Nissan looking for past GT Academy winner to join LM P1 team
Nissan has announced its looking for a gamer to join its new LM P1 Le Mans 24 Hour and FIA World Endurance Championship team.
WORLD RENOWNED FOR its Nissan GT Academy which in the last six years has seen more than five million entrants via PlayStation and Gran Turismo, Nissan says its looking to give former US GT Academy winners Bryan Heitkotter (2011), Steve Doherty (2012) and Nick McMillen (2013) plus a number of other past American finalists “the chance to impress the new Nissan LM P1 team’s management”. Wow.
Heitkotter and Doherty will compete this weekend at Circuit of The Americas in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge as teammates at Skullcandy Team Nissan aboard a Nissan Altima 3.5. The 2013 American winner Nick McMillen will race for Nissan GT Academy Team RJN at the Nurburgring round of the Blancpain Endurance Championship this weekend as well.
Nissan’s new LM P1 team will have a base in the US (it’s refurbishing the former Indianapolis headquarters of Champ Car team, Forsythe Racing), taking advantage of track facilities in the warmer southern states climate to test its new machine which will compete against Audi, Porsche and Toyota from 2015.
“All the US winners of GT Academy have gone on to taste victory in major professional events around the world,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing and Sales, NISMO. “But we have also been blessed with some other amazing talents in every year of the competition – an embarrassment of riches really. Some of the guys who didn’t win have gone on to launch motorsport careers after using GT Academy as a kick start. We have our eye on some additional drivers that we would like to put through their paces again and see if we have somebody who could have what it takes to drive for Nissan in LM P1 at Le Mans.
“Once we identify the most suitable GT Academy alumni, we will put him through an extensive program with the aim of putting them in an LM P3 car. LM P2 would be the next step at 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,” Cox said.
“It is going to take more than just talent to get them into an LM P1 car, but the opportunity will be there if they are prepared to work for it. Getting experience in prototype machinery will be a critical component of the development process. We already have a number of past GT Academy winners from Europe who we are looking at for the LM P1 program – many of whom have already raced in LM P2.”