- Jul 23, 2014
With the eyes of the sporting world upon them, Nissan used their multi-million dollar advertisement space during Super Bowl XLIX to reveal perhaps the most radical prototype sports car ever built - the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.
Less than nine months after Nissan first announced plans of competing in the premier class at Le Mans in 2015, and just weeks after spy shots were taken of an stealth black test car at Circuit of the Americas, Nissan's ultimate GT-R was unveiled to an audience of over 100 million viewers, revealing a stunning red livery, and carrying the unmistakable emblem of the company's flagship supercar.
“It gave us great pride to reveal the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO during the Super Bowl,” said Roel de Vries, the global head of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Nissan. “The combination of the Super Bowl and the Le Mans 24 Hours – two of the most watched sporting events in the world – presented us with a unique opportunity to showcase our most ambitious motorsport program in recent times. The GT-R is our flagship road car. This, the ultimate GT-R, continues a sporting bloodline that goes back three decades with NISMO, the motorsport and performance arm of Nissan. Le Mans drives innovation, so success on the track will lead to greater innovation in our road car range. We are the new kids at Le Mans. Our opponents are the best in the world, but we are ready.”
The GT-R LM NISMO is primarily powered by the Nissan VRX 30A powerplant; a three litre, twin-turbo, V6 petrol engine similar to the one used in the Nissan GT-R road car. Combined with a powerful hybrid powertrain with an output capacity of eight megajoules (8MJ) and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), the GT-R LM NISMO is capable of producing a staggering total of over 1,250 brake horsepower, which will be driven by a five-speed sequential transmission.
But the most unique characteristic of Nissan's new prototype is its powertrain layout - the GT-R LM NISMO is a front-engined, front-wheel drive prototype sports car, with its engine mounted in front of the driver, and its Michelin tyres at the front of the car a full five inches wider than those at the rear. It is the only front-engined prototype that will compete in the World Endurance Championship, a bold, unique design - in line with the previous works of Nissan's Team Principal and Technical Director Ben Bowlby, who along with Dan Gurney's legendary All American Racers group, helped to conceive the stunning DeltaWing prototype that first debuted at Le Mans in 2012, and the all-electric ZEOD RC that succeeded it two years later.
“Our LM P1 program makes the connection between NISMO on the road and NISMO on the track, showcasing our brand DNA to a global audience,” said Darren Cox, the global head of NISMO, in a press release. “We are taking motorsport to the masses, telling tales of technical innovation but also human stories via all of the exciting communications channels that are open to us now. We will innovate off the track as well as on it, so you can be assured that this is just the beginning of the story.”
The GT-R LM NISMO will make its racing debut in the 2015 WEC Six Hours of Silverstone on 12 April.
Nissan has also revealed the first of its fleet of nine drivers, veteran endurance racer Marc Gene. Gene won the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans with Peugeot, driving the 908 HDi FAP prototype with David Brabham and Alexander Wurz. He is the first and only Spanish driver to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In total, Gene has one win and four podium finishes in eight Le Mans starts from 2007 to 2014, driving for both Peugeot, and Audi, for whom he has appeared in the last three 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished second in last year's running. Gene also has victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, and is a veteran of thirty-six Formula One races as a race driver for Minardi and Williams, and has been a test driver for Scuderia Ferrari since 2005.
Cox announced in an exclusive interview with John Hindhaugh of Radio Le Mans that the remaining eight drivers will be revealed at a handful of events over the next several months, including at the Chicago Auto Show in February, the Geneva Auto Show in March, and the 2015 World Endurance Championship Prologue from Circuit Paul Ricard on 27-28 March.
Tag Heuer and Motul Lubricants have been also been confirmed as two major partners of Nissan's LMP1 programme.
Videos of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO
Added to the RaceDepartment media gallery are three videos for you to enjoy here, here and here.