Automaker has a "different" technical approach as it goes to war at Le Mans and burns up the track at the Endurance Championship
Nissan will unleash its GT-R in a head-to-head battle with Audi, Porsche and Toyota at Le Mans in 2015.
The Japanese manufacturer will also burn rubber at the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship with a full factory effort by two LM P1 cars.
Nissan’s LM P1 car will be called the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo. Nissan’s LM P1 programme was recently launched in the heart of Europe’s fastest-growing area of digital innovation in East London, close to Nissan’s new global digital hub.
Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) president Pierre Fillon joined Nissan’s chief planning officer and executive vice-president Andy Palmer, Nismo president Shoichi Miyatani and Nismo global head of brand, Sales & Marketing, Darren Cox for the announcement at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London.
“Innovation is at the heart of everything we do,” said Palmer. “There is no better place to demonstrate innovation than here in Europe’s new hot-bed of digital marketing and, from next year, on the 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.
“We applaud the ACO and FIA for the work they have done to get the rules right,” continued Palmer. “LM P1 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 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.”
Nissan has steadily increased its participation in motorsport in recent times through innovative programmes such as the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy and the ACO’s Garage 56 initiative.
“Nissan is connecting in motorsport in many ways through its performance arm, Nismo,” said Cox. “In recent years we have taken a new approach to motorsport – not racing for racing’s sake – but carefully considering our reasons to engage with our global competition.”
The Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 now races all over the world, not least in Europe where it is driven by the Nismo Athletes, the winners of GT Academy. Nissan’s LM P2 engine is the standout P2 power plant in recent years, and the company’s commitment to the ACO’s Garage 56 initiative demonstrates its love of a technical challenge.
What Nissan learns on the track is fed through to its road cars to deliver technical innovation across its product range.
“Marketing innovation is important to us and Le Mans is an incredible marketing platform,” said Cox. “We are a big, passionate, innovative brand that wants a presence on the world stage. Nismo isn’t just a big building in Yokohama full of top-level motorsport talent. Nismo stands for everything we love about racing. This year we have four gamers racing at Le Mans and, now that Sir Chris Hoy is racing with us in British GT and learning the ropes, we will be taking an Olympian to Le Mans in the future.”
The new GT-R LM Nismo gives Nissan the opportunity to return to Le Mans, where the company has some unfinished business.
“The design and build of the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo is a global project with its DNA firmly rooted in Japan,” explained Miyatani. “The team comprises engineers and technical crew from Japan, the US and Europe. We know that the LM P1 competition is very tough and with serious manufacturer competition, but we are absolutely determined to make our cars competitive and to operate strongly against those competitors.”