Nissan reveals Pla, Tincknell and Matsuda for GT-R LMP1 squad

Three more drivers named to pilot radical front-engined, front-wheel-drive Le Mans racer.

Nissan reveals Pla, Tincknell and Matsuda for GT-R LMP1 squad
Podium: race winner Harry Tincknell
The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO
Olivier Pla
The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO
Tsugio Matsuda
The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO

Nissan has revealed three new names for its GT-R LMP1 NISMO line-up in the shape of Olivier Pla, Harry Tincknell and Tsugio Matsuda.

Pla and Tincknell will be regulars in the World Endurance Championship, with Matsuda joining the team for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Pla rewarded for strong performances

Frenchman Pla has become one of the superstars of the LMP2 category, racing for the OAK and G-Drive squads. The former GP2 racewinner switched to sportscars in 2008.

“Le Mans means a lot for a driver,” said Pla, 33. “I’ve spent the last three years racing in LMP2 with the Nissan engine, and for me it’s the best way to go to LMP1, to get the experience of endurance racing.

“To be part of the Nissan LMP1 team obviously is a great feeling, Nissan is coming back to Le Mans with a strong mission and I’m very pleased. They wanted to be more radical and to bring a different car, and they think that with this car they can win Le Mans. It’s a very sophisticated car, so there’s a lot of technology in the car.

“It looks amazing, very different from the other cars. I think it looks great.”

Tincknell steps up after just one year

Twenty-three-year-old Briton Tincknell was a star in LMP2 last year with the JOTA squad’s Nissan-powered Zytek, playing a huge part in its Le Mans 24 Hours class success, in his first year in sportscars.

“It’s great that Nissan is back for the first time for a decade or so,” said Tincknell, who is a protégé of multiple overall Le Mans winner Allan McNish. “To be part of that family, this is what I’ve dreamt about since I was karting. The fact I’ve got this opportunity is amazing.

“To be able to move up into the top class after just one year in sportscars is pretty incredible. I was up on the podium in front of 100,000 people at Le Mans in my class, and I’d like to do it again.

“For sure it’s going to be difficult at the start, coming in with a new car and a different approach. We’re not going down this route if we didn’t think it was going to work. The spectators will be able to spot a Nissan from quite a way out on the Mulsanne straight!”

Domestic Japanese star Matsuda joins international line-up

Matsuda, 35, is the 2014 Super GT champion and is a two-time Super Formula champion too.

“When I saw Nissan team on the Le Mans podium in 1998 with the prototype car, I wanted to race and win there,” said Matsuda. “To me Le Mans is as special as Formula One, and to win there then became a goal of my career. I haven’t seen the actual car yet but I was surprised by its innovative design.”

shares
comments
FIA WEC full season entries announced in Paris

Previous article

FIA WEC full season entries announced in Paris

Next article

Porsche 919 Hybrid in Le Mans and the WEC – the debutant’s evolution

Porsche 919 Hybrid in Le Mans and the WEC – the debutant’s evolution
Load comments
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness.

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Prime

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Prime

How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no factory-run Aston Martins in the GTE Pro class. That's especially notable because as a works entity, the Prodrive era of Aston Martin Racing that began in 2005 has been a success from the very start.

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Prime

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021