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Ex-Bathurst 12 Hour Nissan GT-R to make race return

A NISSAN GT-R that formed part of Nissan Australia’s attack on the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2016 and ‘17 is set to make a racing return.

Australian GT competitor Brett Hobson has acquired the car from Nissan Australia to replace his current GT-R originally sourced from the US.

A race winner this season, Hobson will enter the newer car in the 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS.

Hobson’s new purchase was driven to second place in the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour by Katsumasa Chiyo, Rick Kelly and Florian Strauss.

It was also entered in the final two rounds of the 2016 Australian GT Championship but was withdrawn due to a crash in practice at the first of those events at Hampton Downs.

The car returned for the 2017 12 Hour in the hands of Strauss, Jann Mardenborough and Todd Kelly and finished eighth.

It was subsequently re-shelled as part of a significant overhaul and has not raced since.

Todd Kelly behind the wheel during the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour. Pic: Supplied

“The car itself is basically brand new,” Hobson said. “The shell itself has never actually raced.”

Discussions between Nissan Australia’s Ian Moreillon and Hobson started six months ago, leading to the GT-R GT3 arriving at the GWR Australia workshop last week.

“Ever since we’ve shown what we’re capable of in GT World Challenge Australia and for the past couple of months I was asking what Nissan was doing to do with it and finally got a good response, so we acquired the car last week,” explained Hobson.

“We’re now looking forward to getting on the track next year.”

Hobson will take both his GT-R GT3s to Challenge Bathurst, before a planned testing program ahead of next year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia season.

“In the next couple of weeks, we’ll give it a shakedown and see how it performs,” Hobson said.

“We’ll switch back to the old car for the final round, we’ll still finish off the year in ‘old faithful’ and we’ll go from there.

“We’ll hopefully hit the ground running next year with the new girl and have a bit of fun.”

Hobson’s previous GT-R was meanwhile shaken down at Sydney Motorsport Park last week after a significant rebuild.

He shared the driving duties with wife Laura as the plan is for her to compete in state-based level competition in it.

“It won’t be sitting in the shed, that’s for sure,” he said. 

Nissan’s four-year Bathurst 12 Hour program included victory in the race in 2015. That car remains in Nismo’s museum in Japan, presented as it raced on the Mountain.

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