Nissan to Return to Le Mans in 2014 as Garage 56 Entry

The lightweight Nissan Delta Wing in theory had enough horsepower to be as fast as any Le Mans racer. In racing reality, it was more than 20 seconds a lap slower.

During the opening of the new NISMO headquarters and development center near Yokohama in Japan, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the company will return to Le Mans 24 Hours in 2014 in Garage 56, a spot reserved for experimental cars that do not fit any existing class.

In 2012, a number 0 Nissan Delta Wing ran at the world’s most famous endurance race from the same unclassified Garage 56 spot. The real Japanese racers that were closely watched at Le Mans last year were a pair of Toyota hybrids, which ran in the fastest LMP1 class but lost to Audi.

“We will return to Le Mans with a vehicle that will act as a high-speed test bed in the harshest of environments for both our road car and race car electric vehicle technology,” said Ghosn. With all racing organizations searching for relevance – and perhaps a return to something bearing the resemblance of actual production cars or at lest a marketable hook – it is not surprising that the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hours, will once again allow a Nissan purpose built racer to run.

The only other information about the racer is that it will incorporate electric vehicle technology, leading speculation that perhaps Nissan will run an early version of a hybrid car ahead of a potential return to endurance racing in the future, during the same race where Toyota and Audi will run unlimited hybrid racers. These are the only two companies thus far using hybrid technology at Le Mans in the fastest LMP1 class, although Porsche had said it would also do so in 2014.

Audi has dominated at Le Mans in recent years, of course, including an overall victory last year for 11 in total, which means Audi now has two more victories than Ferrari in the top class, although Porsche still holds the factory record with 16 and has announced a return in 2014 with a hybrid.

Conventional Nissan power will continue at Le Mans in the interim. The 2013 Le Mans entry list has 17 Nissan-NISMO-powered cars, the largest entry by a manufacturer in 15 years. The NISMO-tuned Nissan VK45DE V8 engine is now firmly established as the powerplant of choice for the majority of the LMP2 racing teams, which generally run older versions of the fastest LMP1 cars. All cars will carry the designation “powered by Nissan NISMO.”

Read AutoInformed on:

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
This entry was posted in auto news, concept, electric vehicles, racing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *