Juncadella in the frame for 2019 Nissan Super GT drive

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Juncadella in the frame for 2019 Nissan Super GT drive
Rachit Thukral
By: Rachit Thukral
Dec 13, 2018, 11:01 AM

Mercedes DTM refugee Dani Juncadella is in the frame for a 2019 Nissan Super GT drive, along with Japanese racing veteran James Rossiter and Porsche GT racer Frederic Makowiecki.

The three drivers took part in a shootout at Fuji Speedway earlier this month, days after Nissan held its annual NISMO racing festival at the same venue.

As unusually cold weather in Japan in December rendered any comparison to earlier races meaningless, the trio were joined by some of Nissan's full-time race drivers.

Juncadella is left without a drive following Mercedes’ withdrawal from DTM in favour of Formula E, while Rossiter looks near-certain to lose his TOM'S Super Formula drive after what the Briton labelled a “shocking” 2018 season.

Rossiter, however, is a proven Super GT racer, having won six races for Lexus and secured a best championship finish of third in 2013 and ‘14.

Makowiecki won two races during his one-and-a-half year stint in Super GT with Honda, but has largely focused on WEC and endurance races since becoming a Porsche factory driver in 2014.

He remains contracted by Porsche for 2019 and is scheduled to take part in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Nurburgring 24 Hours and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's long-distance races.

Potentially two of the three drivers in the shootout could find a place in Nissan’s GT500 roster next year, as the Yokohama-based manufacturer prepares for a major shake-up of its driver line-up.

Quadruple champion Ronnie Quintarelli is the only driver to be locked down for 2019, although several others in the Nissan stable are likely to stay on for another year.

This includes GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough and Daiki Sasaki, who formed a formidable pair at Impul and nearly won the Fuji 500 miles.

Mitsunori Takaboshi, who was recently signed as Nissan’s Formula E reserve driver, is also expected to keep his seat, as is Bathurst 12 Hour winner Katsumasa Chiyo.

Satoshi Motoyama, however, may bow out of Super GT after 22 seasons during which he won the the GT500 title three times and finished runner-up once.

Tsugio Matsuda has been racing in Super GT since the second half of 2000 and will turn 40 next year, although Nissan may not want to break up his winning partnership with Quintarelli.

Nissan is expected to announce its 2019 driver line-up in February next year.

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