Britain’s greatest Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, took second place at the daunting Spa-Francorchamps circuit in only his eighth British GT race. Sharing his RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 with 2012 GT Academy Europe winner Wolfgang Reip, Hoy made up for the embarrassment of stuffing a road-going GT-R into the bales at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a couple of weeks ago.
“I was blown away by the circuit,” said Hoy of his visit to Spa. “Seeing Eau Rouge is a bit like seeing velodrome banking for the first time. It’s a lot steeper than it looks on TV. The fist time you drive towards Eau Rouge with your foot flat to the floor is a real eye-opener.”
Hoy and Reip finished the first race of the day in 14th place, the rookie crew putting on an impressive display in tricky damp conditions. Reip started the second race from third, having put made a sterling effort in qualifying. Reip passed Alexander Sims’ Ecurie Ecosse BMW for the lead and the two cars ran nose-to-tail until the driver changes.
Hoy came out of the pits in lead and held onto it after a safety car period. The race was later neutralised again, with the green flags going out four laps from the end. Marco Attard, sharing with Sims, took the lead, but Hoy pulled out a useful buffer to third to take second at the flag.
Hoy only started racing last year in the Radical SR1 Cup after retiring from cycling. He took a big step up to British GT this year, with the aim of racing at Le Mans in 2016.
“Chris showed us all how to go from zero to hero today,” said Darren Cox, NISMO Head of Brand. “After his slip up at Goodwood – which happened at a corner that has caught out vastly experienced drivers before – the doubters got all excited, but he has proved everyone wrong today. He still has a long way to go but to show up at Spa for the first time and perform like that is exactly what we expect from our drivers.”
The British GT Championship resumes after the summer break at Brands Hatch on 31 August.
Visit the British GT Championship website here
British GT Spa top 5 finishers
- #79 Marco Attard/Alexander Sims — Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 — 19 laps
- #80 Chris Hoy/Wolfgang Reip — GT Academy Team RJN Nissan GT-R — +3.519s
- #18 Gary Eastwoord/Adam Carroll — AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia — +6.827s
- #12 Jody Firth/Warren Hughes — Trackspeed Porsche 911 — +7.103s
- #88 Lee Mowle/Joe Osborne — Triple 8 BMW Z4 — +9.192s