BRITAIN’S most successful Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy has once again been crowned a champion after swapping his bike for a car.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist who switched his two wheels for four after a career change to motor sport when he retired from cycling in 2013, has won a prestigious 2015 European Le Mans Series title.
Sir Chris, 39, is now closer to achieving his dream of competing in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours next year.
He was honoured along with teammate and fellow Scot Charlie Robertson, 18, at the world famous Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France on Sunday.
Edinburgh-born Hoy, said he was “stunned” by the result in the LM P3 (Le Mans Prototype 3), a new category which is the first rung on the ladder towards the ultimate Le Mans 24 Hours. Sir Chris is an ambassador for Nissan and the pair took turns at driving a Ginetta-Nissan LM P3.
Speaking after the race, Sir Chris said: “I’m delighted. The last closing stages were very nervous because we were just trying to stay on the track and off the kerbs.
“We had some damage to the front part of the bodywork so it was just about nursing the car home. Charlie finished off in the last 20 minutes. It was an awesome result.”
Sir Chris’s wife Sarra shared a picture on Twitter of the couple’s 10-month-old son Callum, who was born 11 weeks premature, watching his father on television as he took to the podium.
She captioned it: “Here’s our wee boy, watching his daddy intently.”
Earlier she tweeted: “Big well done to my favourite boy Chris Hoy, who just won the European Le Mans championship.” Before the race, Sir Chris responded to his wife’s tweet, saying: “Love this!”
Other Twitter users were quick to join in. Andy Ames commented: “As normal for a Hoy - you only ever see the back of a Hoy head because they go like the wind!”
Sir Chris has said in the past that his love of motor racing started in his late teens when he used to watch Colin McRae rallying on television.
Describing McRae, the British and World Rally Champion, who died in a helicopter crash in 2007, he said: “McRae’s style was pretty engaging; he was just an awesome driver to watch.”
Gary Watkins, the “Voice of Sports Car Racing in the UK”, said: “This is a genuine step on the road to Hoy fulfilling his ambition to race at Le Mans 24 Hours next year.
“He’s clearly progressing but what we don’t know is how competitive he will be.
“Don’t forget, he’s not a young kid coming from a karting background.
“He’s a mature gentleman going in for a career change and doesn’t have those years of competitive karting.”