Two Nissan GT Academy North America winners will team up in one of Doran Racing's two 370Z NISMOs for the 2015 season. Tim Bell Racing will also campaign two Nissan 370Z NISMO race cars in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) series for 2015. The season kicks off with the BMW Performance 200, a 150-minute enduro at the 3.6-mile Daytona International Speedway road circuit in Florida on Friday, January 23 at 1:45 p.m. Eastern.
Cincinnati, Ohio's Doran Racing will return to the grid with the #41 GT Academy 370Z NISMO that will feature an all-GT Academy North American Champions lineup, with 2011 winner and four-time CTSCC pole qualifier Bryan Heitkotter sharing duties with 2013 champ Nick McMillen, who makes his U.S. racing debut at Daytona. McMillen is fresh from two 2014 European podium finishes at Spa and Silverstone while driving a Nissan GT-R in the Blancpain Endurance Series. The sister #14 NISMO will again be piloted by Brad Jaeger, fifth in 2014 driver's championship points last season. Paired with Jaeger is series veteran BJ Zacharias, who finished sixth in 2014 driver points.
"I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to join fellow U.S. GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter as my Doran Racing teammate at Daytona," said McMillen, who turns 22 years old Thursday. "This will be my first race in the U.S., which makes my first trip to Daytona even more exciting. I welcome the challenge of working with a new team and racing a fast Doran 370Z NISMO. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous, but I'm sure I will get up to speed quickly and feel right at home with the team in no time."
Mooresville, North Carolina-based Tim Bell Racing also returns for the full 10-race CTSCC season with two Nissan 370Z NISMOs. Team owner Bell will share the #28 car with former CTSCC driver points champion Charles Espenlaub while the sister #29 car will have veteran racer Brett Sandberg pairing with Pirelli World Challenge Nissan pilot Brian Kleeman, who is coming over to race Daytona. Sandberg's full season co-driver for #29 will be announced at a later date.
"We've had a good offseason testing and we've made a lot of improvements to the cars," said Bell. "Last year we had our ups – like Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta – and we had plenty of downs, especially Circuit of the Americas. This year we are after consistency. We want to finish every race and work our way into top tens or top fives every week. That's how you win championships."
Nissan Motorsports manager for North America Rick Kulach is optimistic.
"NISMO is looking forward to the 2015 season with partnerships with CTSCC teams that represented the Nissan brand well in 2014," said Kulach. "It is great to have two GT Academy winners paired up in the Doran Racing 370Z this year. We will also have additional announcements to make soon, but Nissan is looking forward to having four very competitive 370Z NISMOs at Daytona this week."
The BMW 200 will be streamed live online on IMSA.com Friday at 1:45 p.m. Eastern.
Visit the NISMO performance parts and accessories site at http://www.nissanusa.com/nismo/
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