Posts Tagged ‘le mans’

Here’s the Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo Concept

Posted by Stephen On Friday, January 9th, 2015

Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo Concept

Did you know that Mazda is the only Japanese automaker ever to win the renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race? Yep; they won all the way back in 1991 with their LM787B race car.

To be honest, we didn’t know that little fun fact either. But, now that we do, it makes the newest addition to the Vision Gran Turismo garage all that much more special. It’s the Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo Concept, which will be available as DLC (downloadable content) for the Playstation sometime in the couple weeks. See the car for yourself in the full Holiday-themed teaser video below. (skip to 2:10 if all you care about is seeing the car)

In case you didn’t catch that huge SkyActiv logo on the LM55’s tail fin, this will be a SkyActiv inspired car making full use of Mazda’s new Kodo design language. Even though we know it’s just a video game, we can’t help but drool a little at the sound of the LM55’s high-pitched thrum as it flies around the virtual track in the video above.

Speaking about the LM55’s development, Mazda’s NA Design Director, Derek Jenkins, had a lot to say about the car’s origins and what they wanted to do with their contribution to the Vision Gran Turismo garage:

“The design, from a heritage standpoint, obviously we looked at cars like the 787 (editor’s note: you can see the LM787 behind the LM55 in the image below). That car has this amazing long front overhang, really short, low rear-end, and it creates this very unique balance that’s just not commonplace in contemporary sports cars. So, we wanted to take that influence and bring it into this new concept and create this dramatic proportion where you had really low front-end, very dynamic sculpted fender treatments, and then really low rear-end.”

Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo Concept with LM787

Now, our regular readers already know that we have an affinity for Mazda, but no one can argue that this LM55 Concept stands out even among the other jaw-dropping cars in the Vision Gran Turismo garage. Because it’s based on a real car with real heritage, it just looks more refined and deliberate than many of the other Vision concepts we’ve seen up to this point.

Furthermore, it’s clear that Mazda’s designers have given real thought to the production of this car (not that it’ll necessarily ever happen; just that they’re being realistic). “The Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo barely tips the scales with lightweight, carbon-fiber components, including a monocoque chassis clad in striking atmospheric white paint.”

To wrap up with one final fun fact, if you dig a bit into the LM787’s history, you’ll see that the individual race car that won the ’91 Le Mans actually bore the number 55. So, that’s where the LM55 got its name!


Nissan Previews Possible New GT-R in Gran Turismo 6

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

It wasn’t too long ago that Mitsubishi used the upcoming Gran Turismo 6 PlayStation 3 racing game as a platform to debut their newest racing concept. However, while Mitsubishi’s concept is unlikely to make it out of the digital world, Nissan’s newly unveiled contribution to the GT6 Vision garage could very well make it to production. Of course, it’s possible that even if it’s manufactured, it’ll remain a track-only vehicle, but early rumors indicate something more.

Let’s start by looking at the teaser below:

Nissan Vision GT Teaser

Even though this is a vague and artistic image, it actually tells us a lot about Nissan’s contribution to GT6. In fact, it might even tell us too much; this mystery car has been rumored to be everything from the brand’s next WRC racer to their new LMP1 prototype or even the next commercial GT-R.

Personally, we believe that the image above previews the next Nissan GT-R. It might not be the mass-production version we’ll eventually see on the streets; perhaps instead it’s a racing-only version, like the upcoming Nissan R36 GT-R we discussed a week or two ago as Nissan’s return to Le Mans racing.

Whatever it is, though, there is clearly some level of production intent. After all, why else would Andy Palmer, Nissan Vice President, tweet the question “Think it’s worth coming to Goodwood?” with the teaser image? Clearly Nissan are planning this to have some carry-over to the real world. We already knew that Honda was planning to bring their NSX to the Goodwood Festical of Speed, so why wouldn’t Nissan bring some competition in the form of their next GT-R?

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the darkened teaser image Nissan has provided us with is the peculiar front-end, unlike anything we’ve seen from them up to this point. The image shows a car with a shortened front-clip with colossal air vents and a very prominent front spoiler. The way that the vents on both the front and side seem to dip into the middle of the car could possibly suggest a mid-engine layout, which offers a highly favorable weight distribution for excellent rear-wheel traction. Let’s cross our fingers that this is the case.

In the end, all we know for sure is that this car – whatever it may be – is the next in a long line of Nissan contributions to Gran Turismo. In fact, did you know that the first GT-R was originally introduced to international drivers through the Gran Turismo video game, decades ago? This explains why it actually makes contextual sense for Nissan to use this platform to launch the next GT-R, if that’s what it turns out to be.

Either way, the one thing that Nissan has promised is that “all will be revealed” next Monday, June 16th. So, stay tuned until then for the full scoop.

In the meantime, thanks for reading!


Next-Gen Nissan GT-R to Use Le Mans Hybrid Technology

Posted by Stephen On Monday, June 9th, 2014

A couple weeks ago, Nissan released their first official teasers for their reentry into the Le Mans in the highly competitive LMP1 category. The car they’ll be racing with will be the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo, and Nissan hopes that it will finally win them a Le Mans championship title.

What Nissan didn’t officially tell us last week is that this upcoming Nissan GT-R LM Nismo will also set the stage for the next production-spec Nissan GT-R. The news comes from an interview between Autocar and Nissan VP Andy Palmer. Throughout the interview, Palmer dropped several interesting hints as to what we can expect from Nissan’s next Godzilla.

2014 Nissan GT-R

There’s one quote in particular that reveals an important element of the next GT-R. At the launch of the GT-R LM NISMO, Palmer was quoted saying, “If you go to the patent office, you’ll find something called R Hybrid, so there’s obviously a connection there.”

What’s that?

The next GT-R will come with a hybrid powertrain, at least as an option?

It seems likely, especially since Nissan had already hinted that the next GT-R might use “electrification” to achieve the performance enhancements we all want without raising emissions. Palmer elaborated, saying, “We’re on a road towards low emissions – and eventually zero emissions – that is relevant to all cars. What’s interesting about hybrids is that they not only improve fuel economy, but they also improve performance, so therefore it is relevant.”

Nissan had already stated that their mission with the GT-R LM NISMO, in addition to taking home a championship title, is to revitalize the connection between motorsports and road cars. So, to base the next commercial Nissan GT-R on this new GT-R race car is actually a logical next step.

“We very clearly want to make technological linkages between future evolutions of the GT-R and evolutions of what we do in LMP1… Just to give you an example, consider wing mirrors. Our ZEOD RC hybrid racer doesn’t have wing mirrors. If you think about it, how stupid are they? They add drag, screw up fuel efficiency and their hopeless as visual aids compared to cameras.”

This explains why the ZEOD RC has round view mirrors instead of wing mirrors. Just like wing mirrors were originally introduced into road cars through the world of motorsports, Nissan hopes to reverse the trend the same way. This is just one example of how they hope to reignite the connection between motorsports and commercial cars.

As for exactly what specs we can expect from the next Nissan GT-R’s powertrain, it’ll likely keep the same 3.8L twin-turbo V6 with 542bhp used in the current model, but rumors hint that it’ll also introduce a hybrid system developed by F1-based Williams Advanced Engineering. This is the same engineering firm that developed the hybrid technology for the Audi R18 LMP1 racer, so it’s sure to be impressive.


New Nissan GT-R LM NISMO to Conquer 2015 Le Mans 24-Hour Race

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO

At a press conference in Europe last Friday, Nissan confirmed their intention to make a dramatic entry into the Le Mans 24 Hours race starting next year. Except, it won’t be in the Garage 56 category like they were with their quirky-but-cool ZEOD RC; it’ll be with a serious LMP1 category contender coming in the form of a new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.

Just how fearsome will this new Le Mans NISMO be? Take a look for yourself below; it’s pretty scary:

As you can see, Nissan is deliberately keeping an air of mystery about their newest GT-R. All we can see is the vague silhouette in the image at the top of this post and the quad taillights in the creepy teaser video. Obviously, this doesn’t tell us a whole lot about what we can expect from the 2015 GT-R LM NISMO.

Thankfully, Nissan VP Andy Palmer had more than a little bit to say about Nissan’s entry into next year’s Le Mans. At the press conference he explained, “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.”

However, next year’s Nissan GT-R LM NISMO will aim to do more than just break trends; Palmer explained that the Japanese automaker still has “unfinished business” in Le Mans racing. As you can see in the infographic below, it’s one of the few major motorsport events that Nissan has never won.

Nissan Racing Performance

So, while the new GT-R will certainly look good, Palmer also describes it as Nissan’s chance to target victory on yet another frontier. “We know that LMP1 competition is very tough, with serious manufacturer competition, but we are absolutely determined to make our cars competitive and operate strongly against those competitors.”

Finally, Andy Palmer revealed one last motive for entry into the Le Mans LMP1 category, and it’s one that we’ve hinted at before. A passionate Palmer emphasized, “Believe me, I think this is the car that will go down in the annals of time and be one of those cars which will be long remembered, not only for the fact that it will have won Le Mans, but also because it reset the real meaning of NISMO as a link between success on the track and success on the road.”

Now, those are bold, bold words. This guy has either drunk the hyperbole Kool-Aid one too many times, or he knows something we (and Porsche, Toyota and Audi) don’t. Is he nuts, or did Nissan create the NISMO flux capacitor? Only time will tell.

Given NISMO’s recent success, Nissan is justified in believing that now is the time to reignite the connection between the racetrack and the road. This year’s Le Mans promises to be exciting indeed.