Pedal to the metal: cycling star Chris Hoy to race at Le Mans 2016 | CAR Magazine

Pedal to the metal: cycling star Chris Hoy to race at Le Mans 2016

Published: 31 March 2016

► Sir Chris Hoy to race at 24hrs of Le Mans 2016
► Will drive a Nissan-powered LMP2 prototype
► Selected rounds of European Le Mans series

The Le Mans 24 hours has seen actors, doctors, earls and wicket keepers race (and win) over the decades, but never a summer Olympics gold medallist. Until now. Cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy will race in the 2016 Le Mans 24 hours in the LMP2 prototype class, it has been confirmed today.

The six-time Olympic gold medal-winner will drive a Ligier-Nissan LMP2 car run by the Algarve Pro Racing team, at the opening two rounds of the European Le Mans series and at the 24 hours itself in June. The LMP2 class is one from the top in the Le Mans hierarchy, below the top LMP1 tier contested by Porsche, Audi, Toyota and co, and uses production-based (albeit extremely highly-tuned) engines in high-downforce prototype chassis. Hoy’s teammates will be Frenchman Andrea Pizzitola and fellow Brit Michael Munemann.

Sir Chris Hoy’s motor racing CV

Hoy retired from cycling in 2013 and began his racing career in the Radical SR1 Cup.

In 2014 Hoy began a racing programme with Nissan, a project linked with the company’s role as a Team GB Olympic sponsor, and contested the British GT championship in a Nissan GT-R GT3 car, scoring a podium finish at Spa.

For 2015 Hoy was placed in Ginetta’s factory LNT team in the LMP3 prototype championship, driving the British manufacturer’s lithe, Nissan-engined LMP3 car. The season went rather well – together with teammate Charlie Robertson, Hoy won the LMP3 driver’s championship.

GT Academy training programme

Hoy has been through a similar driver coaching and development programme to Nissan’s GT Academy scholarship winners, including extended simulator training. We’re guessing he probably doesn’t need all that much help on the fitness training front.

‘To get the news that I have the seat for Le Mans is amazing. I still can’t quite believe it,’ says Hoy. ‘In motorsports terms, it’s everything. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the pinnacle for me. It’s what I’ve been working for over the past three years.’

‘It’s exciting but there are a lot of steps to take between now and then so I’m trying to focus on the short-term. But the LM P2 car I’m going to race at Le Mans is the easiest and most intuitive car I’ve ever driven.’

The 2016 Le Mans 24 hours takes place on 18-19 June. Stay tuned for more news from LM 2016 from CAR over the coming months.  

By James Taylor

Former features editor for CAR, occasional racer