NISSAN’S inaugural GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez, received his best ever birthday present when he was selected to join the test team for the company’s revolutionary motorsport experiment, DeltaWing.
As the fourth season of the life-changing GT Academy competition began last week, the very first ‘virtual-to-reality’ racer received confirmation that he would play a key role in the challenging development of the prototype car.
The Nissan DeltaWing project aims to change the face of motorsport by completing the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16/17, using half the fuel and half the tyres of its contemporaries and hinting at a more efficient future for endurance racing.
Ordonez, who turned 27 recently, will join Nissan DeltaWing race driver Marino Franchitti at Magny-Cours in France and Motorland Aragon in Spain as the team behind the prototype continues its huge challenge to prepare the radical racer for its race debut.
The challenging development process of the Nissan DeltaWing – which will take to the grid on motorsport’s biggest stage just 101 days after first hitting the track – is being charted by a series of ‘behind-the-scenes’ online films.
Spaniard Ordonez won GT Academy, an innovative competition created by Nissan and Sony that seeks to discover raw driving talent via the Playstation gaming platform.
He was the first winner of GT Academy in 2008 and the first student of Nissan’s driver development programme, which saw him progress through the sportscar ranks and, in just three years, go from virtual racing to reality, lining up for his first Le Mans 24 Hours last summer.
Having taken a podium finish last year, Ordonez will race at La Sarthe again this summer, with the class-winning LMP2 prototype squad, Greaves Motorsport, alongside ex-F1 driver and Sky F1 commentator, Martin Brundle and his son, Alex.
But he said he was honoured to be playing an important part in Nissan’s pioneering Le Mans experiment.
He added: ‘It was very emotional to be asked by Nissan Europe to test such an important project. I am delighted that they believe in me to help with the work on this prototype car.’