By: Kobe Lambeth
Early this morning, sports car racing fans awoke to some sad but not shocking news. Nissan Motorsports has confirmed the end of their factory LMP1 program as they pulled out of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The decision comes after a challenging campaign to match the pace of LMP1 rivals Audi, Toyota, and Porsche. Nissan went through many tests to help improve the pace of its car, but it was ultimately unsuccessful.
I remember watching the Super Bowl earlier this year. For sportscar racing fans, all of the hype surrounded the Nissan LMP1 car. There was lots of speculation that the car would have a front-engine design, which is significantly different than current LMP1 cars. The commercial was absolutely amazing as millions of people witnessed motorsports history. However, the majority of America probably did not know what they were looking at. The race fans definitely understood the significance of launching the factory LMP1 program on the world’s biggest stage.
It is such a shame that we will not see the true potential of the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo. My heart goes out to everyone involved in the program. Race fans worldwide got excited over this project and it ended abruptly. Honestly, I am not surprised the program ended as Nissan has been having lots of problems in testing. It was a matter of time and here we are today announcing that the Nissan LMP1 program is finished “for now.” We could see Nissan return to LMP1 in the next five to six years. Who knows? Anything is possible!
Where does the withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship leave Nissan Motorsports? There are multiple options for them to consider. First, they should add more resources to their GT3 racing program as they focus on their customers in 2016. In the future, Nissan could potentially bring back their LMP1 design and convert it to a GTE car! How cool would it be to see a Nissan GTE car? Another option is a two car factory DPi program in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship in 2017. This would give a few of the “former” Nissan factory drivers a new home in America. What do you think Nissan will do in the future race fans?
For more information on this topic go to: http://www.nissan-motorsports.com