Satoshi Motoyama completes Nissan ZEOD RC line-up for Le Mans
|By Gary Watkins||Wednesday, April 16th 2014, 07:20 GMT|
Three-time Super GT champion Satoshi Motoyama has completed the driver line-up for the radical Nissan ZEOD RC Le Mans 24 Hours racer.
Motoyama will join GT Academy graduates Lucas Ordonez and Wolfgang Reip at the wheel of petrol-electric ZEOD, which fills the 'Garage 56' grid spot reserved for experimental machinery.
The Japanese driver's previous Le Mans start came at the wheel of Nissan's lightweight DeltaWing, which also raced under the 'Garage 56' rules, in 2012.
Motoyama's race was cut short when he was pushed into the wall by compatriot Kazuki Nakajima's Toyota and was unable to get the car back to the pits, despite trying to effect trackside repairs.
"This is the world first with Nissan using electric power in this way at Le Mans and I am very happy to be a part of it," he said.
"For me I have a bit of unfinished business at Le Mans. The accident two years ago was very unlucky."
Nissan global motorsport boss Darren Cox said: "After the effort Satoshi put in two years ago to try to get the car back on track, having him for the ZEOD programme was a easy choice.
"That never-say-die attitude made him a cult figure and real favorite with the fans. He was extremely quick the last time he was in the car at Le Mans and we are thrilled to have him back."
Motoyama got his first taste of the ZEOD this week during a four-day test at Paul Ricard that finishes today.
The car ran in petrol-electric configuration on a race track for the first time over the course of the test.
Motoyama and Ordonez will not be able to take part in the Le Mans test day on June 1 because they will be racing for Nissan in Super GT at Autopolis.
Tommy Erdos, who has links with ZEOD technical partner RML stretching back to 2003 and is a two-time LMP2 class winner at Le Mans, will fill in alongside Reip at the test.