Nissan has confirmed its widely anticipated return to outright contention for the Le Mans 24 Hour race with is motorsport arm NISMO leading the 2015 project.
The Japanese manufacturer announced its plans to take on Audi, Porsche and Toyota in sportscar racing’s LMP1 category in London today.
The project will be Nissan’s first fully backed outright tilt at Le Mans since 1999.
Nissan’s return means that manufacturer participation in prototype racing is returning to levels which saw become a huge attraction for car makers in the 1990′s.
The manufacturer has been working on LMP1 concepts for some time, which was a condition of its Garage 56 (experimental car) electric ZEOD RC racer that will take part in this year’s Le Mans following on from Nissan’s Deltawing experiment in 2012.
In conjunction with NISMO, Nissan will construct an all new LMP1 machine to compete in the 2015 World Endurance Championship and the twice round the clock French classic.
The car will be known as the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO and will be built incorporating expertise from facilities around the world.
The LMP1 project will be an addition to its wide ranging motorsport programs which includes the LMP2 engine program, GT3, V8 Supercars and Super GT.
“You don’t go to Le Mans to just turn up. 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,” said Andy Palmer Nissan’s Chief Planning Office & Executive Vice-President.
“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.”
by Jake Lingeman
James Glickenhaus, the man who brought you the Ferrari
P4/5, is working on a new car to be used in top-level endurance racing such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, possibly as early as 2014. Recently, sketches of the car—currently called the P4/5 Competizione LMP—have made their way to the Internet.
Glickenhaus made his money in the stock market and film industry, but he became a household name among car guys when he commissioned the one-of-one Ferrari P4/5 Pininfarina. Though Ferrari didn’t sanction the build, once they saw the car, they gave the OK for the P4/5 to wear a Ferrari badge.
Later, Glickenhaus developed a Competizione version which was piloted to a 6 minute, 51 second lap around Germany’s Nurburgring with help from a kinetic-energy recovery system, or KERS. That’s the fastest recorded time for a Ferrari-powered car, though it was wearing race tires, which makes comparing it with any street car an apples and oranges affair.
He will return to the ‘ring on Oct. 27 with another evolution of the P4/5, this time with better brakes, new Dunlop tires, better weight balance and a motor bored out from 4.0 to 4.4 liters. The aim is to beat the previous record while competing for the FIA World Championship Alternate Energy Cup.
The new LMP car will not be a Ferrari in any way. After Glickenhaus’ Competizione car, he and the Prancing Horse went their separate ways. He is currently looking for some media buzz and an engine manufacturer, and it looks to be going well. Glickenhaus says he already has interest from one manufacturer and is hoping to garner more. He hasn’t ruled anything out. Glickenhaus says they could use a diesel powerplant or a smaller turbocharged gas engine. There is also a new technique for recovering wasted turbo energy, which Glickenhaus says is also not out of the question. He’s currently working with endurance racing’s governing body, the ACO, to understand the rules that he would have to adhere to if he competes.
Jaguar is working on a plan to mount its first bid in more than 20 years for overall honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The British sports-car manufacturer’s owner, Ratan Tata, and bosses at Jaguar parent company Tata Motors are known to be evaluating a return to the prototype ranks with an all-new LMP1. It is understood that a decision has been made in principle to mount an attack on the race at some point in the future. Ratan Tata is known to be a fan of Le Mans and was making comments about the value of a race that Jaguar has won seven times almost as soon as he bought the company from Ford in 2008. Jaguar subsequently returned to Le Mans in 2010 with Paul Gentilozzi’s RSR team, which continues to race its XKR GTE contender in the American Le Mans Series. The architects of that program at Jaguar–former managing director Mike O’Driscoll and head of global marketing boss CJ O’Donnell–have both left the company. New Tata Motors CEO Carl-Peter Forster, who formerly worked for BMW and General Motors in Europe, is said to support the LMP1 program. Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110714/ALMS/110719941#ixzz1S6CsGLhk