Image credit: Nissan NISMO.
Nissan NISMO completed a three-day two-car test at NCM Motorsports Park in Kentucky this week to continue the final preparations for next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours. The focus of the test was to complete longer runs with the pair of Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs and continue to build on the performance of the car in the run up to Le Mans.
Nissan’s full team of LM P1 drivers attended the test, including Harry Tincknell who arrived in the U.S. fresh from his LM P2 victory at the Spa round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“It’s great that every test so far has brought progress,” said Tincknell. “The closer we get to the pace, the harder it is to find time but we continue to improve. The next big test for us is the Le Mans test day, which in itself is a huge challenge. Le Mans is the hardest race in the world and we want a respectable result. We’ve had delays but we are working hard. We go there with our feet on the ground but we will push to get the best result we possibly can.”
There has been a change in Nissan’s driver line-up for Le Mans and Marc Gene will now switch to an advisory role. The line-ups for the three cars are now:
- #23 – Max Chilton (GB), Jann Mardenborough (GB), Olivier Pla (FRA)
- #22 – Alex Buncombe (GB), Michael Krumm (GER), Harry Tincknell (GB)
- #21 (Le Mans only) – Tsugio Matsuda (JAP), Lucas Ordonez (ESP), Mark Shulzhitskiy (RUS)
Russian racer Mark Shulzhitskiy has joined the LM P1 team and he had his first run in the GT-R LM this week. Shulzhitskiy won GT Academy Russia in 2012 and has since raced in GT3 and LM P2, making his Le Mans debut in 2014.
“It was a tough decision for me to take a step back for the Le Mans 24 Hours,” said Gene. “I am so impressed with the efforts being made by the team and even though I won’t race at Le Mans I will be there to help with my knowledge of the great race. Nissan is innovating in a big way with the GTR LM. Le Mans is going to be a huge challenge and I think that the best way for me to help the team is by taking on an advisory role. I am excited to see from the garage how the car will perform at Le Mans.”
The Nissan NISMO team is now back at its Indianapolis base to complete the build of the third car before heading to its UK base at Silverstone to make the final preparations for Le Mans.
“Obviously we would like to have more time but we have had three good days of working through a long list of jobs,” said Ben Bowlby, Nissan’s LM P1 Team Principal and Technical Director. “Our focus now moves to the re-preparation of these two cars and completing the build of the third. I’m very happy with the drivers who have all applied themselves well this week and I look forward to getting on track at the Le Mans test day.”