Sir Chris Hoy will step up a gear on his journey to the Le Mans 24 Hours with Nissan next year. After a strong debut season in the British GT Championship, Britain's most successful Olympian will race a Ginetta-Nissan LM P3 car in the European Le Mans Series as he continues his quest to gain a seat at the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours.
In 2014, Hoy competed in the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the British GT Championship, making steady progress as he learned the craft of competing in professional circuit racing. Highlights of the year include second place at Spa-Francorchamps – on his first visit to one of the world's most daunting racing circuits – and a stand out performance in the final race at Donington Park.
Hoy will be racing a faster car in 2015 and will get his first real taste of endurance racing as each of the European Le Mans Series races are four hours long. He will also take part in the official Le Mans Test Day on May 31 when he will drive a racing car on the full Le Mans circuit for the first time, sharing the track with the competitors for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Nissan announced in September that it would be the sole engine supplier for LM P3, a new-for-2015 endurance racing category. LM P3 is the perfect training ground for the Le Mans drivers of the future, as they can hone their prototype endurance racing skills in the European or Asian Le Mans Series before stepping up to the LM P2 category for the Le Mans 24 Hours itself.
The LM P3 program means that Nissan has created a sports car ladder of success, from GT4 to GT3 then onto LM P3, LM P2 and the premier class of LM P1
Hoy will race a works Ginetta-Nissan alongside 17-year-old fellow Scot, Charlie Robertson, the current Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Champion.
"I'm delighted to be stepping up to race in the European Le Mans series for Nissan next year," said Hoy. "This takes me another step closer to my motorsport dream of competing at Le Mans. This year was a great experience racing in the British GT championship, but I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn to bridge the gap to be competitive at Le Mans. I'm also excited to be joining fellow Scot Charlie Robertson, who's already achieved so much in his young motor racing career."
Hoy's relationship with Nissan is a two-way street. While Nissan's envied driver development program teaches Sir Chris all the skills he needs to compete at Le Mans, he is also helping Nissan in Europe to #UniteAndExcite the public behind Team GB and ParalympicsGB at the Rio 2016 Games. As a lead Team Nissan ambassador, Chris provides invaluable advice and support to Nissan's team of athletes on the run up to next year's event and will feature in a series of films following athletes on their Road to Rio.
"We are delighted to be continuing to support Chris as he advances his career in motorsport," said Guillaume Masurel, Marketing Director, Nissan Motor GB. "This is an exciting time for Chris and Nissan with 2016 seeing the culmination of our support for Team GB and ParalympicsGB on the road to the Rio 2016 Games, along with the shared ambition of taking Chris to race at Le Mans. Chris' drive and determination make him not only an extraordinary motorsport prospect, but also an outstanding ambassador for the Nissan Brand, and we look forward to working alongside Chris to inspire the next generation of British Olympic and Paralympic stars."
"We have made a clear commitment to Le Mans and sports car racing," said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. "This will be a very important season for Chris as he makes the transition from GT cars to Le Mans style cars. It's a big step and Le Mans has a real habit of sneaking up on you, so before he knows it, he will be on track there. We're always happy to work with Ginetta and this is the next step in our relationship with them and their driver ladder."
2015 European Le Mans Series
Round 1: April 10-11 at Silverstone, UK
Round 2: May 16-17 at Imola, Italy
Round 3: July 11-12 at Red Bull Ring, Austria
Round 4: September 5-6 at Paul Ricard, France
Round 5: October 17-18 at Estoril
Le Mans Test Day: May 31 at Le Mans, France