TINCKNELL DELIGHTED TO BEGIN NISSAN NISMO PROGRAMME WITH LE MANS 24 HOUR RACE FINISH
Harry eagerly looking forward to remainder of 2015 after clocking up vital race mileage in toughest race of the year
Harry Tincknell is eagerly looking forward to the remaining FIA World Endurance Championship races after posting a highly encouraging finish in the toughest and longest race of the season today (14 June).
The 23-year-old Briton, along with Michael Krumm (D) and Alex Buncombe (GB), was the 12th placed LM P1 car to take the chequered flag on the race debut of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO in the 83rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours in France which ended at 3pm today (local). Due to the number of laps completed, Harry’s Nissan was not classified in the final results but the specific placing was of secondary interest to Tincknell and the team.
The radical front-engined, front-wheel-drive Nissan is at a very early stage of its development. Having first hit the track last November, the GT-R LM NISMO only made its public debut at the official Le Mans Test Day two weeks before the legendary twice-around-the-clock race around the high-speed 8.47-mile track.
By clocking up over 2,000-miles in the No22 Nissan, plus almost a further 3,000-miles by the other two Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs, vital race data to aid the development of the car was achieved over the past two days. This information can now be put to good effect for the remaining four WEC races this year that begins with the Six Hours of Nürburgring in August and continues in North America, Japan, China and Bahrain.
Harry, in only his second year of racing sportscars and having won the LM P2 category in the corresponding Le Mans race last year, took the start of the legendary race – like in 2014. But despite Tincknell creditably setting the 12th fastest qualifying time, rules dictated a 30th place start position after failing to meet the regulated 110 per cent qualifying minimum although Harry had forced his way inside the top-20 with less than 30mins gone.
Tincknell swept his way into 12th with almost two hours gone and finished his impressive opening stint placed 16th 30mins later. Harry’s team-mates kept the Nissan hovering around the top-20 and he was back behind the wheel at 10.30pm on Saturday evening.
Shortly after midnight Harry was unfortunate to run over debris on the unlit track which caused substantial damage requiring a lengthy pit-stop for repairs. A transmission issue cost the Nissan further time in the pits but it proudly raced across the finishing line at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
While Tincknell’s next race in the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is on 30 August, Harry will next be in action on 12 July racing for JOTA Sport in the third round of the European Le Mans Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria having posted second and third places in the opening two ELMS races.
“To bring the Nissan home to the finish of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the GT-R LM NISMO’s debut race and my maiden race for the ‘factory’ Nissan team, is beyond my wildest dreams and is an incredible achievement and bodes well for the rest of the WEC season.
“The radical Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is still at a very early stage of its development having only begun testing late November so the biggest and most important goal for the team was to learn about the car in a race environment including practice and qualifying and then in the actual 24 hour race itself. My team-mates and I have clocked up many miles in testing this year and to actually get to race the GT-R LM NISMO in what is the world’s greatest motor race was an amazing experience.
“I was doing around 200mph and hit something in total darkness just past midnight – it could have been a tyre carcass. The bonnet instantly flew off, I ran off the road, had a punctured tyre and was stuck in fourth gear. I somehow managed to get the Nissan back to the pits and then the team did an amazing job to repair it – the floor and steering were also damaged.
“During the morning we experienced some transmission issues. Problems like this will always happen, it’s normal for a new car, and considering we were racing in the world’s toughest sportscar race, it was no great surprise. It has been great joining the Nissan NISMO LM P1 programme from almost the very start of its LM P1 project. I can’t wait for the next WEC race at the Nürburgring.”