Max Chilton is going through what he describes as a "very weird year" in his career.
After two full seasons with the Marussia F1 (now Manor) team, Max Chilton has shifted his focus. He's ran most of the Indy Lights races in 2015, scoring two podiums and now prepares to make his Le Mans debut with the Nissan LMP1 factory effort.
I still hope to be in Formula 1 one day, but i want to be in a car where I can show what I can do.
"I'm lucky to have already done the Monaco GP and this is one I've always wanted to do," Chilton told Motorsport.com. "I'm really lucky to be part of an LMP1 works team straight out of F1.
Racing at night at Le Mans - Formula 1 doesn't compare
Chilton will have an uphill battle, starting from the rear of the LMP2 field due to Nissan's failure to get their fleet within 110% of the pole-sitting Porsche's time. This race weekend will be a lot of 'firsts' for the English driver, but racing in the dark is not one of them. However, going down the Mulsanne Straight in the dead of the night is quite a different challenge than Bahrain or Singapore in a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
"Every night race I've done, it's so lit up that it's pretty much daylight and you can still run with a dark visor on. Here, if you hadn't got any other cars around you, there's no light apart from your own headlights. There's a hell of a lot to get used to. The night practice is crucial," he concluded.
Chilton believes in the Nissan GT-R LM
As for his thoughts on the innovative Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, Chilton understands how much of an undertaking it really is. "It's really a project. We are stretching the boundaries of motorsport design. There's lots of doubters out there but I believe in it. I think this year is going to be hard because we are trying to attempt new something which is difficult to do. I actually think that in the long run, it can work. Next year, we'll show more speed but the main thing for us this year is to show that the concept has its highlights and that we can finish.
An unpredictable season
"It's been a very weird year for me," the 24-year-old stated. "I usually know a year prior what I'm going to do. This year, I didn't have a clue. In America, I helped with Carlin's move (to Indy Lights). It's nice to be racing in a single-seater again. I haven't made my mind up on where I want to go in the future but I really like what I've seen here. It's great to be part of Nissan."
Chilton commented to Motorsport.com that he believes Lights fit somewhere between GP3 and GP2, but added that they need a field of 30, not 12.
Looking back on what remains of his old Formula 1 team, Chilton expressed his joy that they were able to keep the operation from going completely under. "It's good to see they kept going. I know how much work has gone into the team over the past five years. I know they're fighting.
"I'm very happy I didn't join because this is where i really need to be though. Obviously, I still hope to be in Formula 1 one day, but i want to be in a car where I can show what I can do."