Olympic cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy has begun the latest chapter in his sporting career by taking part in the British GT season-opening race at Oulton Park.
It was announced earlier this month that the multi gold medal winning athlete would be swapping two wheels for four and he has now provided a signal of intent for his future in rally driving.
Behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, Sir Chris took part in qualifying for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and performed admirably, taking a hugely credible 14th place on the grid of over 30 cars.
The 38-year-old made an equally impressive start to the race, taking the car up to 11th by the end of the first lap. After keeping the chasing Ferraris at bay, Sir Chris eventually pitted in ninth place to hand the car over to Alex Buncombe.
With the safety car effectively cutting the race in two, Buncombe was forced to settle with a final ninth place finish at the chequered flag.
Afterwards, Sir Chris said his first competitive outing was “brilliant fun” including a number of exciting moments. He noted in particular a moment when he got a nudge on his car and was forced onto the grass.
“My rear view mirror was full of Ferrari for most of my run but I just focused on what I was doing and made sure I did the simple things correctly. It’s a beautiful sunny day here, there’s a great crowd and I feel like I’m a racing driver!” he continued.
In the second race of the day, Buncombe began in the driving seat but couldn’t manage to get past 13th place. By the time Sir Chris took the wheel, the team were back into 16th position following the change over.
However, after the Safety Car pitted, the rookie driver went on the offensive and overtook three cars to regain the 13th position before he crossed the finish line.
Buncombe noted how pleased they were with the weekend’s event and ensured that Sir Chris got the praise he richly deserved.
“This isn’t a track that suits the GT-R but we got the best out of it and we’ll have our turn in future races. I was really pleased with the job Chris did today. He did even better than I expected so I’m really chuffed with his performance,” he said.
After an exciting and eventful first outing, how did the former Olympian react to his new chosen sporting event?
“I’ve had an absolutely brilliant weekend,” he enthused. “It’s a privilege to be here. I really enjoyed it and now I can’t wait for Rockingham. Those two races have just confirmed how much I enjoy this. I’ve definitely got the bug!”
The goal for Sir Chris is to take part in the 24 Hours Le Mans event later this year and on the basis of this debut performance, he is certainly on the right track!
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