After a 16-year break from the biggest event in endurance racing, Nissan will once again return to the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this time with a trio of unusual race cars aimed at upending convention in the LM P1 class.
In case you weren’t already aware, Nissan’s entries will sport a number of features that are a clean break from the usual prototype racer. Most notable are the driveline layouts, which will be front-engine and FWD, rather than the usual mid-engine, RWD/AWD layout found in top competitors from the likes of Audi and Porsche.
Taking the helm will be an international assemblage of nine drivers plucked from the ranks of Formula One and sports car racing. Nissan will also source hot-shoes from its GT Academy, a competition program that offers Gran Turismo gamers the chance to take their virtual skills into the real world with a shot at a pro racing career.
Behind the wheel of the #23 car will be ex-F1 racer Max Chilton, GT Academy winner and GP3 competitor Jann Mardenborough, and sports car star Olivier Pla. Meanwhile, NISMO athlete Michael Krumm, LM P2 Le Mans-winner Harry Ticknell, and GT Academy ace Alex Buncombe will be assigned the #22 car. Finally, the #21 car, which is draped in a special red, white, and blue livery to commemorate the Nissan R90CK that managed to clinch a pole position at Le Mans 25 years ago, will be driven by current Super GT Champion Tsugio Matsuda, premiere GT Academy winner and current Super GT500 competitor Lucas Ordonez, and the first GT Academy Russia winner, Mark Shulzhitskiy.
Look for the three Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs to take the track on Wednesday, June 10th, for the free practice session. Qualifying gets underway a bit later on Wednesday and runs into Thursday evening, followed by the official start of the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans on Saturday, June 13th.
Continue reading for the full story.