9 April 2014
Six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy reveals his ambition to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours as he embarks on his new career in motorsport.
Sir Chris Hoy says it has always been a childhood dream to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours as he embarks on a driver development journey that could see him racing in the endurance classic by 2016.
Great Britain's most decorated gold medal Olympian with six wins to his name, cycling legend Sir Hoy will swap to four wheels for 2014 after being named as part of Nissan GB's driver line-up for the 2014 British GT Championship.
A huge coup for the national series, Sir Hoy's acquisition has not only come about as part of his and Nissan ties to the British Olympic Association, but the manufacturer's revered 'Driver Development Programme', a scheme that has already seen 'armchair racers' become successful professional racers through its Gran Turismo-inspired GT Academy.
The aim is to hone Sir Hoy in a driver capable of challenging for podiums and race wins at national level before potentially progressing to the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours race, potentially in 2016.
Indeed, though the man himself admits it is a lofty goal, he is keen to make the most of his unique opportunity.
“It might sound ridiculous right now but my ambition in motorsport is to compete at Le Mans in the 24 hour race. Who knows if that's even remotely possible but that's my dream. I'm in the right place to do it.
“There are fantastic people here who have the right experience so if I can do what they tell me to do, listen to them and develop, then it may not be a ridiculous dream. At the moment though, I'm just thinking about British GT and we'll see how this season goes.
“For me the highlight of the season will just be to get onto the grid at Oulton Park. It's the first track I raced on about four or five years ago, so it's the one track that I am relatively familiar with. To actually be there in an amazing car in an amazing series, against some top drivers, will be a real highlight.
“What happens beyond that, I don't know. I'm a competitor, I want to win all the time no matter what I do, whether I'm racing bikes, racing cars,, playing Monopoly, I'm always trying to win. I'm realistic with my ambitions. I'm realistic about the fact that I'm very much a novice so I'm not expecting to win immediately but in every race I enter I'm trying to be the best that I can be and long term that will be to try to win.”
Though globally known as one of cycling's most successful competitors, Sir Hoy says he has harboured dreams of competing in Le Mans since he was a child.
“The first time I became aware of Le Mans was when I had a Scaltextric set when I was a wee boy. It had some Le Mans cars with lights that glowed obviously for racing through the night. I didn't know why some of the race cars had lights that came on and some didn't then my Dad explained it was for the Le Mans 24 Hours, as they race day and night for the whole 24 Hours.
“I remember thinking then that sounds pretty special but never dreamy I would get the opportunity to start a motor racing career. It's still a long way off but who knows!”
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