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‘Godzilla’ returns to Bathurst 12 Hour

AN iconic Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 has returned to Mount Panorama to be on display at this weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hour.

Recently returned to its original livery by its new owner, the GT-R will be a feature of the Liqui Moly stand in Harris Park throughout the event.

This is the car that Nissan Australia purchased for the 2016 event, where Japan’s Katsumasa Chiyo, German Florian Strauss and Supercars star Rick Kelly drove it to second place.

That came after a tremendous charge in the closing laps by Chiyo-san to slash the deficit to the leader from 14 seconds to 1.2 seconds, narrowly missing a repeat of Nissan’s 2015 win.

Chiyo starred in the closing stages of the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Nissan retained it with an eye to campaigning it in the Australian GT Championship with GT Academy winner Matt Simmons beginning with the pair of New Zealand rounds that ended the 2016 season.

However, accident damage forced Simmons and Michael Caruso out of the Hampton Downs round and a practice crash ended their weekend prematurely at the Highlands Park round.

Simmons and Caruso on the grid at Hampton Downs. Pic: NISMO

Subsequently repaired, it was part of a twin-Godzilla attack on the 2017 edition of the Bathurst 12 Hour, serving as the #24 entry in the hands of Strauss, Jann Mardenborough and Todd Kelly and finished eighth.

The car was then sent back to NISMO in Japan, where it was reshelled among other significant work before being returned to Australia, but Nissan’s exit from Australian GT racing meant the car never again raced in factory colours.

The 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour was the car’s last race while owned by Nissan Australia. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

It remained in Nissan Australia’s possession and sat dormant in one of its warehouses for the next few years until Brett Hobson negotiated its purchase during 2021.

Returned to race condition, Hobson ran the car at Challenge Bathurst in 2021 still in its 2017 12 Hour livery, then put the car on pole position for the opening race of last year’s GT World Challenge Australia round at Phillip Island ahead of more modern machinery – despite being entered in the GT Trophy class.

Hobson qualified on pole for the opening race at the Phillip Island round of last year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia series. Pic: Supplied

However, it proved to be the car’s only race weekend in Hobson’s hands. A subsequent weight penalty prompted him to sell the car, which was quickly snapped up – complete with an extensive spare parts package – by Melbourne collector Glyn Bosisto.

“I’ve got an interest in GT-Rs and Skylines, I’ve got pretty much all of the (racing) homologation ones; a DR30, the GTS-R 31, an R32 and an R33,” Bosisto told V8 Sleuth.

“I’d seen the car at Phillip Island last year and I didn’t know where it came from, but when I started talking to Brett I realised what the car was.

Housed at Melbourne Performance Centre, the GT-R is largely as it came off the track at Phillip Island last year and hasn’t touched a race track since it changed hands.

“I just thought it was such a rare car with a history that, from a collector’s point of view, was something worth pursuing.”

Although the car won’t be lapping Mount Panorama this weekend, Bosisto’s plan is to get campaign the car in GT World Challenge Australia.

“We might get it up (for a couple of rounds this year) but the plan is to eventually get it up and out there,” Bosisto said.

“It’s one of those cars that everyone seems to love and it’d be a shame for it not to do what it was built for.”

The one thing Bosisto has been able to do since acquiring the car is to have it returned to the livery it carried during the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour.

“The car’s famous for its run in the last 15 minutes of the 2016 race, so that’s why we’ve put it back to that livery,” Bosisto said.

“People from Liqui Moly saw it down at MPC in those colours and asked if they could have it on static display at Bathurst.”

Opening practice for the 2023 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour gets underway on Friday.

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