Three-time Japanese Super GT champion Satoshi Motoyama will join Nissan GT Academy winners Lucas Ordóñez and Wolfgang Reip on the driver line-up for the revolutionary electric Nissan ZEOD RC at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.
Motoyama will make his fourth Le Mans start aboard the Nissan racer which combines a 300 horsepower electric powertrain with a 400 horsepower/40 kilogram/1.5 liter turbocharged petrol engine.
Motoyama has ‘unfinished business’ at the Circuit de la Sarthe after last driving there in 2012. The four-time Formula Nippon champion drove for Nissan at Le Mans and became a fan favorite after putting in a valiant effort for an hour to repair his car after being pushed off track and into the wall. With drivers having to perform any repairs without any outside assistance if they get stuck on course, the Japanese star’s efforts became a YouTube sensation after his ‘never say die’ efforts were seen worldwide.
“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,” Motoyama said. “For me I have a bit of unfinished business at Le Mans. The accident two years ago was very unlucky, but most racing accidents are. Just to finish the race at Le Mans is very difficult and that is our main goal. I am really looking forward to the race.
“My teammates Wolfie and Lucas have a lot of miles with the car already and it has been great to work with them this week. I am hoping I can use my experience to help with the development process.”
Motoyama was previously involved in the development process of the Nissan NISMO LEAF RC, Nissan’s first foray into the electrification of the racing car.
Entering this year’s race in “Garage 56”, the Nissan ZEOD RC will take the additional grid slot reserved by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for cars showcasing new and innovative technology. Nissan is using the ZEOD RC program as a development platform for its planned LM P1 class debut in 2015.