Nissan puts Le Mans prototype program under review

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Nissan had a challenging time developing its GT-R LM Nismo, then it faced enormous challenges at Le Mans, the race it designed the car for, and now the race outfit is dealing with challenges in the boardroom. While the outfit gets ready for a test at the Circuit of the Americas, Sportscar365 reports that Nissan executives in Japan are deciding how to proceed with their LMP1 program.

The meetings were presaged last month by CEO Carlos Ghosn, who said at last month's Formula E race in London that "we must assess the strategy. We wanted to be different and competitive, we have only been different." Both Ghosn's wording and that of the Sportscar365 piece make it seem that company bosses are wrangling over continuing with "the current specification" of the GT-R LM Nismo, not the entire two-year race program. If that's the case and the decision goes against, we could see a more traditional Nissan racer in La Sarthe next year.

While it's easy for us to say this, we think that would be a shame. Le Mans is hard enough to win with a massive budget and a traditional race car - just ask Peugeot and Toyota, and remember that Porsche didn't go home covered in laurels its first year back, either. Given just how different Nissan's car is, a year in the deep weeds at the world's biggest and least forgiving endurance race against veteran competition isn't an outrageous outcome. And remember, persistent issues prevented the team from using the car's hybrid system, robbing the GT-R LM Nismo of half its horsepower and rear-wheel drive. That was never going to go well.

Can the engineers get the GT-R LM Nismo to work properly? We don't know. But we'd like to see them get a proper chance to get it right.

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