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.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.