Sir Chris Hoy is taking another step towards his ambition of competing at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, as it is revealed today that he will compete in next year’s European Le Mans Series. Under his ongoing partnership with Nissan, Hoy will also continue to be an ambassador for its #UniteAndExcite campaign ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Scot, aged 38, began racing for Nissan in a GT-R NISMO GT3 at the British GT Championship this year, with one of his top drives of the season seeing him secure second place at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Next year, racing in a Ginetta-Nissan LM P3 Le Mans prototype car, he will participate in longer races – four hours each – and will also get his first experience of the Le Mans circuit during a track day on 31 May, alongside competitors in this year’s 24-hour race; Hoy’s target is racing that event himself 12 months later.
Hoy’s partner next season will be a fellow Scot less than half his age – Charlie Robertson, who is the reigning Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Champion. The pair will race on some of motorsport’s most fabled tracks, including Silverstone in the UK and Imola in Italy.
"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.”
Darren Cox, global head of brand, marketing & sales for NISMO, said: “We have made a clear commitment to Le Mans and sports car racing.
“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.”
Hoy’s role in Nissan’s #UniteAndExcite campaign, aimed at building public support for Great Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians, includes the six-time gold medallist giving athletes advice and support. He will also appear in a series of videos charting the Road to Rio.
“We are delighted to be continuing to support Chris as he advances his career in motorsport,” said Guillaume Masurel, marketing director of 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’s 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,” he added.
2015 European Le Mans Series
Round 1 – 10-11 April – Silverstone, UK
Round 2 – 16-17 May – Imola, Italy
Round 3 – 11-12 July – Red Bull Ring, Austria
Round 4 – 5-6 September – Paul Ricard, France
Round 5 – 17-18 October – Estoril
Le Mans Test Day – 31 May – Le Mans, France
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.