Nissan GT Academy winner Gaetan Paletou will make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut next weekend with LMP2 squad Greaves Motorsport.
The 22 year old comes into the race with only 10 months of prior racing experience, after being handpicked over thousands of entries from last year’s Nissan GT Academy programme.
Paletou will replace Sweden’s Bjorn Wirdheim in the Greaves line-up, driving the European Le Mans Series race winning Gibson 015S Nissan alongside team regulars Jon Lancaster and Gary Hirsch.
The Frenchman recently took part in the official Le Mans test day, piloting a Ginetta-Nissan LMP3 car with Mike Simpson and a number of Nissan LMP1 drivers.
He made his overseas race debut in January 2015, helping the Nissan GT Academy squad to a fifth place finish at the Dubai 24 Hours. Since then, he has also made appearances in the Blancpain Endurance Series, Britcar 24 Hours and European Le Mans Series.
“Le Mans is the world’s greatest race and it happens to be in France,” said Darren Cox Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “For a Frenchman like Gaetan to make the transition from virtual-to-reality in less than a year and race at Le Mans is an incredible achievement.”
“He has handled everything we have thrown at him so far so we have absolute faith in his ability to do a good job at Le Mans.”
In just 10 months, Paletou has made the quickest ascendancy from lounge to Le Mans of any of the GT Academy graduates.
“This was completely unexpected and I honestly thought that Darren was playing a trick on me,” he said. “I dreamt of racing at Le Mans as a child but I didn’t expect to ever race there. I love driving the LM P2 car and I really like the guys at Greaves so this is going to be a great experience for me.”
“It is far too soon to talk about expectations, I just want to go there and do the best job I can.”
Four previous GT Academy winners will contest this year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mark Shulzhitskiy, Jann Mardenborough and Lucas Ordonez will each make their LMP1 debuts with the Nissan works team, while Paletou is preparing for his LMP2 call up.
The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place next weekend on June 13-14.