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Is Sir Chris Hoy heading to Le Mans?
Capable bicyclist and friend of Top Gear Sir Chris Hoy has today announced his plan to race a Nissan GT-R in this year’s British GT Championship. This is Good News.
Speaking at the launch today in London, Nissan brand ambassador Sir Chris explained how the GT Championship was a stepping-stone to eventually competing at the 2016 Le Mans 24hrs. Just imagine: from velodrome gold to La Sarthe in just four years.
First though, the eleven-time world champion and six-time Olympic cycling champ will be fast-tracked through Nissan’s driver development programme - the same programme that sent another friend of TG, Jann Mardenborough, one step closer to F1 - to prepare him for this year’s GT3 racing.
Hoy will race alongside Alex Buncombe, a man who has helped steer each and every one of Nissan’s GT Academy graduates, and will pilot the lightly fearsome Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 during the majority of the season’s seven race weekends.
Under the rules, Sir Hoy will have to compete as a ‘bronze’ driver when the season begins at Oulton Park between 19-21 April. This is not a colour Sir Hoy is used to.
“This won’t be easy,” Sir Chris said, “but I could not turn down the chance to give it a go. My ultimate ambition is to race at Le Mans. That’s the dream, but I’m taking this one step at a time.
“Motor racing has become an obsession for me, just like riding my bike was when I was little. You’ve got to aim high, haven’t you? You aim high then work out the stepping stones needed to get there. That’s what I did with my cycling and that’s what I’ll try and do to get to Le Mans.”
It’s no great leap of faith, however, to imagine Sir Chris doing his thing on the racetrack. Not only does he have thighs that resemble a particularly healthy giant redwood, but he’s also shown some proper helmsman promise in a number of club races too.
Darren Cox, Nissan’s director of global motorsport, made the point succinctly. “The Le Mans 24hr is the Olympics of motorsport. Who better to take on an epic challenge such as this?”
We doff our caps to you, Sir Hoy. Godspeed!