Gene Rollinson says he is pleased with the early promise shown by the Signature Homes Nissan GT-R GT3 ahead of its South Island Endurance Series debut next month.
Rollinson is driving with Rhys Gould in this year’s South Island three-hour series.
The two are driving the latest generation NISMO GTRs, updated to 2020 specification for the Bathurst 12 Hour last February.
The car was in action testing at Hampton Downs today, with both Rollinson and Gould racking up a healthy total of laps.
The car had posted a best lap time of 1.01.328s around the Hampton Downs national circuit at the end of the day.
That time was set by Rollinson, with Gould’s best lap just over a second behind his teammate.
“The car was good today,” Rollinson told Velocity News.
“Obviously, it was our second time out. The first time was just a shakedown to get data and make sure nothing fell off it.
“Today was all about testing some changes and not necessarily going for all-out lap time.
“It just about testing what changes did what to the car and to also learn the car.
‘So, we had a bit of a run sheet we went over. We made some changes that put us backwards and some that put us forward.
“Today was also about getting Rhys comfortable as well; getting him up to speed and consistent with lap times.”
For Rollinson, today was his first opportunity to get some mileage in the GT-R under his belt.
He has driven various GT3 cars before but described the GT-R as a new beast to handle.
“It is a bit different to any other GT3 I have driven,” he said.
“Every other one has been a naturally aspirated car whereas this is the first turbo car [I have driven].
“So, it is a little bit different in terms of the torque delivery and power, but it is definitely a cool car.
“There is a lot of little traction control changes and ABS changes, little things you can change in the cockpit to test, which we did to pretty good effect today.”
This year’s South Island Endurance Series will feature an impressive grid of GT3 cars.
Rollinson and Rhys are just one of three Nissan GT-Rs confirmed to enter the series. A pair of McLarens and Audis, plus a Brabham BT62 have also entered.
Despite the limited testing he has had behind the wheel, Rollinson believes the Signature Homes car could be a front-runner for the overall title.
“I think so,” he said.
“At the end of the day, endurance racing is about the whole team as well. It is about your co-driver and pitstops.
“To have Rhys right up there and just over a second behind me today was really good, and he was comfortable in the car today too.
“You are only as fast as your co-driver, so that was good from our point of view.”
The Signature Homes team were also encouraged with the reliability and performance of the car today.
“For the limited amount of testing time, the car has proved competitive right out of the box,” the team said.
“It is also great that Rhys was able to be within one second of Gene, which makes for a very strong driving pair for the upcoming SIERDC Endurance Series.”
The first round of the South Island Endurance Series is at Ruapuna on September 4.
Main Image: Keith Hartley