After promising it would return to the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo team is withdrawing until it can fix its major technical issues. The Nissan LM Nismo program generated a ton of buzz ahead of its race at Le Mans, but ultimately failed to deliver anything close to a competitive showing. Two of the three cars failed to finish, and all three cars were 20 seconds off the pace of the winning Porsche prototypes.
Significant technical failures plagued the cars at Le Mans, particularly concerning the energy recovery system. Designed to boost output past 1,000 hp, the system never worked and starved the cars of several hundred horsepower. Combined with a clutch-adjustment problem on one car and a collision with a flying object at 200 mph, it was a rough day at Le Mans for the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo program.
“We have many areas to work on – not least ensuring that we have the best ERS option available to us,” said technical director Ben Bowlby, in a statement. “The team is pushing hard on track, in the wind tunnel and at NISMO’s various facilities around the world to deliver the long list of improvements we know that we need.”
Nissan’s front-engine, front-wheel-drive design for its GT-R LM Nismo car inspired a healthy conversation and debate among racing enthusiasts. Rivals criticized it harshly, with many skeptical the car was designed to anything more than drum up publicity.
“It hurts that we’re not faster, but we wouldn’t have built three cars if this was just a marketing effort,” Nismo head of brand, marketing, and sales Darren Cox told AUTOMOBILE. “I’m glad people are pissed off at us. If we’re doing such a good job [generating publicity] running at the back, it just shows what a bad job they’re doing when they’re winning.”
Cox says it will remain open about what’s going on with the program and feed the media updates as they happen. But all in all, this is indeed a step backward for the controversial Nissan GT-R LM Nismo program, which as of yet has shown the racing world nothing promising.