Front Drive At Le Mans? <br />Nissan’s New LMP1

If you live in the United States (or even if you don’t) there’s a good chance you spent yesterday watching the Super Bowl. And if you did watch the game, you probably noticed Nissan’s new commercial which featured an unusual new racecar. While the appearance of the car took many by surprise, those who have been following motorsport rumors over the past few weeks knew they were looking at Nissan’s new LMP1 car for the World Endurance Championship.

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO pre-season testing 11

Say hello to the GT-R LM Nismo – an unconventional new prototype racer which is taking aim at Audi, Porsche and Toyota at the highest level of sportscar racing. With one glance it’s clear that this car is very different from its rivals, thanks largely to its unusually long nose section.

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO pre-season testing 5

The nose is long because that’s where much of the car’s powertrain is located. Yes, the GT-R LM Nismo has a front-mounted twin turbo V6 powering the forward wheels, and electric motors powering the rears for a total of 1,250 horsepower.

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO static side

Because of the unusual drivetrain layout, the car actually runs wider tires in the front than it does in the rear, and the entire idea represents a bold, experimental step for the world of LMP1 competition.

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO action rear three quarters

Nissan is planning for a full-scale attack in 2015, debuting the car at Silverstone in April before going towards the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Awkard looks or not, the World Endurance Championship just got a whole lot more interesting.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

THIS, is what's making the WEC so interesting right now...


Er. Mah. Gerd! I get that "the future is now" feeling when I see this vehicle.


WEC is really doing a great job of bringing some interest, engineering and fun to top level motorsports the last few years. F1, WRC, WTCC and other tin top series should take note. Shame I find it really hard to follow as a fan, I love 24h LM, but other than that I find it tricky to follow and entire series of full length endurance racing, which is a shame as it's not often you get to watch Audi, Porsche, Toyota and Nissan duke it out in the same grid.


The electric drive is actually 4wd not just RWD as mentioned in the article.

As others have said, we have to congratulate the rulebook writers at the WEC as it has allowed all the works entries to go a completely different path in how their cars are powered.

Compare that to the F1 grid where you couldn't tell any of the cars apart if they were all painted the same colour.


Wow those are massive side windows! Front wheel drive can work very well as la Sarthe has many high-downforce corners. WEC, this is brilliant! 

I think I see some Delta Wing / Zeod aerodynamic influence. I might be wrong though.


Kudos to whoever has written the current regulations for WEC. The three LMP1-H teams were all running different configuration cars last year and now there is a fourth entry with yet another interpretation of the rules joining them in 2015. Four different approaches to the same regulations and, with a bit of luck, four equally competitive cars. 
In terms of circuit racing, the WEC is, in my eyes, by far the best FiA sanctioned World Championship at present. Formula 1 can only dream of being both this varied and interesting.


Agreed. Very 'Awkard' looking thing but then take a look at our own Gordon Ramsey - culinary expert, magnificent chef, but no pin-up...


Funny how it's kind of the opposite of the Deltawing concept, I wonder if anything they learned from that applies here.


Looking forward for a big change in Le Mans game


hmmmm its ugly..but i'm willing to bet its fast....


The looks remind me of that old Dick Emery catchphrase - 
"Ooh, You are awful...But I like you."
Totally bonkers, but I know now who I'm rooting for come LeMans.


So, with majority of the weight in front, does it mean this car can wag the tail? And brilliantly?


The electric systems supply extra power to the front wheels until it senses that they are at the edge of traction then it transfers the remaining electricity to the rear wheels.


Horsepower is incorrect.
The GT-R LM Nismo Can achieve 2000 hp; lowered to 1500 hp mark


RacingPast and the way they made smart use of the rear section for aerodynamics.  assuming they'll be able to iron out reliability kinks by the time they hit le mans, the 2015 le mans is gonna be exciting! :)


It JUST got i n t e r e s t i n g !


Theres a super long article on jalopnik about this and the aero is just incredible! The air flows through the car and exits very smoothly. Very excited to watch it race!


This is it! I've got an extra 3 tabs open on my browser, all set to the other competitors (Toyota, Audi and Porsche) and I am just GAWKING at the level of craftsmanship, the level intuitiveness and the sheer amount of diversity between these four makers. 

I'll be the first to admit, I've never quite followed Le Mans, I always knew it existed, I knew a few/some of the cars that participated, but with all the hype that's been going into this year's event, I'd be hard-pressed and quite frankly, stupid, not to get into it. I mean, how couldn't you? With all the talk of F1 being the premiere racing series in the world, I'm sorry  but I just can't see it. I've followed F1 for years and have lost interest steadily. That's not to say it doesn't excite nor interest the masses, but THIS, this LMP1 grid is going to be, just, pure exhilaration at it's finest. 

I will definitely be tuning to watch the 24 Hours of Le Mans later on this year, and any other event all these teams will be entering together. 

Thanks for the update SH. I hope and pray, you will be in France this year and in FULL-FORCE!!!


The e-Trons will win again..


Uglyest LMP1, let's hope at least it's competitive

Pete the perfect pilot

Time for mazda to get serious, dust off the 787b add a couple of electric motors and revisit the Sarthe. Seriously, Mazda needs to get back on track with a rotary, and the current regs hark back to those glory days back in 91..... When you had the jags running v12, mercs the turbo v8s, not to mention the aston martins and Porsches, along with the mazda rotary, and Toyota and nissans best efforts. Yes, mazda, get with it, defend your reputation as Japan's only victor at Le Mans. Oh, and hurry up with the next rotary.... Please!


Technically there is just so much going on here, as there are with all the front running LMP1 competitors.  Through flow aero, reverse balance, lower power engine and higher power ERS, tiny cockpit, smaller wheels with deep section tyres.  It really is a clean sheet design with everything working together for the end goal, each element on it's own would be worthless.

I still love the Porsche for having a turbo turbo V4, and Toyota for using super capacitors.  I think that the Audi is the most pedestrian of the lot, very much like it's road cars :D


it's stunning to see that the footprint-silhouette strikingly resembles
a basically-tear-drop-shape, which is theoretically considered as the best possible
aerodynamic shape.
a rear-engined and/or RWD racecar can never have this levels of rear-end "delicacy",
its wedginess and big rear tures being inherently more draggy thru the air.
here, the (somewhat complicated) rear-wheel-driving architecture is simply mind-bogglingly executed, a true technological Tour de force - this car contains levels of technical breakthrough that the Motorsport world sees literally once in a decade (perhaps rarer...perhaps the most challenging aspect of such a layout is (at least on first 'sight'), the relatively small front-gearbox-housing, which is also a load-carrying suspension 'member' - it's questionable whether it will be able to withstand the immense G-forces that those huge front (driving) tyres will be able to generate under braking.
other than this risk, I see a car being capable of huge speed (the air-through concept is practically flawlessly executed!), whilst being very easy on the fuel consumption.
front tyres' 'stint life' shall also be a challenge, yet I'd doubt Michelin would enter this project if they weren't up to something tricky...
all in all, if that gearbox casing proves able to take the punishment, and if the rear/4wd system proves sturdy, the 'big LM boys' might be in for some spanking...
can't wait for June to come!
Al Pinaweiss


I don't think the rear wheels are driven by electric motors, the hybrid system is mechanical, using a flywheel.
"The mechanical Flybrid system, which is now supplied by Torotrak, uses an array of reduction gears and a weighted flywheel to quickly store and release energy." -

Torotrak is a type of CVT gearbox.


Use the rotary at constant rpm to power a generator, and a pure electric drive train at the wheels. Oh, and the rotary could be fueled with hydrogen, we know Mazda got that right already


some sprint races (2-3 hours would be interesting)


The pics make this thing look immense in size. How does it compare to the other competitors? I like the way the front looks like they draped a shell over a F1 front end. Can't wait to see some results with it.


Ugly as sin but I love Nissan.


When I saw this car I imagined Usain Bolt winning a race running upside down on his hands.


Panoz tried this with marginal sucess 20 years ago. Dont think it will work. I do applaud nissan for trying something unconventional. They can throw money at it!!!!


I like this; much better than the deltawing. Good too see so much effort toward innovation.


It really is a great race, you won't be disappointed. Last two years have had some great races, especially the gt3 cars, which always has battles that rage on for hours (super close racing were there will be overtaking on tracks, back and forth lead changes in the pits).
There is always loads of drama.
It is in my top three races of the year behind Isle of Man TT and Dakar.


@wedu seems like there is a fair bit of speculation in that link. Unless Nissan release their actual HP (i doubt they will) i would take it with a grain of salt.


flybrid, lol


I'm more excited about the possibility of use=ing this car in the next Forza game.


its not a looker but i think its going to be very fast and love the outside the box thinking !


Seriously lol. Besides drifting, I love driving the 2 LMP1 cars they have.


This and the Deltawing rocks!


RLaudemann Hmmm, funny how that long, non-finned front makes the GT-R look much longer.


LOL, either you guys at Speedhunters are mechanically inept or just love click-baiting your readers.
Ask yourself something. Why is there a driveshaft going through the center of the tub to the rear axle? I'm aware there's a bias for the front wheels on power delivery, bit don't try an convince your readers that it's FWD when it's clearly, plain as day, capable of delivering power to ALL 4 WHEELS!


This is what I first thought when I seen the car


@GenericSuperhero Nissan has marketed the car as FWD


What a ugly car!!
This is one of the worst car i had ever seen.


Really looking forward to seeing how this thing does, it's different, it's a little awkward looking. . .but it could work


Am I the only one that thinks this things looks kind of awesome? lol


My thoughts exactly. The purists would hate it, but to me it seems logical. It's a great way to show case the tech and talent, would increase viewer figures and sponsorship.



              Stop being weird


@Double D Or....


Yeah...but guys: it AIN'T no Lotus!


There are some new detail-photos and videos with angry engine noise:
Did you know the flywheel reaches a force up to 47,000g at 60,000rpm?!!


Killer straight line performance and get killed in corners? I have no idea, genuinely excited about this concept of thinking outside of the box though. Now I hope Mazda will be back, it didnt have to be a rotary engine.


@GenericSuperhero There is no drive shaft, because it would be too heavy. The rear wheels are electric only.


Calorus False, there is a drive shaft going from the front engine compartment to the rear wheels. The rear wheels will only be powered by the kinetic energy recovery system. No electric motors.


sjbaker Calorus Just to add a little bit more to this:

The Kinetic Energy Recovery System or (KERS) being used by Nissan is developed by 'Torotrak'. 

This is a flywheel based energy storage system that is mechanically linked to the rear wheels, this  uses a clutch based system that allows the torque to be transferred from the wheels to accelerate the flywheel (~5KG) which intern decelerates the car and then works in reverse to accelerate the rear wheels.

(Audi system is electro-mechanical flywheel 'GKN' which does use electric motors) 

The clutch system (~80% efficiency) used in simple details is 3 clutches on the flywheel side and 3 on the wheel side, these all spin at different speeds and when the car brakes the slowest spinning clutch on the flywheel side would engage with a faster spinning clutch on the wheel side. This equalisation of speeds would result in the flywheel being accelerated and thus storing energy. 

A CVT transmission system could also be used, however I believe the efficiencies of such systems would be too low.

I hope I have explained this, but if anyone has any questions or would like to express a different opinion please do as I am certainly not an expert.