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.
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?
"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