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NISSAN sends Yanagida to GT500 class in Super GT!
Four Z cars from NISMO, IMPUL, and Hasemi are joined by 3 more in GT300

Nissan Motor Company & Nissan Motorsports International (NISMO) announced today, February 18, its participation in the Super GT series for 2005. Four Fairlady Z (350Z) cars will contest the GT500 category, joined by three privateer-run machines in GT300.

As was the case last season, two cars from the factory NISMO team will be joined by one each from TEAM IMPUL and Hasemi Motorsports in GT500.

NISMO Executive Director Kunihiko Kakimoto oversees vehicle development as General Manager of the three factory-supported teams. "We have won successive championships in 2003 and 2004, and were victorious in the All-Star race after 5 victories out of 8 races last season, to dominate the competition last year.

The skill of the teams and drivers was impressive also, and the four pole positions really showed the speed of the car. We're aiming to improve on that this season.Our idea of a strong Z car this year is in its safety for the driver, strength in battle, ability to get away from the pack, and speed." He also spoke about the concept of the Z car for this season.

NISMO Supervisor Mr. Hiroshi Degawa. "We have already been out testing the '05 car. In the second week of January, we spent 5 days at Sepang, running over 1,000kms and were able to gather basic data on the car. Decreasing drag was one of our objectives, and I feel we are making progress. Lead driver Satoshi Motoyama also serves as development driver on the car: "The response was better than last year's car. There are no major problems either." A confident assessment.

In the driver lineup, the #1 car will be driven by reigning champions Satoshi Motoyama and Richard Lyons. Also unchanged from last season are the driver lineups in the TEAM IMPUL and Hasemi machines. In the #22 car, 2003's GT300 champion, Masataka Yanagida joins Michael Krumm.

"Give Yanagida the Z" shouted out his father, former top Haruhito Yanagida. "I am very glad to get this drive in a GT500 Z car, that's what I have been yearning for. I feel a sense of both pressure and happiness, and want to make the most of this opportunity by bringing in results." He also talked about his ambition in racing.

In addition to continuing with Hasemi Motorsports from last season, 2005 marks the 10th year Erik Comas is racing in Japan. He commented: "I came to Japan to race in GTs 10 years ago, and have taken the championship title twice since then with NISMO. It is a very meaningful year for me this season. To Hasemi-san and Toshihiro I say: Let's give it all we've got for success this year!"
Calsonic TEAM IMPUL driver Yuji Ide also expressed his wishes: "Last year we had only one win. I want to give Hoshino-san a present of the title this year."

And at the end of the symposium, Director Kakimoto (to the factory-supported teams) stated: We're continuously improving, and I'm confident we'll take the title again this year." - cheering reassuringly to close the event.

Three cars supported by NISMO will compete in the GT300 class. The Endless machine will be driven by Mitsuhiro Kinoshita and Masami Kageyama. Director Kakimoto: "Yanagida embodies the signifigance of bringing a young person up to GT500; on the other hand, Masami Kageyama asked for a new role, running the Z in GT300; and we've got some young drivers who are going to learn from him."
In another team, Kazuki Hoshino will be partnered by Takayuki Aoki, who drove a Silvia until 2002, and a Celica in 2003 and 2004. In the third GT300 entry, newcomer Gou Shimizu and Tomonobu Fujii, Fujii came up from Formula Dream last year, will compete.





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NISSAN 2005 SUPER GT Lineup No. Entrant Manager Drivers Car
1 NISMO Hiroshi Degawa Satoshi Motoyama / Richard Lyons Xanavi NISMO Z
22 Michael Krumm / Masataka Yanagida MOTUL PITWORK Z
3 HASEMI MOTORSPORT Masahiro Hasemi Toshihiro Kaneishi / Erik Comas G'ZOX HASEMI Z
12 Team IMPUL Kazuyoshi Hoshino Yuji Ide / Benoit Treluer CALSONIC IMUPL Z
 
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