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Apr 10, 2014 - 05:55 PM
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Oulton Park Latest: Sir Chris Hoy Ready For British GT Debut At 'Favourite' Circuit This Easter
Posted by: newsla on Apr 10, 2014 - 07:24 AM
Sports Cars
Oulton Park Latest: Sir Chris Hoy Ready For British GT Debut At 'Favourite' Circuit This Easter


Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy embarks upon the next stage of his motorsport career at Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit this Easter weekend (19 & 21 April), racing in the high-profile Avon Tyres British GT Championship with Nissan.

 

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The 38-year-old Scotsman is a motorsport enthusiast and last year swapped his pursuit bike for a Le Mans-style sportscar in the Radical SR1 Cup, a new series for novice racers. Speaking to circuit owner MotorSport Vision at a recent trackday at Oulton Park, he said it has helped him prepare for his latest challenge. “I learnt a lot of things,” he admitted ”The car was designed and set up to be very friendly to novice drivers, so I learnt about the dynamics of the car, and just dealing with racing, trying to avoid incidents, and just having fun as well. It really brought it home to me how much I wanted to continue motorsport because I had a great time.

“I didn’t have any real plans at the start of the season, but I was quite surprised,” he continued. “I did better than expected, and by the end of the season I knew I wanted to continue but I didn’t know where or in what capacity. Then the opportunity to do the British GT Championship came along with Nissan, and I didn’t need asking twice!”

Sir Chris will be racing against 33 supercars in the British GT Championship, which is renowned for extremely close racing, as well as one of the most expensive grids in motorsport. He will be sat in his powerful Nissan GTR GT3 car for up to an hour at a time, much longer than he would have spent during a competitive session in the velodrome, so there are changes in his personal training regime. “I haven’t adapted anything consciously, and I’m still riding regularly, over 250 miles a week on the bike,” he admitted. “I’m just doing it to keep fit, but I think the race-specific fitness will come from just driving the car. A lot of the fatigue comes from being too tense, so I need to relax in the car and just become comfortable in the driver’s seat. Being able to focus and to block out distractions during a race helped me in my cycling and definitely helps me in my motorsport.”

One less distraction for Sir Chris will be having to learn the circuit layout and he admits that he couldn’t be starting at a better venue: “Oulton Park is the first place that I ever came to do trackdays, and I’ve been here more than any other circuit, so I’m starting to recognise all of its characteristics. I feel very at home here, and it’s very challenging, definitely one of my favourites.”

Whilst Le Mans is the ultimate target, Sir Chris has just one aim for the season ahead: “I want to justify the seat that I’ve been given, and do a good job because there are a lot of people out there that would love to be in my position. Alex (Buncombe, Hoy’s co-driver) is a top driver and he’s had a lot of success before, so I’ll do the best that I can and we’ll wait and see.”

Another advantage of Oulton Park for Sir Chris is its proximity to Manchester, the home of British Cycling, where he can expect a bit of support from his two-wheeled colleagues: “I’d like to see Jason Kenny along at least, he’s been racing with Radical and Ginetta, and my old coach Ian Dyer is also a big motorsport fan, he was here two weekends ago. It would be nice to get a bit of support, not that you really hear much when you’re in the car with your helmet on!”

Tickets for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park this Easter (19 & 21 April) are available from £18, with free entry for children aged 12 and under.

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