Nissan to enter factory LMP1 car in 2015 WEC competition

Nissan has revealed plans to launch a two-car assault on Le Mans in 2015.

The rumors have been swirling since January that this was happening, and now it has. Nissan Motorsports (NISMO) will indeed enter two LMP1 cars in 2015 WEC competition and at Le Mans, using the GT-R model name. That is the name carried by NISMO's GT3 car that has raced and won all over the year. The car's official name will be the 'Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.'

Nissan hasn't raced an LMP1 car since 1999 with the R31. After being invited back to Le Mans in 2000, they decided not to go due to the unwanted cost. They have dabbled with a return to sports car racing's prototype class before but nothing has really come to fruition until now.

Wolfgang Reip tests the Nissan ZEOD RC
Wolfgang Reip tests the Nissan ZEOD RC

Photo by: Nissan Motorsports

This year, Nissan is competing at Le Mans with its unique and somewhat controversial ZEOD RC. After completing a single lap, the ZEOD RC will have already made history running the full 8.5 mile circuit purely on electric power. The Japanese car manufacturer admitted that their LMP1 effort was conditional on attaining the 56th spot on the grid for this year's race with the aforementioned ZEOD RC.

Nissan has been working to expand their impact on motorsports recently with their V8 Supercar program, the highly popular GT Academy, and of course, the ZEOD RC project.

If everything else stays the same, then we could have an astonishing eight factory LMP1 prototypes in 2015 between Audi, Toyota, Porsche, and Nissan. With Toyota, then Porsche, and now Nissan joining the LMP1 assault on Le Mans, the question is, who's next? Honda?

Nissan Chief Planning Office & Executive Vice-President, Andy Palmer
Nissan Chief Planning Office & Executive Vice-President, Andy Palmer

Photo by: Nissan Motorsports

Nissan's Chief Planning Office & Executive Vice-President Andy Palmer was quoted as saying, “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do. There is no better place to demonstrate innovation than here in Europe's new hot-bed of digital marketing and, from next year, on track at Le Mans. We have chosen this venue - and made it a celebration, rather than yet another press conference - to reflect the fact that when we go racing, we do so differently.”

"As innovators in sports marketing, Nissan deliberately took a non-traditional approach to F1 with its prestige Infiniti brand through its association with Red Bull Racing. Outside motorsport, Nissan is an official partner of the UEFA Champion's League with a new four-year deal. Fittingly, the Champion's League final is this weekend and fans can expect to see a new approach to Nissan's sports marketing initiatives within the ‘beautiful game’. Nissan is also proud to be the Official Automotive Partner of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio."

“We applaud the ACO and FIA for the work they have done to get the rules right,” continued Palmer. “LMP1 is not just an arms race - all our rivals in the class have taken different technical approaches and we will be doing the same. We want to win in a very different way to that of our rivals. We won't be turning up in a vehicle which is a basically another hybrid that looks like another Porsche, Audi or Toyota - they all look the same to me - our intention is to do something that is a little bit different.”

The announcement was delivered Friday in London, and further details regarding the specifics of the program are expected to be released in the coming weeks. On a side note, the date, May 23rd was partly chosen for this announcement due to a somewhat trivial, yet interesting reason. In Japan, two is pronounced ‘ni’ and three is ‘san."

Quotes via Nissan Motorsport

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About this article
Series Le Mans , WEC
Drivers Wolfgang Reip
Teams Red Bull Racing , Nissan Motorsport
Article type Breaking news
Tags le mans, lmp1, nissan, wec