The NISMO GT-R road car, GT-R NISMO GT3 and Super GT GT500 GT-R need little introduction around these parts, but in the quest to take its iconic GT-R badge to new motor racing heights, Nissan has announced that it will be joining the ranks of the Le Mans Prototype 1 category (LMP1), and debuting its contender at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2015.
With Porsche set to debut its new 919 Hybrid at the 2014 running of the prestigious endurance event in less than a few weeks time, and Audi and Toyota already in the LMP1 fold, Nissan’s confirmed entry for next year will not only lift the manufacturer count to four, but most certainly add a new dimension to the premier sports prototype class too.
Although details are still very thin on the ground, testing of the ‘GT-R LM NISMO’ is scheduled to begin in October. NISMO President Shoichi Miyatani explained that the LMP1 project is a truly global one, and that the team behind it is made up of engineers and technical crew from Japan, the United States and Europe. “NISMO, the motorsport and performance arm of Nissan, is contributing strongly to the project through project management and engineering and operational support. Our expertise for motorsport engineering and operation acquired through our long term participation in Super GT, development of GT3 spec GT-R, and development and technical support of the LMP2 engines and so on will be fully utilised. We know that LMP1 competition is very tough, with serious manufacturer competition, but we are absolutely determined to make our cars competitive and to operate strongly against those competitors.”
Nissan Executive Director Andy Palmer is making no bones about the Japanese automaker’s intentions. “You don’t go to Le Mans to just turn up. The brief to the team is to go with something different, go with something that brings new technology which is transferable to the road car technology and an approach that is innovative and exciting, and of course, go to win.”
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s itching to see what an LMP1-spec GT-R looks likes, sounds likes, and most importantly – performs like at the world’s most famous long distance race. This time next year, we’ll be on the verge of finding out…