CHRIS Hoy is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Scottish sporting greats Ron Flockhart and Johnny Dumfries by racing at Le Mans.
Scotland’s greatest Olympian, who honed his cycling skills at Meadowbank, has announced plans to compete in motor racing’s British GT Championship – seen as a major step towards to fulfilling his dream of taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours event.
The move comes after the 11-time world and six-time Olympic cycling champion agreed a deal with Nissan, a year after he retired from his illustrious track cycling career.
Sir Chris, who only made his car racing debut last year, said: “It’s a big challenge but I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait to get stuck in.”
“It’s quite intimidating but I want to do my best and do these guys justice.
“It might sound ridiculous right now but my ambition in motorsport is to compete at Le Mans.
“Who knows if it’s even remotely possible but that’s my dream. I’m in the right place to do it.”
Nissan, the official automotive partner of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Paralympic Associations (BPA), recently signed Sir Chris as a brand ambassador for the Road to Rio 2016.
The car manufacturer will guide him through its advanced driver development programme in a bid to fast-track him into top-level motorsport.
Sir Chris, who has already shown potential in a number of club races, will compete in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car during this year’s British GT Championship.
The ultimate goal of the programme will be to get him competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours – the world’s most famous endurance race.
Sir Chris said: “This won’t be easy, but I could not turn down the chance to give it a go. My ultimate ambition is to race at Le Mans. That is the dream, but I’m taking this one step at a time.”
Nissan GB marketing director Guillaume Masurel said: “Sir Chris has already shown that he is a very capable driver and by combining our expertise in driver development, a great car and an experienced team with his natural ability, drive and determination, this will be a fascinating journey.”
Nismo driver Alex Buncombe, who has helped all of the GT Academy graduates, will partner Sir Chris in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 for most of the season’s seven race weekends.
The 2014 British GT Championship gets under way during Easter weekend at Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit.
“This makes perfect sense to us,” said Nissan’s director of global motorsport, Darren Cox.
“The Le Mans 24 Hours is the Olympics of motorsport so who better to take on an epic challenge such as this.”
Stars with a track record
SIR Chris would be in good company should he ever achieve his dream of competing in the world’s most famous endurance race.
Edinburgh-born Ron Flockhart, above, took part in 14 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, achieving one podium finish and won Le Mans twice. Johnny Dumfries, below left, the Earl of Dumfries, won the British Formula Three Championship in 1984 and Le Mans in 1988.
Graham Hill, right, was the only man to win the “triple crown” of F1 Champi-onship, Le Mans and Indy 500.
Allan McNish, from Dumfries, is a three-time winner of Le Mans.