Yokohama, Japan based automaker Nissan has an incredible heritage in road racing in general, but especially in IMSA endurance racing with the mighty GTP ZX-Turbo and later Nissan NPT-90. The one win that eluded Nissan however was the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In recent years, the company has placed its efforts behind the unfortunate looking Delta Wing, which has proven to be unsuccessful pretty much everywhere, including the French Spring classic.
During their Super Bowl ad spot, Nissan revealed their next Le Mans challenger and it is once again unusual, in several ways. Like the Delta Wing, the GT-R LM is an unusual looking beast that has drawn its share of boo-urns, although this guy thinks it looks evil.
Where things get really strange is under the skin, where a twin turbo V6 will send a whopping 1,250 horsepower to the front wheels. The car will also feature a kinetic energy recovery system similar to what Formula 1 cars use these days.
Nissan press release
YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan today declared itself ready to take on the world’s best sports car manufacturers after revealing a glimpse of its Le Mans challenger – the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO – during the commercial break for Super Bowl XLIX.
Last year’s Super Bowl was the most watched television program in U.S. television history with over 110 million viewers. The 2015 game was therefore the perfect opportunity for Nissan’s “With Dad” commercial (view at www.withdad.com) to air for the first time, revealing the much-anticipated Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, the car that will take on the best in the world in the race to glory at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In a bold move, the Japanese manufacturer has interpreted the sport’s technical regulations in an innovative way, producing a front-engined, front wheel drive car that is powered by a V6 3.0-liter twin turbo gasoline engine and a kinetic energy recovery system.
“It gave us great pride to reveal the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO during the Super Bowl,” said Roel de Vries, global head of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Nissan. “The combination of the Super Bowl and the Le Mans 24 Hours – two of the most watched sporting events in the world – presented us with a unique opportunity to showcase our most ambitious motorsport program in recent times. The GT-R is our flagship road car. This, the ultimate GT-R, continues a sporting bloodline that goes back three decades with NISMO, the motorsport and performance arm of Nissan. Le Mans drives innovation, so success on the track will lead to greater innovation in our road car range. We are the new kids at Le Mans. Our opponents are the best in the world, but we are ready.”
The new car will contest the LM P1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the highest category in world sports car racing. Starting at Silverstone, UK on April 12, the series travels around the world to Spa in Belgium, onto the Le Mans 24 Hours and Germany’s Nürburgring, before going global with races in the U.S., Japan, China and the Middle East.
The FIA World Endurance Championship is the ultimate proving ground for automotive companies as technological gains on the track can carry through to road cars. Racing car engineers are facing the same challenges as road car engineers as the spotlight falls on energy efficiency. With more technical freedom than Formula 1, the LM P1 engineers have ample opportunity to innovate.
“This is innovation that excites,” said Shoichi Miyatani, president of NISMO. “Sustainability is at the top of our agenda, and the technical regulations for Le Mans give us the freedom to pursue new ideas in this area. Our record at Le Mans is third place overall, so we have unfinished business there. We want to win and we have the knowledge to do that – for our customers, our employees and our fans. The competition is exceptionally strong and we are excited by the challenge.”
“Our LM P1 program makes the connection between NISMO on the road and NISMO on the track, showcasing our brand DNA to a global audience,” said Darren Cox, global head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “We are taking motorsport to the masses, telling tales of technical innovation but also human stories via all of the exciting communications channels that are open to us now. We will innovate off the track as well as on it, so you can be assured that this is just the beginning of the story.”
The intensive test program for the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO that began in Arizona last year continues in the U.S. Nissan’s full LM P1 driver line-up will be revealed soon.
New LM P1 Partnerships Revealed
Nissan also announced three multi-year partnerships that will feature prominently in its LM P1 program.
Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer is the Official Watch Partner and Official Timekeeping Partner. The LM P1 drivers will all wear TAG Heuer watches, and the partnership will be activated globally by both parties with several exciting developments to be announced in the coming months.
Motul is the Official Lubricants Partner for the program, working closely with NISMO’s engine department to develop high-performance products to enhance competitiveness and efficiency. Motul has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with NISMO over the past two decades, and this natural expansion into the LM P1 program comes soon after the Super GT Championship victory for the iconic #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R.
The LM P1 program will use tires supplied by Michelin. The French manufacturer has developed tires especially for the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO and been an integral part of the car’s extensive test program.