Nissan Will Return to Le Mans in 2014 Emphasizing Electric Technology
Nissan will step up from the LMP2 class, as seen above, to LMP1 for 2014.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was a busy man today in Yokohama, Japan. Not only did Ghosn confirm that Nissan’s high-performance arm, NISMO, will produce a GT-R for next year, but he also dropped a bombshell in revealing that Nissan will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The automaker already is a big force in the French classic. The 2013 entry list shows 17 LMP2 machines powered by Nissan’s 4.5-liter VK45DE V-8 engine that has historically dominated that class against a handful of Honda-, Judd-, and Lotus-powered entries. And we all know about the DeltaWing. The next step will be a “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.
- Feature: Camp Le Mans—A Night with Audi’s New R8 GT
- Comparison Test: 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 vs. 2013 Nissan GT-R vs. 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
- Comparison Test: 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia vs. 2011 McLaren MP4-12C, 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Nissan is working with the organizers of Le Mans, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, and the FIA to create an LMP1 car with a major electric component. How does that differ from the Audi R18 e-tron or Toyota’s TS030? That’s not entirely clear at this point, but the FIA’s new regulations for 2014 places an emphasis on efficiency through further use of hybridization and electric propulsion. According to the FIA, “The reduction in fuel consumption can reach 30 percent compared to the current crop of cars. Energy recovery systems will be four-times more powerful than at present.” So Nissan’s development of electronic components for use in endurance racing would follow suit with the new regulations. Not only will Nissan’s return to Le Mans coincide with Porsche’s return to the class, but perhaps the best news for U.S. race fans is that all this potentially brings better race fields here next year when Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series merge.
By John Lamm