Japanese Super GT driver Satoshi Motoyama has been named as the third and final driver for the Nissan DeltaWing for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Motoyama will join teammates Michael Krumm and Marino Franchitti in continuing to test the experimental design at Snetterton this week, as the team start their European test program ahead of taking Garage 56 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in June.
The event (June 16-17) will be the second time Motoyama will drive at Le Mans alongside Krumm, both men having been on the same Nissan team for the 1999 event. The Japanese driver has raced with the manufacturer since 1996, including two Le Mans starts. He currently races a Nissan GT-R in Japan, again co-driver with Krumm, himself a long term Nissan driver.
Motoyama said; “I am very excited about joining the Nissan DeltaWing project for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours and would like to thank Nissan, NISMO, Ben Bowlby, Don Panoz, All-American Racers, the Highcroft Racing team and other partners involved in the project for giving me this great opportunity.”
”Nissan DeltaWing is very innovative and beyond any racing technical regulations; we will run in the discretionary “Garage 56” class at Le Mans, where no classification will be given. But there will be no disappointment and compromise, since our aim for this project is to prove this innovative racing technology and demonstrate the future of motorsports. It will be a truly challenging and exciting experience for me and the team.”
NISMO president Shoichi Miyatani is eager to point out the recent success of Super GT drivers at Le Mans with current 24 Hours champions Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer both regulars in the Japanese series.
“In the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours,” he said, “two out of three LMP1 winning drivers were regular Super GT drivers – Treluyer, ex-NISMO Super GT driver being one of them. Being the most successful current SUPER GT drivers, Satoshi and Michael will know how to be successful at Le Mans. As well as watching those LMP2 cars powered by Nissan and NISMO, I am also looking forward to observing how the Nissan DeltaWing will amaze everyone at Le Mans.”
Testing at Snetterton is due to end today (April 25) with further tests planned in France and Spain before the official 24 Hours of Le Mans test day on June 3.