Here’s kind of a bummer to start your day: Nissan’s wildly unusual GT-R LM Nismo prototype race car, which debuted to much fanfare earlier thiis year but had a deeply disappointing showing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will not race in the 2016 World Endurance Championship after all, the automaker announced today.
Here’s what Nissan had to say in a statement:
Today, Nissan announced that it will withdraw its LMP1 entry from the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Nissan entered LMP1 in the 2015 season with an innovative new, and bold concept, with the ambition to compete at the front of the field.
The teams worked diligently to bring the vehicles up to the desired performance levels. However, the company concluded that the program would not be able to reach its ambitions and decided to focus on developing its longer term racing strategies.
Racing is a core part of the Nissan DNA, and the company has a proud history of innovating to win. Nissan’s commitment to motorsports remains strong, as evidenced by its victorious track record in the 2015 season – from achieving the overall winner of Super GT two years in a row in Japan, to winning the Blancpain Endurance Pro Class, Bathurst 12hr race with the GT-R GT3. Nissan will continue its support of WEC through its various engine programs including recent introduction of LMP3 engine.
On the heels of the GT-R LM Nismo’s poor showing on the track, its future has been in doubt over the past few months. Over the summer there was a back and forth at Nissan over whether the car would continue in WEC or not, and its designer Ben Bowlby got shifted from LMP1 team principal to technical director in order to make it faster.
It seems all that wasn’t enough to save the unique machine, a 1,250 horsepower front-wheel drive with a hybrid engine, or to make it fast enough to be competitive.
Still, as a fan of weird race cars and attempts at innovation, I am genuinely sad to hear this news. I was hoping Nissan might be on to something here and that after a couple seasons of development we could see it hold its own.
Perhaps we’ll see it again someday, or in some other series. I kind of hope so.
Racer.com reports most employees were fired by email today. That sucks.
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