Nissan pulls plug on GT-R LM Nismo programme
Nissan’s decision to sport a front-engined, front-wheel-drive hybrid racer in the LMP1 class was seen by many as a bold move. And after failing to make any impact whatsoever, Nissan has pulled the plug on its LMP1 project.
Following a poor debut, Nissan has officially announced that its GT-R LM Nismo prototype racer will not participate in next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.
Despite many being optimistic about Nissan’s potential to shake up the LMP1 class this season, things never really went right for the Japanese automaker and that’s why it won’t be returning in 2016 with its innovative, yet ultimately flawed GT-R LM Nismo.
While other manufacturers pinned their hopes on the tried and tested method of having the engine in the back and driving the rear wheels, Nissan opted to put everything in the front. It was a decision that didn’t pay off.
At the Le Mans 24-hours alone Nissan fielded three cars, two of which didn’t even finish the race, with the remaining car rolling home in 40th place. This would be a sign of things to come.
Nevertheless, Nissan persevered and took its LMP1 racer back to the drawing board to fix issues that were hampering its performance.
However, it seems as though Nissan has had a change of heart and the LMP1 will not be racing next year after all.
“The teams worked diligently to bring the vehicles up to the desired performance levels. However, the company concluded that the program would not be able to reach its ambitions and decided to focus on developing its longer term racing strategies,” the firm said in a press release on December 23.
Nissan has said that it will still supply engines to lower-level privateer teams in the LMP1 class and Nissan GT-R GT3 racers based on production models will also feature in various competitions around the world.
The decision to pull the plug on the LMP1 programme will be a blow for the FIA and ACO who both welcome new competition with open arms. And while the likes of Audi, Porsche and Toyota have lost a rival, the fact that the LMP1 never looked like challenging their dominance means they won’t be celebrating its departure, but rather waving it a fond goodbye…