Nissan Motorsports’ full driver squad for the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship is now complete. Former Formula 1 driver and experienced single-seater racer Max Chilton will race for the full season in the WEC, while long-time Nissan factory driver Alex Buncombe finalises the Le Mans-only #21 car’s driving team alongside Tsugio Matsuda and Michael Krumm. The news comes as the GT-R LM NISMO is set to make its first appearance in Europe at the Geneva Motor Show later this week.
Nissan Motorsport has succeeded in attracting yet another Formula 1 star to the LMP1 ranks with the signing of Brit Max Chilton for a full-season drive. Chilton’s addition means that a total of 10 drivers with Formula 1 experience will take to the grid in Silverstone in April. The young British driver had been left without a drive in the top class of single-seater racing in the wake of the turbulence over Marussia’s (and now Manor GP’s) Formula 1 entry. While failing to enjoy major success in two years at Marussia, Chilton did become the first ever driver to finish every race of his rookie season.
“I’m honoured to have been asked to join a manufacturer as prestigious as Nissan in a championship that is growing year on year,” Chilton said in a Nissan press release. “Le Mans has always had an amazing following and to be racing there as a works driver is a dream come true. My aim has always been to race at the highest level and the technology that has gone into the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is as impressive as a Formula 1 car.”
Alex Buncombe, meanwhile, will make the step up from Nissan’s plethora of GT and super touring programmes around the world to race in the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Buncombe has been a long-time factory driver at the Japanese marque, racing the GT-R NISMO GT3 in the Blancpain Series and the Nissan Altima in Australian V8 Supercars. He is also an experienced classics racer and has also functioned as a mentor in the UK to the conveyor belt of talent that is the Nissan GT Academy.
Chilton’s move to LMP1 comes just days after another recent Formula 1 star, Kevin Magnussen, announced that he had attempted to find a seat at Corvette Racing with his father, Jan, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso made no secret of his desire to join Porsche’s Le Mans effort in the off-season either, a move that was ultimately blocked by McLaren.