Harry Tincknell Q&A: This is going to be really different!

Harry Tincknell is one of the latest drivers to arrive in the top class of the World Endurance Championship. He will be making his LMP1 debut in April for Nissan in their GT-R LM at the 6 Hours of Silverstone. We caught up with him in this exclusive interview ahead of his first full season in the WEC.
Harry Tincknell in the Nissan. Pre Season Testing 2015WM: Both Nissan and yourself are new to the LMP1 category for this season but have experience in LMP2.  Is there much that can be carried over from your combined experience in LMP2 and what are the differences between the cars?

HT: Nissan have an exceptionally strong engine program in LMP2 and their bespoke LMP1 engine is certainly very strong. A lot of the team have worked at the top level so it is a very professional outfit. Personally I’ll obviously take all of the skills I learnt in LMP2 last year such as traffic management, fuel saving, being a team player and endurance racing strategy to LMP1. There’s a lot I can bring but also a lot for me to learn.
WM: You have competed in several single seater categories previous to your switch to sportscars. What is it that you find so appealing about the endurance racing scene at the moment?
HT: There is obviously a lot of opportunity in Sports Cars to be a professional driver with many of the World’s biggest manufacturers involved. I personally love the team aspect that you have in endurance racing. Obviously this involves working hard together with your team mates and the team to go as fast as you can but also the car has to run for 24 hours and has over 30 pit stops, so every team member is involved a lot more than when I was in F3, which means the team spirit is excellent and when you win there is even more of a sense of achievement.

WM: What was your initial reaction when you got the call from Nissan about the LMP1 project?
HT: I was obviously delighted to be offered an LMP1 drive after only one year in sportscars. I’ll be the youngest in LMP1 this year and actually for quite a while so at 23 it is huge for my career. I was hopeful this sort of opportunity would come after such a fantastic season in LMP2, so I am looking forward to repaying the faith showed in me.

WM: As the GT-R LM has a front mounted engine, the driving position is much further back than in existing LMP1 cars. How does this, if at all, affect your visibility when behind the wheel?
HT: The vision is fine even though you are further back. Having a roof over my head for the first time effects the vision a bit, but you get used to it quickly so it is not a problem.

Tincknell in GT-R LM 2015 TestingWM: What was your first reaction when you heard the GT-R LM was going to be front engined and front wheel drive?
HT: This is going to be really different! I was excited to be part of such an innovative project and I couldn’t wait to drive it as I have never driven a car like this before.

WM: What are your personal goals for the up-coming season?
HT: I want to give great feedback to the team in the development stage to help them improve it during the early stages. I want to be matching the most experienced guys at Nissan like Gene and Pla in terms of pace and do a professional job during the races, fast but no mistakes.

WM: The WEC covers the globe. Which circuit are you most looking forward to racing on this year?
HT: Obviously Le Mans is a fantastic event and I can’t wait to back there after winning last year. Silverstone is my home circuit and one that I have been very strong at in the past so I’m looking forward to that too. Of the circuits I haven’t been to, I can’t wait for Nissan’s home race in Fuji. The atmosphere will be incredible and the circuit should suit our car.

WM: One of the major talking points around the WEC recently has been regarding the long summer break in the series. From the driver’s perspective, would you rather have the long break or get back in the car sooner after Le Mans?
HT: I would rather the calendar be consistent throughout the year so 2/3 weeks in between each race rather than a big break then lots of races but I will just prepare accordingly. The teams need some time to sleep and recuperate after Le Mans!

WM: Nissan has a very rich motor racing history. If you could choose to experience one of the manufactures cars from years gone by from any category, which one would you choose around which circuit?
HT: The Nissan R90C round Le Mans. It set the pole position round Le Mans in 1990 and was a beast of a car with huge horsepower. It was clearly very fast and it finished 3rd at Le Mans, Nissan’s best result. Let’s hope we can go 2 better in the GTR-LM!
LMP1 Images – Harry Tincknell Racing
Jota/Group C Images – Walter Schruff