Remember when Nissan said it was serious about getting back into motorsports? So serious, in fact, it launched its racing marketing campaign during the 2015 Super Bowl with a very expensive ad? Well, seems things didn't quite work out and now, three days before Christmas, Nissan is killing the GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 project.
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A quick refresher for the class: The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO campaign was put on hold back in August after what one might call a disastrous showing at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. The reason for the hold status? Nissan was going back to the drawing board to sort out some technical issues that supposedly hampered the race car's performance. In other words, it needed to fix the cars to make them actually work how they were supposed to.
Two of the cars didn't even finish the race, while the one that did cross the finish line ended up in 40th place--150 laps behind its rivals.
We don't know if it had anything to do with the decision to shutter the project, but those GT-R LM NISMO race cars were backwards. That is to say, they were front-wheel-drive hybrid race cars. Most race cars have rear-wheel drive because physics is a real thing. All-wheel drive works, too. Hey, that didn't stop Nissan from trying, and the company put in a good effort at that. On paper the cars read impressively, and theoretically they should've worked. But they didn't, at least not well.
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Powering the GT-R LM NISMO race cars was a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that produced 550 horsepower at its peak. This was paired with a hybrid system that was supposedly able to boost total output to around 1,250 horsepower. It never did. Nissan said the system was never able to run at full capacity during the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
Interestingly, the next-generation Nissan GT-R supercar is supposed to be powered by a powertrain design derived from the GT-R LM NISMO's.
Racer reports the GT-R LM NISMO underwent testing at NOLA just last week. According to one staff member, it went "well, but didn't go great."
Reportedly, the decision shut down the program affects upwards of 40 people. The decision also comes at a time when Nissan's alliance partner Renault is about to return to Formula One as a constructor.