Marc Gene steps back from Nissan drive for 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours

Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Marc Gene has stepped down from Nissan's driver line-up for this year's edition of the World Endurance Championship blue riband

Marc Gene steps back from Nissan drive for 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours

The Spaniard, who won at Le Mans with Peugeot in 2009, was due to race the #23 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO together with Max Chilton and Jann Mardenborough, but he has opted to step back into an advisory role.

Gene said: "It was a tough decision for me to take a step back for Le Mans.

"I am so impressed with the efforts being made by the team, and even though I won't race at Le Mans, I will be there to help with my knowledge of the great race.

"Le Mans is going to be a huge challenge and I think that the best way for me to help the team is by taking on an advisory role.

"I am excited to see from the garage how the car will perform at Le Mans."

The decision means that Nissan has reshuffled its line-up.

Olivier Pla moves over from the #22 car to drive with Chilton and Mardenborough, while Alex Buncombe steps up from the Le Mans-only #21 car to join Michael Krumm and Harry Tincknell in #22.

Russian Mark Shulzhitskiy — like Mardenborough and Ordonenz, a winner of Nissan's GT Academy gamer-to-racer scheme — takes Buncombe's place in #21 alongside Tsugio Matsuda and Lucas Ordonez.

Nissan has yet to comment on whether Gene will return to the line-up for the remainder of the WEC season after Le Mans.

The Japanese manufacturer completed its final US test of the GT-R LM, which included the first run of the second chassis, with three days at the General Motors Bowling Green test facility in Kentucky with all nine drivers present.

Nissan LMP1 team principal and technical director Ben Bowlby said: "Obviously we would like to have more time, but we have had three good days of working through a long list of jobs.

"Our focus now moves to the re-preparation of these two cars and completing the build of the third."

Tincknell added that "every test so far has brought progress".

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