Nissan is aiming to put an American behind the wheel of one of its LMP1 racecars in 2016 as part of plans to grow its motorsports program in the United States.
"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up." - Darren Cox
The driver would compete in the LMP2 class and the new LMP3 class of the FIA World Endurance Car Championship next year and then graduate to the higher level of competition. Nissan said it would select candidates from its GT Academy program, including former winners Bryan Heitkotter, Steve Doherty and Nick McMillen, plus other drivers. Ultimately, the goal is to have an American on the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up," Darren Cox, Nismo global head of brand, marketing and sales, said in a statement. "It is going to take more than just talent to get them into an LMP1 car, but the opportunity will be there if they are prepared to work for it."
Nissan's LMP1 program will launch next season, competing against Audi, Toyota and Porsche on circuits around the world. It will be based in Indianapolis in the facility of an old Champ Car team, Forsythe Racing, and have facilities in Europe and Japan. The LMP1 racer takes the name of one of Nissan's most famous sports cars, and it will be called the GT-R LM Nismo. Nissan will field two cars, and possibly a third one at Le Mans, a spokesman said.
Founded in 2008, Nissan's GT Academy has taken video gamers and turned them into professional drivers-with extensive training that maximizes their talents and translates that into real-world racing skills. More than five million gamers have used the academy through PlayStation, Nissan said.
In other racing news, Nissan also announced it will supply engines for the LMP3 series, which launches next season in Europe.
Permalink | Email this | Comments