Nissan’s troubled LMP1 campaign in the 2015 World Endurance Championship shows little signs of improving, with the Japanese automaker confirming this month that it won’t be attending future races until it sorts out technical issues that hampered its performance at its debut race, June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The next race on the calendar is the 6 Hours of Nürburgring scheduled for August 30.
“We know people will be disappointed," the chief of the NISMO motorsport division, Shoichi Miyatani, said in a statement. “But be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us.”
Having already suffered setbacks in getting its radical GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 to pass the initial round of crash testing prior to the start of the 2015 season and missing the opening two races, Nissan’s front-wheel-drive racer then suffered from a disastrous performance at Le Mans, with two of the three cars failing to finish and the one that did cross the line only coming 40th—150 laps behind its rivals.
Nissan has revealed that its performance at Le Mans was hampered by problems with its energy recovery system (ERS), meaning its cars were running on engine power alone. Recall that the bulk of power in the GT-R LM NISMO comes from the ERS, with the engine supplying only around 550 horsepower and the electrical system mainly drawing power from the ERS to make up the rest of the car’s 1,250-peak output.
The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine and the unique aerodynamics of the GT-R LM NISMO proved to be the main strengths of the car at Le Mans, Nissan tells us, but without a fully working ERS many of the car’s other systems were compromised. Note, the engine powering Nissan’s next-generation GT-R road car will feature a design derived from this race engine.
Miyatani also quashed rumors that Nissan is already rethinking its decision to enter the World Endurance Championship. He said Nissan is committed to overcoming the challenges its LMP1 campaign faces, and that for an innovative design like the GT-R LM NISMO you can’t simply give up at the first hurdle.
Currently leading the premier LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship is Porsche with 140 points. Audi is second with 124 points followed by last year’s champion, Toyota, with 71 points. There are still five more races on the 2015 calendar including this month’s Nürburgring event.