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Nissan outcast Fujinami breaks silence after losing Super GT drive

Kiyoto Fujinami has publicly apologised for the violent incident that appears to have cost him his place on the Nissan Super GT roster for the 2023 season.

#56 Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: Kiyoto Fujinami, Joao Paulo de Oliveira

The 27-year-old, a two-time GT300 class champion for Kondo Racing alongside Joao Paulo de Oliveira, posted a brief statement on his Twitter account hours after NISMO announced that his seat would be taken by Teppei Natori this year.

While details of the incident remain unclear, multiple sources have indicated that it relates to Fujinami punching one of the drivers belonging to his KF Motorsport team that races in the Fuji Speedway-based Vita Pro series.

Fujinami wrote: “I would like to sincerely express my apologies to all those involved and to the fans for the huge concern this incident has caused.

“That I fell into such a situation as part of my role in leading drivers has made me keenly realise my immaturity.

“I will take this as a lesson and devote myself to ensuring that nothing like this ever happens again.”

When contacted for comment by Autosport, NISMO would only reiterate its earlier stance that “discussions did not progress beyond the contract stage” with Fujinami.

It appears unlikely that Fujinami will race in Super GT this year following the apparent termination of his relationship with Nissan, which comes just weeks after he tested for Kondo Racing’s GT500 squad at Suzuka.

Fujinami appeared poised to finally make the step up to the top class after achieving his second GT300 title alongside de Oliveira last season, and replace Kohei Hirate in Kondo’s #24 Nissan Z.

Two-time Super GT GT300 champion Fujinami has now been dropped by Nissan

Two-time Super GT GT300 champion Fujinami has now been dropped by Nissan

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Instead, Hirate keeps his seat alongside Daiki Sasaki for a second season, with Nissan opting to make no changes to the driver line-ups across its four-car GT500 stable.

Fujinami, a former member of Nissan’s Driver Development Programme, made his Super GT debut in 2017 for Team Mach before going on to win two titles in the top ST-X class of the Super Taikyu series in 2018-19 at the wheel of Nissan machinery.

That earned him a spot in Kondo’s GT300 line-up alongside de Oliveira, alongside whom he won the 2020 title before adding a second triumph last year.

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