NISMO driver and triple Super GT champion, Motoyama, will join Briton Marino Franchitti and German Michael Krumm, who won the 2003 JGTC (formerly SUPER GT) title with Motoyama.
The Nissan DeltaWing is an experimental project that aims to change the face of endurance racing by attempting to complete the famous French round-the-clock race using half the fuel and half the tyres.
Motoyama got his first taste of the innovative Nissan DeltaWing car at Snetterton circuit in Norfolk, UK, yesterday and will now work with the rest of the team as it continues its challenging journey to Le Mans on June 16/17.
Motoyama said: ‘I am very excited about joining the Nissan DeltaWing project for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours and would like to thank Nissan, NISMO and the other DeltaWing partners for giving me this great opportunity.
‘For me, it will be the first Le Mans 24 Hours since 1999, but I am fully ready to race at La Sarthe this year.
‘Nissan DeltaWing is very innovative and beyond any racing technical regulations; we will run in the discretionary “Garage 56” class at Le Mans, where no classification will be given.
‘But there will be no disappointment and compromise, since our aim for this project is to prove this innovative racing technology and demonstrate the future of motorsports. It will be a truly challenging and exciting experience for me and the team.’
The experimental nature of the Nissan DeltaWing project presents an enormous challenge to the engineering team.
A group of key partners, comprising designer Ben Bowlby, American motorsport entrepreneur Don Panoz, Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers organisation and Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft Racing team, created the fascinating DeltaWing prototype.
It is now down to the full Nissan DeltaWing team to attempt to take the car through the world’s most gruelling 24-hour race, using Nissan’s specially-developed 1.6-litre DIG-T engine, just 101 days after the car hit the race track for the very first time.
Darren Cox, General Manager, Nissan in Europe, said: ‘I am proud to welcome Motoyama-san to our team.
‘The addition of Motoyama-san continues to show the international nature of this project – the prototype was developed in the USA; Nissan’s lead engineer is a Brazilian; testing and development work has taken place in the UK, with French, German and Scottish drivers doing the initial testing; the equally innovative tyres will come from France and now we have a top Japanese driver and extended support from NISMO in Japan.’