Rossiter: Japan chapter “closed” after Nissan split

Jamie Klein
motorsport.com

Rossiter had been a mainstay of SUPER GT with Lexus from 2013 to 2017, winning six races in that time and also racing in Super Formula, before switching from the Toyota camp to Nissan ahead of the 2019 season.

The Briton however endured a tough season sharing Team Impul’s GT-R with Daiki Sasaki despite a promising start to the campaign, and his place in the team was given to newcomer Kazuki Hiramine for 2020 following Nissan’s traditional end-of-season shootout at Fuji.

Since then he has focussed on his test and development driver role with the DS Techeetah Formula E squad, with his responsibilities having grown to encompass team management.

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He was present for last weekend’s Marrakesh E-Prix, deputising for the unwell Jean-Eric Vergne in first practice, although this meant he was ineligible to take part in Sunday’s rookie test as had been originally planned.

“I felt the timing was right to come back to Europe,” Rossiter told Motorsport.com in Morocco. “It was something I had been thinking about since [former DS Techeetah sporting director] Pedro de la Rosa left the team at the end of August last year.

“The team had a space on the management side and they were pushing me quite a lot to come. Also JEV [Vergne] was quite keen for me to come and help in the capacity that Pedro was working in.

“I’m not getting any younger, I’m 36, and I thought it might not be such a bad thing. I know the team, I’ve been working with them for a long time and they are an amazing group of people. It was a conscious decision to stop in Japan for this reason.

“I could have stayed in Japan for two, three more years, and then what do I do when I’m 40? It was a conscious career choice.”

James Rossiter, Team Impul Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500

James Rossiter, Team Impul Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 <span class="copyright">Masahide Kamio</span>
James Rossiter, Team Impul Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 Masahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio

He added: “I’m happy with the way things played out. I’m very grateful to NISMO for the last year. We had our ups and downs, but there was no problem with the speed.”

Asked if the Japan chapter of his career was therefore over, Rossiter replied: “It’s closed. I’m happy about it. I had an amazing time, I had an amazing career over there.

“I do miss the Japanese fans, who are amazing, and I’m sad I didn’t get to say goodbye to them properly, but I’m sure I’ll come visit a race and see them.”

However, Rossiter stopped shy of saying his full-time driving days had come to an end, suggesting there could be “opportunities within the PSA Group” in future.

Asked if that could mean being part of Peugeot’s FIA World Endurance Championship project, slated to begin in 2022, Rossiter would only say: “As you like to interpret it.”

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