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.
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.