Kiyoto Fujinami handed 2023 Nissan reserve role

Fujinami’s future was plunged into doubt in late January when his name was absent from Nissan’s announcement of its GT500 driver line-up for the coming season, which came just days after the two-time GT300 champion was seen testing for Kondo Racing at Suzuka. 

Kohei Hirate instead kept his place alongside Daiki Sasaki at Kondo, while it was later revealed that Fujinami’s place in the squad’s GT300 line-up alongside Joao Paulo de Oliveira would be taken by Teppei Natori.

It later transpired that the reason for Fujinami’s exclusion was related to an incident in which he punched one of the drivers competing for his KF Motorsport team, for which he issued a public apology.

However, ahead of this weekend’s first official pre-season test at Okayama, Nissan has announced that it will continue its relationship with Fujinami after all, handing him the role originally thought to be earmarked for Hirate before making a last-minute change of plan.

A short statement posted on NISMO’s official Twitter account read: «Nissan Motorsports and Customising (NMC) has signed a reserve driver contract with Kiyoto Fujinami for this season.

«Starting with this weekend’s Okayama test, it is planned that Fujinami will be with us at the circuit for every round this year.»

While Fujinami has no full-time drive in SUPER GT this year, he will continue to remain active in the second-tier Super Taikyu series.

Earlier this month he was named as one of the five drivers who will share the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 run by the GTNET Motor Sports outfit, starting with next week’s season opener at Suzuka.

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