Image credit: Martijn van Tussenbroek
After climbing up the single seat driver development ladder, British driver Harry Tincknell switched to endurance and set the grid alight. The FIA WEC caught up with him at last week’s entry list press conference in Paris for a brief Q&A session.The 23-year-old from Exeter spent his first season in sports cars with Jota Sport in the 2014 European Le Mans Series and, alongside Simon Dolan and Filipe Albuquerque, won in only his second race at Imola. One month later he then went on to stand on the top step of the LMP2 podium at the 24 Heures du Mans alongside team principal Simon Dolan and Oliver Turvey.
He completed a remarkable debut season in endurance racing by finishing as the ELMS runner-up and was named ‘Rookie of the Year’ at the end of season award ceremony in Estoril.
Harry Tincknell now embarks on the next stage of his endurance career after being named as one of the drivers to race the newly revealed LMP1 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Q: Harry Tincknell, Nissan Works Driver. How do you feel when you hear that after only one full season in endurance racing?
“That sounds pretty cool and it’s even cooler when you see the car; it’s fantastic. It’s great that the World Endurance Championship allows such variety between the cars. It’s fantastic to be part of Nissan’s new team and to move up to LMP1 after just one year in LMP2 is brilliant for me and I can’t wait to get started.”
Q: You knew what the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo was going to look like prior to the car’s launch, so were you surprised by the buzz it has created by being so different from the other manufacturers?
“I knew it was going to be slightly different because Nissan likes to push the boundaries. The first time you see the car you go ‘wow, this is really different’. However I know Nissan wouldn’t push it for pushing the boundaries sake; there is a lot of technology behind the project. It is going to take time of course, every race winning car takes time to get up to world championship level but the signs are really promising and we continue to work hard and push forward before the season starts.”
Q: Let’s turn to LMP2, 2014 was your first year in LMP2 in European Le Mans Series and you were amongst the fastest. Your teammate Olivier Pla was the fastest driver in LMP2 in the WEC last season. Do you think LMP2 is the correct career path for drivers looking to progress to LMP1 and a works drive?
“For me coming from single seaters and jumping into LMP2, it was just an evolution of racing a Formula 3 car. Slightly more power but slightly more weight. On my first test after 6 laps it just felt normal, like I had been driving it for years. It is fantastic that Nissan are giving me this opportunity by using the endurance racing ladder to pick the best talent in LMP2, which is refreshing. In single seaters if you win in GP2 you don’t necessarily go to Formula One. The difference in endurance is there are more opportunities to go to the top category. LMP2 is the perfect proving ground and I’ve shown, Olivier has shown and Brendon Hartley last year has also shown that if you are running at the front in LMP2 that the manufacturers are watching.”