With the Le Mans Test Day now behind us we return once more to our 'Road to Le Mans' series. This time, against the background of the yesterday's test, we're taking a look at where the three 'lesser' LMP1 outfits lie in the grand scheme of things: Nissan, Rebellion and Team ByKolles Nissan Wow. Where to start with with Nissan? It's fair to say there has been a fair amount of hype, not necessarily in favour of a good debut, surrounding Nissan's return to endurance racing, and especially to the Test Day when we saw how they raced side by side with the LMP1 big guns. But, safe to say it wasn't pretty. Despite posting the quickest speed through the speed traps (336kph/208mph) Nissan ended the day over 22 seconds slower than the leading Porsche, and 17 seconds slower than the 8th placed #2 Toyota. Of course, a lot could be said for varying fuel loads and strategies, and the fact Nissan had almost no data of the circuit before yesterday's two sessions, but the fact is that at the moment they seem to be mixing it with the LMP2s, and not the quick LMP2s at that. Nissan themselves lay the blame on the timing of the rain, which they claim prevented any of their three cars from posting a representative dry weather time, with Team Principle Ben Bowlby instead pointing towards their wet weather running where Mardenborough was 'one of only two cars recording laps under the four minute mark'. Unfortunately then it seems we will have to wait ever so slightly longer before getting a real read of Nissan's true performance. Hopefully by then they'll at least be level pegging the privateer LMP1 teams. Rebellion Whilst Nissan had to resort to press releases to back up their pace Rebellion could instead do their talking on the track, but the progress they've actually made is still a little hard to define. On paper their performance yesterday was pretty solid. The #12 machine was clearly the 'next best' after the top three LMP1 outfits and the #13 would arguably had been right their with them if the rain hadn't come in. But when we look at last years Le Mans, Rebellion's situation seems to have stagnated rather than progressed. When the checkered flag fell on the second session on Sunday Rebellion's best effort of the meeting was around 3.5 seconds slower than the #2 Toyota. But how far were they off the major LMP1 teams last season you ask? The answer: 3.9 seconds. So from what we can determine at this very early stage is that Rebellion have only ever so slightly clawed back the gap between them and the top rung of endurance racing. But even still, considering the team is operating on a fraction of the budgets Audi, Porsche and Toyota are boasting, the fact that they are able to get so close is impressive in itself. I will certainly be cheering on the two red Rebellion's come race day. ByKolles Finally we come the last LMP1 team in Team ByKolles, and from yesterday taught use very little has changed in their situation. You'd perhaps be forgiven for forgetting that the ByKolles machine has been competing in LMP1 all so far albeit woefully off the pace. In fact last time out they only narrowly avoided being out qualified by the lead LMP2 #26 G-Drive Racing machine by just half a second whilst their nearest LMP1 challenger was 9 seconds up the road. But even that was progress from Silverstone where they were beaten in qualifying by no less than four LMP2 cars. So with that context, the fact that ByKolles closed the day 12 seconds slower than (you guessed it!) the #2 Toyota suggests that little progress has been made in the time since Spa. Add on top of that Rebellion's good form and it seems ByKolles is set for an even rougher time than it is currently enduring, but they can at least take solace in beating Nissan for now. The Conclusion All in all however (and in slight contradiction to the negativity of this article) the LMP1 racing scene is most definitely the most exciting it has been for years, and also far better off for having the likes of Nissan, Rebellion and ByKolles gracing it with their presence. We'll just have to hope that by the time the race comes around in a little under two weeks time that these three teams will be right up there with the big boys. Next time on the Road to Le Mans: LMP2 and the GT Classes. A run down of their season so far and who to lookout for at Le Mans. Do you think that Nissan might have bitten off more than they can chew? Or perhaps instead that they or Rebellion and ByKolles might be a dark horse come race day? Comment below!