Despite repeated setbacks to its hybrid racing program, Nissan has remained steadfastly focused on the Circuit de la Sarthe and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The automaker is so obsessed with Le Mans, in fact, that the new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO race car will be skipping the first two races of the World Endurance Championship to get all the bugs out before the day-long competition.
That’s the word from Autosport, which quotes Nissan’s global racing chief Darren Cox that:
“Our main aim for this year was always Le Mans and we have decided to re-focus on that race.
“It’s no secret that with such a different car that we have faced a number of challenges, so right now we would rather be testing in April and May rather than racing.”
Cox went on to say that the FIA has been “very supportive” of Nissan’s decision to withdraw, despite the automaker missing the season openers at Silverstone and Spa. Keep in mind though that this isn’t the first time an automaker has skipped the first races of the WEC, as Toyota did exactly the same thing a few years ago before the Japanese automaker finally got its program together and became WEC winners last year. Then again, Toyota has also pretty much stuck with its race car design, while Nissan is on its third WEC contender (DeltaWing, ZEOD RC, GT-R LM) in as many years.
So what specifically is keeping the Nissan GT-R LM from racing? Rumor has it that the 1,250 horsepower hybrid race car failed its crash test due to an issue with its front roll structure, though Cox wouldn’t confirm that. It could simply be that Nissan’s latest racing effort is up to snuff when to comes to other competitors. Nobody ever said building a race car (or electric vehicles, for that matter) would be easy.
For you Nissan fans eagerly awaiting a return of the endurance racing season, you’re gonna have to wait just a little be longer to see a Godzilla with racing stripes take on the world’s most famous endurance race.