Nissan Pulls LeMans P1 Cars To Address Technical Problems
Nissan has announced that they are delaying their return to the LM P1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in order to focus on technical problems that the three GT-R LM NISMO cars faced during the Le Mans 24 Hours race earlier this year. Those issues were largely around the "hybrid" powertrain and its problems as well as speed issues due to the lack of boosting from that system.
The primary affect was that the energy recovery system (ERS), required by FIA for the race, was inoperable during the entire Le Mans run, forcing all three cars to race on engine power alone. Other problems, largely stemming from the design of the LM P1 race cars and their untested nature, have largely been resolved, Nissan says. The remaining issues are all related to the ERS system not operating.
“We know people will be disappointed, but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us,” said Shoichi Miyatani, president of NISMO. “We are racers and we want to compete, but we also want to be competitive. That is why we have chosen to continue our test program and prepare the GT-R LM NISMO for the strong competition we face in the World Endurance Championship. When you innovate, you don’t give up at the first hurdle. We are committed to overcoming this challenge.”
“We’ve said it before, but innovation hurts,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “We’ve built an LM P1 car that is very different to other racing cars as we continue to drive motorsport innovation. The beauty of this program is that people have got behind us and they are willing us to succeed. This has shown us once again that people want something different in motorsport, and that gives us increased motivation to make our LM P1 car competitive.”
Globally, Nissan's motorsports programs (most under the NISMO name) will continue, of course. Other NISMO teams in the Blancpain, Super GT, and other series are doing well. The latest edition of the GT Academy program has just completed and finalists are now in "Race Camp" where winners will be chosen to begin competing with NISMO teams.
Nissan says that most of the testing and refinement for the GT-R LM NISMO cars will be done in the United States. Once they feel confident they've ironed out most of its problems, they'll announce a return date for WEC.
“We intend to maintain an open atmosphere around the program and will issue updates along the way. Our first priority is the car, but we understand that fans and media will be interested in our progress," said Cox.