One Nissan veteran and one former Formula 1 driver have rounded out the lineup for the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year.
Max Chilton will join Nissan for the full season with Alex Buncombe in the lineup at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the team’s third car.
Buncombe is a Nissan regular, having worked his way up through the manufacturer’s GT program and mentoring Nissan GT Academy drivers on their way up. Some of his on-board passing videos have garnered huge numbers of hits on YouTube.
Chilton, meanwhile, is a surprise choice. The Englishman had appeared to focus on North American racing with an extensive Indy Lights testing program with Carlin Racing this winter, although he was never confirmed to the team’s second seat alongside the previously confirmed Ed Jones.
MotorSportsTalk has learned Jenson Button had been close to a Nissan deal had his McLaren Honda deal not been signed, and a Swiss report a couple weeks ago linked Adrian Sutil to the seat, as well. Chilton, by all accounts, has not been publicly in the frame until now.
Chilton’s signing means two seats he could have been in the frame for – the aforementioned Carlin Indy Lights seat and the second seat at Manor Marussia F1 – remain vacant.
Chilton joins Marc Gene, Michael Krumm, Jann Mardenborough, Olivier Pla and Harry Tincknell for the season-opening race at Silverstone on April 12. The configuration of the driver line-ups for the No. 22 and No. 23 Nissans will be announced at a later date.
Buncombe will join the team at Le Mans, where he will race in the No. 21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO with Tsugio Matsuda and Lucas Ordonez.
LMP1 testing continues this week at Sebring International Raceway with Chilton, Gene, Pla, Mardenborough, and Tincknell on driving duty.