Why Is Nissan's Le Mans Car Front-Wheel Drive?

Illustration for article titled Why Is Nissans Le Mans Car Front-Wheel Drive?

Nissan is entering the first front-wheel drive car in the LMP1 category this year at Le Mans to take on the mid-engined, rear-wheel drive Audis, Toyotas and Porsches. And here’s why they think that’s not crazy at all.


Because the Circuit de la Sarthe is very fast track and fuel is strictly limited, in order to have the slightest chance of succeeding, LMP1 prototypes have to minimize drag while maintaining enough downforce to be able to corner close to their top speed.


Nissan says the front-engined front-wheel drive layout created a long hood that will provide an aerodynamic advantage, while the understeer generated by 550 horses, hell knows how much torque, plus pretty much all the weight attacking the turning wheels can be corrected by their team who built a BTCC-winning front-wheel drive car sixteen years ago.


We wish the Nismo team all the best for having the balls alone, and no matter how this turn out, will be there to report on it, so stay tuned!

Contact the author at mate@jalopnik.com.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Bakkster, touring car driver

Don’t forget that removing all that rear drivetrain hardware allows for open bodywork with the air flowing through low-drag tunnels, and the front aero rules allow a lot more freedom than the rear rules (meaning more downforce where the weight and drive is coming from).