The Japanese manufacturer has axed its top-line Le Mans 24 Hours programme after a disastrous performance in this year's race
Matt Burt
22 December 2015

The Nissan GT-R LM Nismo will not compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016 after Nissan decided to cancel the project with immediate effect.

The Japanese manufacturer returned to sports car racing’s top flight this year with its technically adventurous front-engined prototype, which was designed by Ben Bowlby.

However, the team struggled to develop the car and its three entries were a long way off the pace of the front-running Porsches and Audis at Le Mans in June. Two of Nissan's cars failed to finish and the third didn’t complete sufficient distance to be classified.

A statement from Nissan confirmed that it wouldn't take part at Le Mans or in the FIA World Endurance Championship: “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.” 

The project was beset with teething problems, with its early-season preparations for Le Mans disrupted when the car initially failed its crash tests.

Although Nissan planned to contest more events in the FIA World Endurance Championship after Le Mans, it withdrew to focus on further testing and development, citing technical issues.

The Nissan GT-R LM Nismo turned conventional Le Mans racing wisdom on its head. A compact 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 was mounted in front of the driver, with the car’s gearbox in front of the engine and the mechanical flywheel energy recovery system (ERS) also near the prow.

The withdrawal from LMP1 doesn’t affect Nissan’s engine supply commitments to privateer teams in the LMP3 sports car racing category.

Further reading - why Nissan went front-wheel-drive at Le Mans

Join the debate


22 December 2015
A bit of a shame that - Nissan was probably "off the pace of the front-running Porsches and Audis" only because they were cheating...

22 December 2015
pauld101 wrote:

A bit of a shame that - Nissan was probably "off the pace of the front-running Porsches and Audis" only because they were cheating...

What a strange comment! Far more likely that they produced an absolute dog of a car based on extremely dodgy "revolutionary" aerodynamics, a stupid basic configuration and a total lack of control of the programme. They were desperate to appear innovative and risk takers "pushing the envelope." Instead they were a laughing stock and now they need to go back to the drawing board with a proven designer not an adventurer.

22 December 2015
Bizarre. According to Nissan, they were going to win everything.

22 December 2015
About the only car you could compare this with is touring cars, but they are transverse mounted engines and stock aerodynamics (well, with a wing). As a racer, mid-enginged front wheel drive probably hasn't been tried for a very good reason. It doesn't work. The best you can say is that Nissan did prove it so nobody else needs to cover this ground again.

24 December 2015
Slower than the GTE-AM cars through the Esses, all a very embarrassing. What a comedown from the bullish hyperbole spouted by Andy Palmer last year. I applaud the innovation but they just look silly after claiming that the car "...will have won Le Mans."

Be bold in design but don't disrespect your competition. There was a lot of goodwill for the project because they did it differently, but all they proved was that no-one had chosen this design because it didn't work!

24 December 2015
By just using the current chassis base, Nissan should have considered Front Mid Engined-RWD layout, a la Panoz GT1/LMP cars of the yesteryears. But I guess Nissan top bosses felt very humiliated by the hugely disasterous first year campaign of the GTR-LM, and simply not willing to risk the brand's reputation again at Le Mans arena. What a shameful drastic act..

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