Le Mans: Satoshi Motoyama completes Nissan ZEOD RC lineup (VIDEO)

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Two years ago at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Satoshi Motoyama tried in vain to fix his broken Nissan DeltaWing, after it was shoved off the road by a Toyota LMP1 car.

In 2014, he’ll have a chance to complete that bit of unfinished business in Nissan’s newest Garage 56 entrant: the ZEOD RC electric prototype.

The veteran Japanese driver was confirmed alongside previously announced drivers Lucas Ordonez and Wolfgang Reip.

“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 in a release.

“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.”

Added Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO: “That ‘never say die’ attitude really him a cult figure and real favorite with the fans. He was extremely quick the last time he was in the car at Le Mans and we are thrilled to have him back.

“After what happened at Le Mans two years, I promised him we’d get him back to Le Mans – he fully deserves the opportunity.”

Motoyama and Ordonez will test extensively between now and June 1 but will miss the Le Mans test day due to an existing Super GT commitment. Brazilian Tommy Erdos fills in at the test day alongside Reip.

See the 2012 Motoyama video here and a video of his return below that.

MRTI: pre-season testing Day 2 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Day 2 of testing for the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires saw two series hit the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course for pre-season testing. The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda both got their turns on Saturday after the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires took to the 1.5-mile oval on Friday.

Both series got in two sessions apiece during the day. Below are quick reports for Pro Mazda and USF2000.

Pro Mazda: Thompson, Askew Lead Opening Sessions

A pair of USF2000 graduates led the two sessions for Pro Mazda. In Session 1, it was Parker Thompson and Exclusive Autosport leading the way, while Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew, last year’s USF2000 champion, led the way in Session 2. Times from both sessions are below.

Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, last year’s runnerup in the USF2000 championship, also put in a strong showing, ending up second in Session 2.

This was also the first official session for the brand new Tatuus PM-18, and it’s first official outing showed off quite a bit of speed. Lap times were reportedly upwards of four seconds a lap faster than the previous Elan Pro Mazda chassis.

USF2000: Pabst Racing, Cape Motosports Lead the Way

The teams that battled for last year’s USF2000 crown, Cape Motorsports and Pabst Racing, traded early blows during Saturday testing, with each team leading a session.

Pabst Racing’s Rasmus Lindh led the way in Session 1, with four Pabst cars in the top five, while Kyle Kirkwood led Session 2 for Cape. Times from both sessions are below.

However, it should be noted that DEForce Racing’s Kory Enders spent most of Session 2 at the top of the speed charts before getting pushed down to third late in the running. With the top three finishers from last year’s USF2000 championship all moving on to Pro Mazda (Askew, VeeKay, and Thompson), this USF2000 season could be anyone’s for the taking.

Of note, Keith Donegan, who signed with ArmsUp Motorsports after winning the $200K scholarship from Mazda Motorsports in November’s Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, was 16th in Session 1, but did not turn laps in Session 2.

Follow@KyleMLavigne