The race came off the back of a successful test at the Sepang Circuit where Nobu completed an extensive programme with Eurasia Motorsport in the new Ligier JS P217 as part of his wider ambitions for the 2020 season.
Teaming up with James Littlejohn in the #8 Nielsen Racing Ligier LMP3, the Japanese racer looked set for his best result of the season as he ran in an impressive fifth position. A late race drive through penalty for a pitstop infringement however dropped him to ninth position at the chequered flag.
With the pace to finish with the sister Nielsen Racing entry, it was overall a positive weekend, especially given the lack of testing at the British venue, as Nobu continues his driver development programme.
James started the four-hour endurance event from 11th position, making a good start to gain four position. Just as the race was starting to settle down, the British weather took a change of heart and doused the circuit with rain. It was only a brief shower, but along with most of the LMP3 runners, James pitted for wet Michelins before swapping back to slicks as the circuit dried. Using fuel strategy well, he worked his way up to fourth before handing over to Nobu at the 55 lap, 100-minute mark.
Nobu was quickly up to speed and into a good rhythm in fifth position and lapping in the 2:01 range – his target as a bronze driver. It was a strong stint for Nobu as he put in a sequence of consistent laps, lapping on a similar pace to teammate Tony Wells in the other Nielsen Racing entry.
However, on his 80th lap the series organisers called Nobu in for a penalty as he was adjudged to have started the Nissan-powered car seconds before refuelling had been complete. Resuming in ninth, Nobu brought the car home safely to the chequered flag.
The next round of the European Le Mans Series takes place at Spa-Francorchamps on the weekend of 21-22 September.
“It was difficult at times and I thought I was struggling for pace, so now looking after the race itself, it is satisfying to see that I have made gains this year and I was close - and at times better than the pace of my Bronze rivals. As the stint progressed, I found I could take the sweeping corners (Maggots, Beckets) so much better which helped with the straight-line speed down the Hanger Straight. I got more and mileage and this improved my middle sector which hadn’t been so good before. In the end, I was comfortable in the car and it was good experience for me.”