Future Of Nissan's Crazy Le Mans Prototype To Be Determined Soon

Illustration for article titled Future Of Nissans Crazy Le Mans Prototype To Be Determined Soon

“We wanted to be different and competitive, we have only been different,” said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn told Endurance-Info at last month’s Formula E finale in London. Now Sportscar365 reports that the entire Nissan LMP1 program will be under review in Japan.

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It was clear back in June that Ghosn wasn’t 100% sold on the GT-R LM Nismo’s performance, despite the team’s insistence that it’s best to wait another year to determine whether or not the unique front-mid-engine, front-wheel-drive-biased car was a valid concept.

“Nissan has always been associated with innovation,” Ghosn said at the London Formula E press conference, as quoted by Sportscar365. “We made an attempt that did not prove fruitful. We must reassess the strategy.”

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Only one of Nissan’s three LMP1s took the checkered flag at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it spent so much time in the garage that it wasn’t classified in the results of the race. None of the cars ran with a functioning hybrid system, as they couldn’t resolve all the problems they were facing with that system in time. The team had already delayed the car’s debut to work more of the bugs out before Le Mans.

Now a series of high-level executive meetings will determine the future of Nissan’s LMP1 program. Industry sources told Sportscar365 that the meetings could decide whether or not Nissan continues with its planned two-year run.

A Nissan spokesperson told Sportscar365 that this meeting was “business as usual.” That makes sense, and thus, doesn’t make this meeting seem all that alarming. Anything funded by a large corporation must be justified occasionally to the higher-ups. We also reached out to the team for comment on the current state of the program, but have yet to hear back from them.

On behalf of everyone who loves crazy ideas, I hope they stick with it. No, it wasn’t the fastest car out there last year, but it was certainly the most unique and interesting. It’s too soon for them to make any calls on the program, too, in my opinion. It’s only had the opportunity to race once, and that one race—Le Mans—is by far the most grueling outing on the World Endurance Championship calendar.

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After all, the team was asked to accomplish in eight months what Porsche did in thirteen, with fewer personnel and a radically different concept to boot. Give ‘em time.

Meanwhile, the team continues to work furiously on the car to get it up to speed. Sportscar365 reports that they’ll be back at Circuit of the Americas on July 27-28, this time to test out revised bodywork, suspension and brakes.

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Photo credit: Getty Images


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.

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DISCUSSION

Dear Mr. Ghosn,

Remember these cars? The 1999 Audi R8R and R8C. Audi ran TWO types of cars at Le Mans to figure out what was going to be the ideal configuration going forward. This is commitment right here. They were not winners out of the box (maybe more competitive than your Nissans, but this was over 15 years ago mind you) but were a trial run for the domination to come. Take a page from your competitor’s book and see this through.

Sincerely,

Your pals, race fans everywhere.