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End of the road for Nissan’s weird and wonderful GT-R Le Mans car

Published: 23 December 2015

► GT-R LM Nismo won’t race in 2016
► Le Mans programme is cancelled
► Risky design proves a risk too far

Sad news for fans of innovative, risk-taking racing cars: Nissan has announced its radical GTR-LM Nismo Le Mans car won’t race in 2016.

The front-engined, primarily front-wheel-drive design endured a difficult 2015, missing the season’s opening races and struggling with reliability woes at the Le Mans 24hrs. After putting the project under review, Nissan had nonetheless committed to a return in 2016, but has now performed an about-face.

An official statement from the company has announced that it ‘will withdraw its LMP1 entry from the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.’

‘Nissan entered LMP1 in the 2015 season with an innovative, new and bold concept, with the ambition to compete at the front of the field,’ the statement continues. ‘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.’

Nissan will continue to race in the World Endurance Championship in the form of an engine supplier to teams in the LMP3 class.

The Nissan GT-R LM Nismo: a recap

There was little conventional about the Nismo LMP1 car. Not only did it put its engine in the front, it used it to power its front wheels too, largely in the name of aerodynamic packaging. The skinnier rear wheels were electrically driven. Three cars were entered at the 2015 Le Mans 24 hours; one made the finish line, but was discounted from the results because it failed to complete more than 70% of the winning car’s laps. Read a first-hand account of Nissan’s 2015 Le Mans adventure here.

However, the team gathered a huge amount of data and were hopeful of a more successful return in 2016. It seems a shame that we won’t see the fruits of their labours.

‘Innovation hurts’: why Nissan went radical for Le Mans 2015

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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