If we are looking for the biggest disappointment of the year, look no further than Nissan’s GT-R LM Nismo prototype race car.
Back in February 2015, Nissan unveiled its World Endurance Championship (WEC) contender, the Le Mans Prototype 1 Hybrid (LMP1) category to the world with the intent on challenging established competitors such as Porsche, Toyota and Audi. Nissan’s entry, the GT-R LM Nismo, was best described as “unorthodox” for many reasons.
Not only did its looks raised many eyebrows, the technical setup was totally out of the box as well. The GT-R LM is basically the opposite of its competitors, with its front engine and front-wheel drive configuration. Nissan claimed this is done all in the name of “aerodynamics“, emphasising on downforce over the driven wheels and cleaner airflow at the rear.
Its 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, when combined with its electrical hybrid system, is poised to produce a mind boggling 1,250 hp. The team also went all out by hiring nine drivers to drive three cars in this year’s 24 hours of Le Mans. As the moniker suggest, it’s inspired by the legendary Nissan GT-R, hoping to reach the similar level of success the latter has enjoyed so far.
Sadly, everything went south for Nissan as a multitude of problems had caused all three cars to retire from the race. Its technical complication, followed by its slow pace had forced Nissan to return to the drawing board, subsequently pulling out from the remainder of the 2015 WEC season.
After some private testing with the car, Nissan finally threw in the towel, announcing that they won’t be racing in next year’s WEC. To rub salt into the wound, Nissan announced that the project’s 40 staffs will lose their jobs via email, just three days before Christmas!
Despite that setback, Nissan admits motorsports remains important to them, and 2015 has been a good year with titles won from Super GT, Blancpain Endurance Pro Class and Bathurst 12 Hours. Nissan also will remain as an engine supplier for the smaller and slower LMP2 and LMP3 class in the WEC.
It’s sad to note that this “platypus” shaped race car could be an example of how being innovative and thinking out of the box could win races, more so when rules and regulations are tight in motorsports. Ultimately, the only sentence that aptly describe this is “ambitious but rubbish“.
Photo Credits: Nissan