On March 18 (Japan time), according to the report of the World Endurance Championship (WEC)’s official website, Nissan that will be competing in the LMP1 top class in the WEC this season as a factory team will not take part in the two opening races. They seem to have decided to delay their actual participation until the third round of the 24-hours of Le Mans.
WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said, “Even in the past, there were situations where competing manufacturers (factory teams) were not able to participate in the season’s start. Therefore, Nissan is not the first to have gone through this, and it would also not be the last. The development of the hybrid vehicle, that will compete in the LMP1 (LMP1-H) class, is very challenging as it requires a certain amount of time.”; then he added, “We are confident that Nissan’s LMP1 vehicle will match the grid on the Le Mans (third round of WEC, Finals on June 13 to 14).
The WEC has eight rounds to participate in in total. However, the third round holds a greater value than the series title in the traditional 24-hours of Le Mans. Every year, The first half of the series is like a warm-up race for the third round. Both the 6-hour first round Silverstone (finals on April 12) and the second round Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (finals on May 2), are considered as the pre-finals of the Le Mans. Particularly, the round 2 Spa highlights those characteristics including the course characteristics. However, the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo LMP1 vehicle that is said to be an FF is a figure that will debut with its performance in the Le Mans.
Darren Cox is the head of Global Motorsports in Nissan. He said the following on the WEC official website. “Our main aim for this year is as always Le Mans; we have decided to re-focus on that race. It’s no secret that with such a different car, we will have to face a number of challenges. So right now, we would rather be testing this April and May rather than racing.”
So far, Testing and Developing for the GT-R LM Nismo vehicle have been conducted in the United States. Furthermore, it has already been announced that Nissan is planning to have two units participate in the usual WEC and three units in the Le Mans for this season’s LMP1.
This season, Nissan will participate in the LMP1-H class together with Audi, Toyota, and Porsche. They will compete for the overall victory of Le Mans, the forefront of the WEC. It will develop into a battle of four factory teams. Since Nissan will appear late in the actual race, its development is actually attracting much attention; what kind of performance will they show at the Le Mans?
(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)