd on the GT4 grid, Alex had a fantastic start and had taken the lead in GT4 by the first corner which he held for 12 laps before dropping back to third.  After the driver changes the car had an electrical problem quickly fixed in the RJN garage but emerged back on track in fourth position.  Chris Ward set about chasing down and passing the Aston ahead and it looked likely that at the finish it would be 3rd, then the Lotus in 2nd place had a problem and the positions were reversed. The next round will be the 24Hours of Spa July 30th.navarrapodium.jpg



















April 2011


Podium in class for debut VLN race.

Nurburgring April 30th, RJN rolled out the latest addition to their Nissan race car stable, a 370Z designed for entry into the SP8 class of the VLN series and 24Hours of Nurburgring.  The car showed good pace and finished 3rd in the SP8 Class.  The car will be in Falken Tyre colours for its next outing on the 28th May in the 4 hour VLN race, but for this race it stood out from the field in neutral grey.  Driven by Autozeitung  journalist Holger Eckhardt, Frank Eickholt and American Le Mans star Guy Smith, his first race on the Nordshleife.  Guy Smith will race in an RJN GT4 370Z Version NISMO car on 28th May alongside Alex Buncombe and Kurt Thiim, whilst the drivers of the SP8 car will be Holger Eckhardt, Sabine Schmitz, Tetsuya Tanaka and Michael Krumm.  This will also be the driver line up for the 24 Hour race in June.
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RJN Nissan 370Z GT4 took a 4th place in GT4 in the inaugural Blancpain Endurance Series at the famous Monza circuit this Sunday.
The whole weekend was a close battle between the Nissan 370Z and the Lotus Evora’s. With 50 minutes of the 3 hour race to go the battle got too close as Nissan retook the lead, contact was made, which resulted in a puncture for the Nissan 370Z.Chris Ward, with new tyres, started to chase the Lotus down and was closing at up to 6 seconds a lap. Unfortunately he had to return to the pits with suspension damage which cost the team a further 2 laps and a place on the podium. The Nissan 370Z overtook two Aston Martins in the last lap as it charged back up the field – but this was scant reward for a very competitive weekend. All three drivers in the Nissan team held the lead. Alex Buncombe made his customary flying start and lead into the first corner.  Jordan Tresson, the second year graduate from the Playstation and Nissan GT Academy, took the lead after 3 laps of his stint and was never headed again. Ward only lead for ½ a mile, but showed his resilience in his fight back. The GT4 teams head to Navarra in Spain for the next round at the end of May. The Nissan team expect another confrontation with Lotus, hopefully this time it’s not so close!monza_blancpain_2011.jpg






















Japanese Earthquake 11/03/11 

RJN Motorsport team send their sympathy to all people of Japan and especially those whose families and homes have been directly affected by the disaster.  Bob Neville says” Having worked closely with Japanese colleagues over the years, I know that they are a resilient and courageous nation and will work tirelessly towards rebuilding the damage caused by the earthquake and Tsunami”.


March 2011


The team have departed once again for Zandvoort Circuit in The Netherlands for the SRO/FIA GT4 Balance of Performance test which takes place 21st and 22nd March.


Lucas Ordonez debut race in ILMC event at Sebring

The 2008 winner of the Nissan Playstation “Virtual to reality” GT Academy competition Lucas Ordonez, this weekend took a step closer to his dream of competing at Le Mans, when he and his Signatech  team mates finished 2nd in class and 30th overall in Sebring 12Hrs.  Many congratulations on a brilliant beginning.


 

 Sportscarbattle Competition Nissan Germany

The three winners of the Sportscarbattle Competition run by Nissan Germany took part in the Winter Endurance Event at Zandvoort 5/6th March, driving a Nissan 370Z Group N spec RJN car along with a Journalist from the German car magazine Autozeitung.  The three inexperienced winners and the journalist who was embarking on his first race since gaining his racing licence put in an excellent performance qualifying 20th overall in a field of over 40 cars and finished the 4 hour endurance race in 20th position.  Congratulations to everyone on a very pleasing result.

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January and February 2011

2011 has already been an interesting year and only two months of the way through.  January saw the launch of the 2011 Nissan Playstation GT Academy competition in the USA for the first time and has had over 55,000 entries.  The final winner will join a winner from Europe to gain their International C racing licence and drive in a 24 hours of Dubai 2012.  The launch of the European competition is imminent.  Visit the GT Academy facebook page below for up to the minute news.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/GTAcademy?sk=wall


RJN Motorsport will be racing two Nissan 370Z’s in the 2011 24 hours of Nurburgring, this will be the 5th year that the team has contested this endurance challenge.  In preparation the cars will race in two VLN events on April 30th and May 28th.  The driver line up is an exciting feature as ever, with Ringmeister Sabine Schmidt, Michael Krumm, Holger Eckhardt from the German car magazine Autozeitung and Japanese driver Tetsuya Tanaka in car 1, the British drivers Guy Smith and Alex Buncombe will join another famous ringmeister Kurt Thiim and the fourth yet to be decided in car 2.

Nissan 370Z
RJN have developed through their Dunlop Maxx Cup Specification and GT4 race cars the following options for Nissan 370Z owners in addition to full track day preparation.
ITG foam air filter
RJN sport exhaust offering approximately 12 HP
Brake Kit
Oil cooler kit
Bilstein dampers and springs
Heated windscreen
NISMO body kit (see GT4 race car)
Track day brake pads for standard callipers

Please call 01235 868000 or email
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it to discuss your requirements.

Also we still offer full race and track day preparation and uprated parts for the Nissan 350Z




Final Race European GT4 Cup at Magny Cours
A wet qualifying session put the car 3rd on the grid for both races at Magny Cour, fortunately the weather cheered up for the 1st race and stayed dry.  Jordan started the race and pitted in 3rd for the mandatory pit stop, Alex Buncombe took over the wheel and posted the race fastest lap 1:50:96 and took 2nd at the flag.  Jordan Tresson the Playstation GT academy winner was delighted to revisit the podium and amazed at how far he had come since winning his seat in GT4 European Cup in April this year.
Race 2 was also dry with Alex taking the start and had taken 1st position by end of first lap.  Jordan took over after the pit stop still ahead of the field but a mechanical problem forced an early retirement.  Alex again took fastest lap of the race with a 1:49:43.

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Britcar Silverstone 24Hour 2/3rd October 2010britcar-sum_1734904c.jpg
Race Report
Race was a mixed bag, began well from 14th on the grid and quickly up to 6th overall and first in class when fuel pump problem caused 30 minute stop, then in the rain fastest car on circuit at times, we got back up to 21st even after an off after a tangle with a back marker.  With 4 hours to go suffered a cracked oil filter and loss of engine oil meant we had to retire, still classified 47th overall.  Weather was horrid!

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RJN Motorsport have entered a Nissan 370Z GT4 car for the 24 hours of Silverstone this coming weekend.  Driver line up includes the current GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson, the 2008 GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez, journalist driver Dickie Meaden and RJN regular Alex Buncombe.  The car will be in endurance specification similar to the car entered for 24 hour Nurburgring in May this year. 



The GT Academy series is back on Channel 4 Sunday 08.20 or can be watched on C4 on demand.  The story of how Jordan won his drive in the GT4 European Cup.


GT4 European Cup catch up
Nurburgring  round 4 and Algarve round 5Nurburgring at the end of August was a battle with the weather, mixing up warm sunshine with huge thunder storms along with a grid that included the well sorted Dutch GT4 Championship cars, there was plenty for our drivers to contend with.  The cars showed some significant pace and the team enjoyed a couple of promising results.The Algarve also surprised us with thunder storms but generally bright sunshine was the order of the weekend.  The pace shown in Germany continued and Jordan Tresson, who was driving alone for the first time, qualified his car 2nd for race 1 and 5th for race 2 and Lucas Ordonez, also alone for this event, was 3rd on the grid for both races.  The results were 3rd and 4th in race 1, with a first podium for Jordan and 4th and 5th in race 2.  Pleasing and steady results which give the team confidence of better to come.  Next and last race of the season is Magny Cours, France 16/17 October.
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Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup - August 28th & 29th.
The performance of the yellow Nissan 370Z Sports Maxx Cup spec cars continued to impress at Thruxton with Craig Currie finishing 3rd, 1st and 2nd in the three races and took fastest lap in the first two.  These results gave Currie an overall third in the championship, in his first season of sports car racing.  Craig Currie won his Dunlop Sports Maxx seat in a competition organised by Nissan GB for their sports car owners.  The second car was driven by experienced journalist racer Peter Dignan who finished 2nd and 3rd in the first two races, a racing accident whilst in the lead ended his third race.


August 14/15th Brands Hatch
Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup

car28brandslr.jpgA hat trick of wins for Silverstone Chief Instructor Chris Ward, who joined the RJN team as a guest driver, alongside championship contender Craig Currie for the Brands Hatch event this weekend.

The Nissan 370Z Sports Maxx cars qualified in first and second place and Chris Ward went on the achieve three fantastic victories and fastest lap in each race, his team mate Craig, delayed by an electrical problem in the first two races, joined Chris on the podium with a third place in the feature race on Sunday.



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RJN Motorsport is very pleased to have Rob Barff join their driver line up for the next round in the European GT4 Cup at Nurburgring.  Rob was a judge and driver trainer in the Nissan Playstation GT Academy finals at Silverstone in February and will join the winner of this competition Jordan Tresson in RJN’s Nissan 370Z GT4 Version NISMO race car No.2 with Alex Buncombe to share car No. 1 with Lucas Ordonez.


24 hours of Spa 2010

New RJN Built Nissan 370Z GT4 Version NISMO shows its class.

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The RJN Nissan 370Z GT4 Version NISMO race car that was built just 4 months ago and has been intensively developed since then, showed its potential at the 24 hours of Spa Francorchamps race 31st July/1st August.  With drivers Rob Barff, Lucas Ordonez, Chris Buncombe and Alex Buncombe it became obvious early in the week that the car was competitive and Alex Buncombe put in a 2.39.09 lap in the second night qualifying period to qualify the car on pole for GT4 class.  The impressive pace continued with 17th overall in the Saturday morning warm up session.

The race began well with Rob Barff in the driving seat.  With consistent lap times around 2.45 the car was moving up the leader board.  Then the car stopped near Blanchimont with complete and sudden loss of drive and despite every effort could not be recovered to the pit garage and was consequently retired from the race.  The problem proved to be clutch failure.

Bob Neville said” The Team and Drivers worked very hard to bring the car to such a competitive level and worked so well together that this early retirement comes as a bitter disappointment”.  “The positives are that the car is looking in great shape for GT4 European Cup round at the Nurburgring later this month”.  “I cannot think of another team at the 24 hours of Spa that raced a car built and developed entirely by themselves, and despite the result the team can be proud of the progress made with this new race car”.

RJN have never raced a car they have not built themselves.

6th July 2010
Paul Ricard GT4 & Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010
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A team headed by Bob Neville went to Paul Ricard Circuit with two Nissan 370Z GT4 Version NISMO race cars, one having just been completed in the RJN workshops for GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez to drive in replacement of his trusty 350Z GT4 racer.  The first car was built earlier in the year for 2010 GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson and Alex Buncombe.  In nearly 40 degree temperatures the first race produced an encouraging 5th and 6th finish.  The second race Lucas retired after an impact with an Aston and Alex after an excellent start, retired with a mechanical problem.
A second RJN team was present at The Goodwood Festival of Speed with the original RJN GT Nissan 350Z race car for an attempt to win the Hill Climb event.  With very stiff competition in the form of a McLaren F1 GT-R, Porsche 911 RSR and Toyota Celica, the Nissan driven by Anthony Reid won its GT class and posted the third quickest time overall.

 


7th June 2010
gt4_spa_32lr.jpgThe RJN Motorsport 370Z GT4 Version NISMO race car took to the track for the second time 32 days after its very first race at Silverstone in May.  The car is showing its true potential with two solid points finishes at Spa, Belgium.  Playstation Nissan competition winner Jordan Tresson and RJN regular driver Alex Buncombe scored a 7th place in the Friday evening race and an 8th in the Saturday race in which Jordan took a brief excursion into the gravel.  The 370Z lapped the beautiful 7 km Spa Francorchamps circuit 4th fastest after its 350Z stable mate.  Lucas Ordonez the 2008 Playstation competition winner had two hard fought races coming through to finish 5th and 6th.  The drivers and team are looking forward to the next rounds at Paul Ricard in July.
May 29/30
maxxcuprock.jpgDunlop Sport Maxx Cup at Oulton Park.  The RJN prepared Nissan 370Z Sport Maxx Cup cars were driven at this event by Craig Currie winner of the Nissan GB competition for new owners of GT-R or 370Z cars.  Craig was joined at this meeting by Jethro Bovingdon, journalist.  Some good finishes were acheived culminating with a win for Craig in the third and last race of the weekend.  Well done Craig.

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19th May 2010
A round up of the racing in May so far beginning with Silverstone 1/2nd May and the first event of the GT4 calendar which saw Lucas Ordonez the first GT Academy winner return to drive the Nissan 350Z and Jordan Tresson the current GT Academy winner join Alex Buncombe in the new Nissan 370Z GT4 Version NISMO car.

Things did not go to plan with two DNF’s in the first race, Lucas suffered gearbox problems and Jordan/Alex had a suspension failure which ended the race for both cars on the final lap.  The second race fared only slightly better with Lucas making a good start but went wide at Copse rejoining in 7th place and staying in that position to the flag.  Alex Buncombe took the start in this race and after moving over to avoid Michael Mallock’s Aston Martin as he was regaining the circuit after an off, Alex found himself on the slippery stuff and was forced to shortcut across the grass, unfortunately he also went through a deep puddle which forced water into the engine space after ripping off the under shield and caused the car to retire a lap further on.

Bob Neville says “Not many positives to take from this weekend but the 350Z remains competitive and the 370Z shows potential”.

 

The 370Z also raced at the Nurburgring in the 24 hour race on 15/16th May with Drivers Michael Krumm, Holger Eckhardt, Alex Buncombe and Andreas Gülden who took the place of Kurt Thiim just days before the race.  Andreas is a race driver instructor at the Ring and a Ring specialist. The car behaved impeccably throughout free practice and Qualifying starting 58th on the grid.  The weather was cold but clear on Saturday at 3pm as the race started the car was moving up the leader board, then developed a problem which resulted in an engine change.  Once the car returned to the circuit it again ran smoothly and regained 60 places to finish 115th.  Bob Neville said “  The race was as hard as ever it is at the Nurburgring with many cars from major teams not making the flag, our engine change resulted in a battle through from last place but of course we were never going to get a good position having lost the time.  The 370Z in VLN spec running with the rear wing and front splitter was praised by the drivers for its handling and posted a fastest lap of 9:31.  Without the engine problem the car at that pace would have finished well up the leader board, and all four drivers put in a superb performance”.


15/04/2010  The RJN Team will take their Nissan 370Z GT4 racer to Germany's Nurburgring to compete in a 4 hour VLN race on Saturday 24th April.  This will be part of preparations for the Nurburgring 24 Hour race on 15/16 May, which will see the team competing for the 4th consecutive year.
The driver line up includes Autozeitung journalist and experienced Nurburgring racer Holger Eckhardt, former DTM Champion Kurt Thiim, the highly respected Michael Krumm and RJN driver Alex Buncombe.

15/04/2010 The GT Academy winners are approaching the final phase of their training programme and they continue to be inseparable on the track.  The races this weekend will be a chance for them to impress RJN Boss Bob Neville.  The pair compete together at Snetterton on Saturday in the Britcar Production endurance race. On Sunday they move to Mallory Park in the hope of gaining the 12th signature and that all-important international licence.

GT Academy winners begin their Training Programme at Snetterton

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Luca Lorenzini and Jordan Tresson began their training programme in the 750 Motor Club Allcomers race at Snetterton this weekend.  All went well and they added a signature to their race cards.  They will be racing again at Pembrey 27th and 28th March in the Welsh Sports and Saloons Championship.


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After five intense days of on and off track action, Luca Lorenzini from Mantova in Italy and Jordan Tresson from Villers La Montagne in northern France have been announced as the two winners of the GT Academy 2010. More hard work awaits the victorious pair who will begin an intensive driver training programme with RJN Motorsport to qualify them for an international C race licence. Only one of the pair will then be given the opportunity race a full season in the European GT4 Cup in a Nissan 370Z GT car.

It was not an easy decision for the GT Academy judging panel that consisted of Eddie Jordan, Johnny Herbert, Sabine Schmitz and experienced sportscar driver Rob Barff. Irishman Daniel Collins and Spaniard Marco Calvo just failed to make the grade from among the final four. However, they could be proud to have emerged from an original 18 and, even more impressively, from among the 1.2 million gamers that entered GT Academy via the PlayStation®3 Gran Turismo time trial.






Press Release                  13th January 2010

RJN MOTORSPORT DEVELOP GT4 VERSION OF NISSAN 370Z FOR 2010 SEASON
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RJN Motorsport have developed the Nissan 370Z Version NISMO race car which will be available for the 2010 season onwards. 

This exciting version of the 370Z is fitted with a VQ38 HR engine and a 6 speed manual transmission.  The GT4 car having been developed by RJN with the technical support of NISMO.
"RJN are extremely excited about the development of this Nissan 370Z GT4 car.  The car will be built by us to order for customers that wish to be competative in the growing GT4 category.  We feel this appointment is perfect timing for us to build another race winning Nissan following on from the success of our 350Z in GT4".  Bob Neville - Team Owner RJN Motorsport.
RJN completed a very successful season in GT4, winning the Teams Championship and 2nd in the Drivers Championship with Alex Buncombe and Lucas Ordonez.  Ordonez is the first virtual to real life racing driver and first winner of the Nissan Playstation GT Academy 2008.
With plans to compete in the 2010 European GT4 Cup, RJN will also support other teams that are competing with the 370Z throughout Europe with parts and technical expertise.
The car will be on display at the Autosport International Show at the NEC, Birmingham on Nissan Stand no.4001.


GT Academy 2010

GT Academy 2010 will go live on 17 December, 2009 and will use the virtual world of the new PlayStation® Gran Turismo®5 game to find a real-world racing driver. The stakes are high, with an intensive race training programme and a season-long drive in a full race-spec Nissan 370Z in the European GT4 Cup as the ultimate prize.

The competition falls into four main stages:

Stage One – will offer Gran Turismo fans a sneak preview of the hotly-anticipated Gran Turismo 5 game, due for release during 2010. Competitors will record flying laps on a time trial-based track available via PlayStation®Network, accessed through PS3. Unlike the first GT Academy, participants will not have to enter the competition using the GT5 PrologueTM game itself, and so even more hopeful racing drivers are expected to take part.

Stage Two – the holders of the twenty fastest online lap times from each participating country will qualify for their national final event. Tensions will run high as they battle each other on another exclusive Gran Turismo 5 level for the chance to move to the next phase of the competition.

Stage Three – twenty finalists, chosen from each of the national finals events, will head to the world famous Silverstone circuit for the GT Academy itself – a five-day, comprehensive race driver ‘boot camp’. They will have a chance to develop new driving skills in an array of Nissan, and other, hardware, while also being judged on fitness and mental attitude.

Stage Four – For the two competitors that display the talent, fitness, aptitude, drive and determination to succeed in motor sport, the action will hot-up even further. A UK-based intensive driving and racing programme will prepare them to qualify for an international racing license.

Stage Five – There is only one place available for the driver with the most potential to compete on an international stage. The overall GT Academy 2010 champion will race a full season in the European GT4 Cup in a Nissan 370Z prepared by RJN Motorsport. The opening race is currently scheduled for May, 2010.

The GT Academy competition is open to participants from the following territories: Austria; Belgium; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; Portugal; Spain; Switzerland; UK; and Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Also joining in will be Australia and New Zealand to make it a truly international promotion. This year’s rules stipulate that anyone who holds, or has held, a national or international race license will not qualify for GT Academy. This rule is aimed at maintaining the purity of the “virtual to real” concept.


Links for further information:-
http://eu.gran-turismo.com
http://www.facebook.com/GTAcademy

See below for more on Lucas' progress in GT4 Championship 2009 and then get racing, maybe it will be you we are measuring for the seat in our Nissan 370Z Nismo Version GT4 car.


RJN Motorsport win teams title GT4 European Cup 2009

Algarve GT4 European Cup Rounds 11 and 12.

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On Sunday 13th September Lucas Ordoñez and Alex Buncombe took a race victory in the last race of the season to secure second place in the European GT4 Cup championship. The victory also sealed the team title for GT Academy partners RJN Motorsport. The result was a clear demonstration of PlayStation and Nissan’s belief that true racing talent could be unearthed from among PlayStation’s legion of Gran Turismo® game fans.

Some strong results throughout the season, including three second places and a win, saw Ordoñez and Buncombe take their RJN Motorsport Nissan 350Z into the final round of the season six points adrift of series leader Joe Osborne. Their high hopes of overturning the deficit were dealt a blow by some dreadful luck. Despite their track time on Portugal’s stunning new Algarve circuit being severely limited by an engine change, Buncombe still managed to qualify on pole for race one. But luck went against the GT Academy team again and an electrical failure forced their retirement before the start. Second for Osborne was enough to secure the title with race two still to go.

Starting the second race from fifth on the grid, Ordoñez shot through to second by the first corner. Spectacular drives from both team-mates saw them take the win and head the tight fight for the second championship place.


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Zolder Rounds 9 and 10 22nd August '09 GT4 European Cup
Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe took their first win of the season in spectacular style today.  Lucas has risen from the winner of Nissan Playstation GT Academy last year with his prize of driving in the 24 hours of Dubai. He was then given the opportunity of joining ALEX Buncombe in GT4 and has proved to have an excellent racing instinct, improving at each race he has now stood with Alex on the top of the podium. www.gt4cup.com

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Saturday 24th July Race 2

Congratulations to Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe for a well earned 2nd place - they are now 2nd in the championship with two rounds to come in Zolder and Algarve. 


Watch the action - Video of Spa Event   
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-evlOlOLY4 

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RJN Motorsport Nissan 350Z Chassis 01
Most successful RJN Race Car
The racing Nissan 350Z RJN Chassis 01 has added to its impressive list of achievements after the Goodwood Festival of Speed.  Driven by a host of talented drivers including Johnny Herbert, Alex Buncombe, Rob Barff, Chris Buncombe, Neil Cunningham, Ben Collins, Carl Rosenblad, Carlos Tavares, Vincent Radermecker, Anthony Reid, Kurt Thiim, Holger Eckhardt, Richard Meaden and the GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez and competed in:-
24 hours of Spa Francochamps
24 hours of Nurburgring - finish 
Nurburgring VLN 6 hour finishing 3rd in class SP6
24 Hours of Dubai 2008 finishing 21st overall and 3rd in class
GT4 European Cup since 2008 12 podiums including 6 wins
Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009 achieving a 7th overall and 3rd in class with an impressive 52.06 on the prestigious hill climb event
Bob Neville said "Chassis 01 has a special place in our Nissan Team which has been racing and rallying for more than 10 years but with 370Z arriving I suppose we must part with it soon".


GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED 3/4/5/ July
RJN Nissan 350Z reunited with Johnny Herbert.
RJN Motorsport will be taking the Playstation Nissan GT Academy 350Z that raced in Dubai to Goodwood this weekend where it will contest the famous hill climb event beginning on Friday for the practice runs driven once again by Johnny Herbert.  Alex Buncombe will then drive on Saturday and Sunday.  GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez will be driving a Nissan 370Z up the hill on Friday.
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Long Way Down Nissan Patrol
The Nissan Patrol, one of two vehicles, prepared by RJN for the 2007 television series Long Way Down starring Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman has returned to the RJN workshop for a service and some minor repairs.  The Patrol is in great shape and it was very exciting to see it again.  One thing on the work sheet was a thorough clean so finally the African sand was washed away, although a pair of extremely dusty pants reputedly once belonging to Ewan are still cushioning a spare motorcycle tyre that is attached to the rear spare wheel.

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Watch our racing 350Z in action visit www.nissan-350z.co.uk


 
Welcome to the new RJN Motorsport website

RJN Motorsport operates from the heart of Motorsport Valley in the Oxfordshire countryside. The newly refurbished building has a well equiped workshop with full engineering facilities. 

RJN Motorsport was founded in 2000 by Bob Neville with the objective of building race cars for circuit and rally competition, for the preparation of race and rally cars and the design and development of race cars and parts. ...more


  RJN Motorsport team garage  RJN Nissan 350z  evo_car_06.jpg