As if winning a chance to drive real race cars from a video game weren't cool enough, original GT Academy winner and NISMO racer Lucas Ordonez now gets to race in Japan's Super GT series thanks to a new driver exchange program.
The new program, formally named the NISMO Global Driver Exchange, will see drivers throughout NISMO's various motorsports programs swap race seats. Ordonez's Super GT ride is the first swap, but some Super GT drivers will also get to race outside Japan to gain experience, including Kazuki Hoshino, who will drive a GT-R GT3 race car at the Nurburgring 1000-km race. NISMO says the exchange will expand from this small start.
"This is just the beginning," said NISMO president Shoichi Miyatani. "We want to spread our young driver talent across the world so they get the best possible experience. It is a pleasure for us to invite the European drivers to race in Japan and to send the Japanese drivers to Europe. We are happy to open these doors for our drivers."
Nissan's director of global motorsport, Darren Cox, added, "It is another step towards a truly global approach to our motorsport activities. It's tough to jump from one championship to another but our driver development program isn't supposed to be an easy ride. The cream will always rise to the top. We have shown that our drivers can move from car to car and learn from all of their experiences. Look at Jann Mardenborough who went from a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 to an F3 car to setting incredible lap times in a Nissan-powered LM P2 car at Le Mans."