Nissan has completed its nine driver line up for its radical LMP1 project with the acquisition of former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton and Alex Buncombe.
Chilton joins the Japanese manufacturer after two seasons in F1 with Marussia, while Buncombe has been promoted from his role in the marque’s GT set up to pilot a third GT-R LM Nismo at the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours classic.
Having spent the majority of his career in open wheel racing, the opportunity to join Nissan’s new LMP1 project represents a change in career direction for the 23-year-old driver.
The Brit will join the already confirmed Marc Gene, Michael Krumm, Jann Mardenborough, Olivier Pla and Harry Tincknell as Nissan’s drivers for its two car assault on the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“Le Mans has always had an amazing following and to be racing there as a works driver is a dream come true,” said Chilton.
“My aim has always been to race at the highest level and the technology that has gone into the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is as impressive as a Formula 1 car.
“Having met with the team and seen first-hand the dedication and desire to win that exists within this project I can’t wait to get on track.”
Meanwhile, factory GT driver Buncombe will join fellow Nissan GT star Lucas Ordonnez and reigning Super GT champion Tsugio Matsuda in team’s third Le Mans entry.
The Englishman will dovetail his Le Mans commitments alongside a Blancpain Endurance Series tilt behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R which he will share with Bathurst 12 Hour winners Wolfagang Reip and Katsumasa Chiyo.
“I was shocked when I got the call and I haven’t been able to wipe the grin off my face ever since,” said Buncombe.
“It’s very rewarding being the mentor of the GT Academy winners, especially when I see how much the likes of Lucas (Ordonez) and Jann (Mardenborough) have gone on to achieve.
“Now I’m going to race at Le Mans with them in the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo. I already know a fair amount about the car and I can’t wait to have a go.
“It’s a radical design and, as with all new cars it will take some developing and fine-tuning, but it’s incredibly exciting and I’m so happy to be on the team.”
Nissan is yet to confirm the exact driver pairings for its #22 and #23 FIA WEC entries.
The GT-R LM Nismo will continue its testing program at America’s Sebring International Raceway this week.
VIDEO: Alex Buncombe and Max Chilton discuss joining Nissan’s LMP1 project