Nissan’s intensive schedule of racing continues unabated this week with the Silverstone round of the British GT Championship and the Le Mans Test Day taking place on Sunday.
The race at Silverstone is the only three-hour event in the British GT Championship and will be the first real endurance race for Nissan’s Olympian-turned-racing driver, Sir Chris Hoy.
“Silverstone is our kind of circuit so I hope we can get out there and make amends for Rockingham,” said Hoy. “I’m very excited that we are racing at Silverstone; it’s a high-speed track so it should really suit the GT-R. I have more experience under my belt now so I’m looking forward to my first three-hour race.”
Hoy’s team-mate at Silverstone is Alex Buncombe, who has just heard that he will be racing in V8 Supercars later this year. The NISMO Global Driver Exchange was created to give Nissan racers the opportunity to compete in different championships all over the world. Al has been chosen to race the No.7 Nissan Altima, alongside Todd Kelly, in the ‘Enduro’ rounds of the Australian V8 Supercars Championship: Bathurst, Sanddown and Gold Coast.
“What an amazing feeling to get the call to say I’m required to drive again in Australia,” said Buncombe. “I really want to do a solid job for the team. I haven’t had many laps in the car so the first job for me will be to get on the pace. It’s totally different to what I have been used to in Europe with the GT3 GT-R but that won’t be a problem and I’ll be asking Todd for every tip he’s got to help me!”
The Nissan ZEOD RC will tackle the Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time on Sunday at the official Le Mans test day. The one-day event is the only opportunity for teams to try their machinery on the full 8.5-mile Le Mans 24 Hours circuit before returning to the race itself two weeks later.
GT Academy winner Wolfgang Reip will be joined at the test by two-time Le Mans LM P2 winner Tommy Erdos who is standing in for Lucas Ordóñez and Satoshi Motoytama who will be doing battle in the latest round of the Super GT Championship in Japan at Autopolis. Ordóñez scored his first Super GT300 class pole at the previous round. After two rounds of the championship, Nissan leads the points with the new GT500 class Nissan GT-R.
The winner of 2012 GT Academy Russia, Mark Shulzhitskiy, will also be making his Le Mans debut this weekend. The Russian racer has teamed up with fellow GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough and OAK Racing regular Alex Brundle in the brand new Ligier JS P2 for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. They will be joined at the test by 13 other P2 cars that are Powered by Nissan.
Heading further East around the globe will be the next round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on the street circuit of Belle Isle in Detroit. Oak Racing’s Nissan-powered LM P2 prototype is again expected to figure strongly.