FIRST MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AT LE MANS
Nissan’s 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours campaign began in earnest today with the official test day, which saw 15 cars running with Nissan power at La Sarthe: 14 LMP2 cars and of course the Nissan DeltaWing. All of the drivers completed the mandatory 10 laps to qualify them to take part in the 2012 event.
The test marked the return of Martin Brundle to Le Mans, competing for the Greaves Motorsport team alongside his son Alex who is racing in his first Le Mans and Nissan’s first GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez. The second winner of GT Academy, Jordan Tresson, also took to the incredible Le Mans track for the first time today in the Signatech Nissan LMP2 car.
Martin Brundle has come back to Le Mans so he can share the experience of the world’s greatest race with his son, Alex. Taking to the track today has brought back many memories for the winner of the 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours.
“I had to pinch myself in the driver’s briefing to believe that I was really here,” said Martin. “It is a rare privilege to race at Le Mans again; something I didn’t think would happen in my lifetime. We have had a good day today and it is a case of mission accomplished for us. I didn’t manage to get a single clear lap, which has never happened to me before, but we have finished the day with a nicely balanced car. It is a good starting point for our race week so it will be good to pick it up again when we come back. I was a little worried at lunchtime but we had a great afternoon and we leave Le Mans tonight very happy with the position we are in.”
Once Martin and Alex had completed their qualifying laps this morning it was the turn of Lucas Ordonez. The Spaniard finished in second place in LMP2 last year and is gunning to go one place higher this year.
“The car was a bit tricky at the rear to start with but we spent the rest of the day working through set up changes and we have found a good balance now,” said Lucas. “The car feels amazing through the Porsche Curves so that is a lot of fun every lap. I think we are in a good position with the car for next week. I felt a little rusty this morning but today has blown away the cobwebs and I’m ready for Le Mans!”
After the successful Le Mans debut of Lucas Ordonez in 2011, Jordan Tresson becomes the second GT Academy winner to be promoted through the ranks to the Le Mans 24 Hours. With Jordan in the Signatech Nissan and Lucas in the Greaves Nissan, this is the first time that two GT Academy winners will compete against each other in a world-class event.
“Today has been amazing for me,” said Jordan. “I first came here two years ago as a spectator, then last year I was here working as an engineer. To be here as a driver though is something else, especially taking an LMP2 car through the Porsche Curves at full racing speed. I have been practicing day and night on my PlayStation and I must say that GT5 is very accurate. We did a lot of hard work today and we feel like we are used to the track now.”
The track action will resume in just 10 days time when the teams take to the track for the first practice session for the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours where a quarter of the grid will be powered by Nissan.
Nissan's engineering excellence has resulted in more than half - 13 out of 20 - LMP2 class cars in this year's Le Mans 24 Hours choosing Nissan engines. At Nissan's two partner LMP2 teams, yet more of the Company's innovation in motorsport is in evidence, with two drivers from its unique GT Academy initiative aiming for a class win. At Greaves Motorsport, inaugural GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez, will be looking to go one better than the second place he scored on his Le Mans debut in 2011, as he shares his car with ex-F1 driver, Martin Brundle and his son, Alex. Meanwhile, at Signatech Nissan, second GTA winner, Jordan Tresson makes his Le Mans debut this year alongside Olivier Lombard and Franck Mailleux. To follow their progress, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/nissanineurope for videos, http://newsroom.nissan-europe.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/NissanSportsCars for news and follow @Nissan_OnTrack on Twitter.