Lucas Ordonez named first Nissan ZEOD RC driver

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Nissan’s electric-powered prototype, the ZEOD RC, will compete at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as the Garage 56 entrant. Unsurprisingly, veteran Nissan driver Lucas Ordóñez has been named the car’s first driver.

Ordóñez won the inaugural Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition in 2008 and made his Le Mans 24 Hours debut in 2011. In three attempts at the famous French enduro he has twice finished on the LM P2 podium. He also took championship wins in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in LM P2 in 2011 and last year’s Blancpain Endurance Series.

Most recently he took a class victory along with four new GT Academy graduates at the Dubai 24 Hours. Ordóñez was previously confirmed as the test driver for the ZEOD RC project but has now been promoted into a race seat.

The car was announced at this year’s Le Mans, and has already enjoyed its on-track debut at Fuji last October. Nissan is using the information and research gained from the experimental entry as part of its future step up to LMP1 in 2015.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”