Nissan Takes 2023 Gran Turismo World Series Manufacturers Cup Crown

Nissan Takes 2023 Gran Turismo World Series Manufacturers Cup Crown

Gran Turismo 7

The winner-takes-all finale in Barcelona went down the wire, but it was Nissan drivers Ryota Kokubun, Mehdi Hafidi and Mateo Estevez who conquered a damp Nürburgring 24-hour layout.

The Gran Turismo World Series World Finals hit the Catalan city of Barcelona to determine the winners of the Manufacturers Cup for 2023, and it was a consummate victory for Nissan despite treacherous conditions.

Following a brief qualifying session and a rambunctious eight-lap qualifying race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Toyota clung on to pole position ahead of Subaru, BMW and Nissan. Then, it was time to visit The Green Hell.

Final

As the field took to the German venue, precipitation had dowsed the somewhat infamous location, much to the delight of those driving heavier cars such as the Honda and Lamborghini which are supposed to excel in these conditions.

Each team had three drivers per car, apart from Porsche who was missing Takuma Satsaki and each contestant was only allowed to run a maximum of two laps. Combined with the changeable weather, strategy options were numerous.

Toyota led the intermediate-tyre-shod field away at the rolling start, but it didn’t take long before Subaru was challenging around the outside of Dunlop-Kehre. That attack didn’t play out and only provided Nissan with the opportunity to close in.

Manufacturers Cup 2023 02

The Japanese-manufacturer lock-out of the podium positions was ephemeral, as Lamborghini made it by Nissan soon after the pack entered the Nordschleife for the inaugural time. Sadly, the Raging Bull’s commander, Randall Haywood, slipped off at Adenauer Forst in the tricky conditions and fell down to ninth.

He wasn’t the only one, before the first lap had finished, Rikuto Kobayashi spun his Supra from the lead at the daunting Karussell. Randall, however, had incredibly fought back to third before the Döttinger Höhe had been completed, and then amazingly, into the lead by the second tour of the Grand Prix loop.

Notably, the sun broke through the clouds and a dry line appeared. Not surprisingly, everyone visited pitlane for a set of medium-compound slick tyres at the earliest opportunity – but not before the Nissan of Mehdi Hafidi grabbed the lead through Hohenrain.

Lamborghini’s victory hopes were effectively dashed when Yuki Kodaka was then punted off the track unceremoniously by home hero Nicolas Romero. A one-second penalty was dished out to the Genesis. Subaru’s changes were impacted when Roberto Sternberg spun on slicks while the surface was still drying.

Manufacturers Cup 2023 01

As darkness started to fall and the second set of pitstops and driver changes cycled through, Nissan wound up with a surprise seven-second lead. Mercedes-AMG, Genesis and Honda held second to fourth within one second. Mazda and BMW tried an alternative strategy by pitting a lap early, but they were only able to rise to fifth and sixth heading onto the final lap.

When it all combined on the final lap, it was five cars fighting for second place as the yellow headlights illuminated the Eifel mountains. AMG’s Baptiste Beauvois nudged by Honda for second and then set about hunting down Nissan for the win, eating into a seven-second gap.

Meanwhile, the rest of the pack then squabbled for the remaining spot on the dais, culminating in a multi-car pile-up at the final corner – BMW’s Seiya Suzuki, braking on the grass, speared into the side of Honda, wiping out both cars.

Nissan wins 03

Meanwhile Mazda’s Pol Urra – fresh from winning the Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup – slammed into Toyota in avoidance. Dean Heldt in the Genesis sat back, watched the chaos unfold, and picked his way through to claim third on the day that the company announced its new Vision Gran Turismo car.

Mateo Estevez crossed the line first in the ageing GT-R and his team-mates Ryota Kokubun (who also won Michelin Driver of the Day) and Hafidi, but after taking a safety-first approach, AMG had closed to just 1.7s behind.

2023 Gran Turismo World Series World Finals Manufacturers Cup results

  1. Nissan – 5 laps
  2. Mercedes-AMG +1.771
  3. Genesis +5.107
  4. Mazda +8.058
  5. Toyota +9.319
  6. Subaru +10.977
  7. Porsche +11.366
  8. BMW +12.040
  9. Honda +16.360
  10. McLaren +18.098
  11. Renault +18.313
  12. Lamborghini +18.720

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