After a difficult birth to the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO programme, and a gruelling 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, only one of the Japanese manufacturer’s three cars crossed the finish line.
However not even that car, the No.22, had done enough percentage of the race to be a classified finisher.
Nissan LMP1 chief Darren Cox spoke to Motorsport.com after the race about plans for the rest of the 2015 WEC, including the next round at the Nurburgring on August 30, and the new-look GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 going forward.
“Ben [Bowlby, designer] has done a new aero kit and it is in production now; we have five or six days testing before the Nurburgring,” said Cox. “We’ll be there.”
Cox praised his team after months of gruelling work of getting the cars in a state of readiness for Le Mans. But he also re-stated his belief that the GT-R LM NISMO still has significant future potential.
“I’ve done some soul searching, there’s no doubt about it,” said Cox. “But looking at the fan reaction it is 90% positive and people want to see some different things in motorsport.
“A number of our competitors have congratulated us on the effort we have put in to getting here and bringing more focus to the championship. [Audi’s Ulrich] Baretsky said ‘we had got more people looking at the Championship’.
“[Toyota’s] Pascal Vasselon came down to our end of the grid and said ‘well done guys, fantastic effort for getting here’. They understand what we are trying to achieve. The people who matter in the paddock are very thankful for what we are doing.”
“The rest of the year is going to be tough, but our key focus has got to be getting ready for next year. But having looked at some on-board from here we are not a million miles away on braking, we are on the ball even without KERS help ostensibly,” added Cox.
“We are losing all the time coming out of the corners but by the time we get to the end of the straight we are with them again. That acceleration phase is a problem and a ‘double-bubble’ of [its rivals’] 4WD and the Hybrid system.
“We have to find some high-speed downforce as well. Then we have a to-do list that is a million miles long, but we now have 12 months to do it [before Le Mans 2016].”