Kazunori Yamauchi Struggles to an Epic Class Victory at the Nurburgring 24h

The twenty-four hours-long drama has come to an end. Perseverance and determination paid out as the #71 Schulze Motorsport Nissan GT-R finished in 36th position overall, earning an epic Victory in the SP 8T class. At the wheel were Kazunori Yamauchi (Creator of the Gran Turismo series), Michael Schulze, Tobias Schulze and Yasuyoshi Yamamoto.

Yamauchi’s team had a great race yesterday and last night, but they started to pay the toll of wear and tear this morning. The GT-R was forced to undergo some very long pit stops to clear various mechanical troubles.

Despite the problems the team didn’t give up and continued to rely on the strong points of their GT-R (and it was the first time for a Nissan GT-R to take part in the Nurburgring 24h), battling against opponents of the caliber of Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell (both ex F1 drivers) on their #235 Golf GT of the official Volkswagen team, and eventually coming up on top.
When the car crossed the finish line Kazunori Yamauchi was at the wheel.

This fantastic victory against the odds adds further prestige to the Gran Turismo brand, after the 2nd Place in the LMP2 class at the Le Mans 24h race scored by a team including Lucas Ordoñez, winner of the 2009 edition GT Academy.

It’s been an emotional, closely fought and absolutely beautiful race. At many points during the race we thought that a class win was impossible, especially during the most critical moments in which the beautiful black Nissan GT-R wouldn’t come out of the pits. But it’s done, it’s a class victory for a great team and a great racing game developer that can drive something quite a lot faster than a console.

If you missed the race and want to read our extensive hour by hour coverage you can find it here and here. Also, congratulations to the Manthey Racing Porsche team that brought home the overall victory.

Now, Yamauchi-san, can we have that lovely GT-R as a DLC in Gran Turismo 5? Thank you.

Update: while the leaderboards shown on TV displayed the #71 GT-R as ranked 37th overall, the official results published after the race show the team as ranked 36th. #7 BMW M3 GT of BMW Motorsport that was previously shown as ranked 27th has been disqualified, improving the official overall position of  Team Schulze’s GT-R to 36th.

Update 2: Kazunori Yamauchi posted on his personal twitter account: “The Nurburgring 24 hour race was dramatic and a lot happened during the last leg. Class victory goes to the GT-R. Thanks a lot for  the congratulatory messages. Time for the awards ceremony now.
You’re very welcome Yamauchi-san, and thank you for showing us such an awesome performance!

Yamauchi's #71 GT-R pictured alongside some of the other cars that finished the race (bottom middle)

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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