Recently crowned European Le Mans Series LMP3 champions Chris Hoy and Charlie Robertson have sampled a Gibson LMP2 car as part of their prize for clinching the title.
The Scottish pair took turns behind the wheel of the Greaves Motorsport owned Gibson 015S Nissan that won the overall ELMS championship at the same circuit in October.
Both drivers received praise from team manager Jacob Greaves, turning in consistent and competitive lap times on a wet track surface.
Hoy, who is now one step closer to achieving his dream of racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after sealing the LMP3 crown, drove the car on Monday, turning in 40 laps of the 2.5 mile circuit.
The six time Olympic gold medallist made his Le Mans debut at this year’s test day, driving a Ginetta-Nissan LMP3. Next on the agenda is an LMP2 berth, the second highest prototype category at the world-famous endurance event.
“I’ve learnt so much from racing in the Ginetta-Nissan LMP3 car this year,” said Hoy. “Nissan’s driver development programme has been a proven success and that, coupled with everything I have learnt from Charlie and the Ginetta guys, has made sure I am ready to take the next step.
“The Gibson-Nissan is an incredible car,” he added. “I immediately felt comfortable and was excited to find that the car does exactly what you ask it to do and really encourages you to use the downforce it delivers. It was wet today but even though the track was slippery I had lots of grip. I would love to race that car at Le Mans – in fact I want to get back in it straight away.”
Despite nearly missing the test after heavy fog in the UK delayed his flight to Lisbon, Hoy was able to get to grips with the car quickly and made a good impression with the Greaves Motorsport team.
“I was impressed with Chris,” said Greaves. “He arrived behind schedule but immediately focused on the job he had to do. His lap times were consistent despite the bad weather and he impressed our engineer with his driving. We ran him all the way through until darkness fell and it was good to see that the change in light didn’t faze him at all. He is driving extremely well.”
Robertson, meanwhile, is also pursuing a seat at next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans after a stellar debut season in prototype racing.
The 18 year old partnered Hoy at each of this year’s ELMS rounds, winning the four hour races at Silverstone, Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard. The victories, plus a podium finish at the Estoril finale, ensured a 36 point margin of victory in the championship for the pairing; the largest of any of the four classes.
Robertson got behind the wheel of the Gibson on Tuesday, and made a clear impact on Greaves, who has developed a strong association between his team and NISMO’s driver development activities.
“I would have no concerns about Charlie being competitive in LMP2 next year”, said Greaves, “He is a quality driver and his performance in the test and his feedback was very good – he’s a very mature driver in the car and chipped away all day, improving his times by three or four tenths every lap.”
“The day was absolutely amazing”, added Robertson. “We ran on inters to begin but you can’t believe the grip which is available, there’s so much grip with the LMP2 inters and the first 20 laps were amazing.”
“It’s such a cool car, the brakes are the biggest difference between P3 and P2 and you can push the braking zones more and more. While the top end isn’t too different between the two classes, the corner speeds are huge in P2 and the ability is there to push much more than you think.”
“I’m over the moon with how the test went and the team was a dream to work with. I did push the boundaries a bit more in the final run and I feel I did a good job, hopefully I made a good impression!”