LONDON, May 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Nissan will unleash the GT-R and go head-to-head with Audi, Porsche and Toyota at Le Mans in 2015. The Japanese manufacturer will also contest the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship with a full factory effort of two LM P1 cars. Nissan's LM P1 car will be called the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, carrying on a sporting bloodline that stretches back 30 years and recognizes the company's flagship road car, the Nissan GT-R.
Automobile Club de l'Ouest President, Pierre Fillon joined Nissan's Chief Planning Office & Executive Vice-President, Andy Palmer; NISMO President Shoichi Miyatani and NIMSO Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, Darren Cox, for the announcement in London.
"We applaud the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and FIA for the work they have done to get the rules right," continued Palmer. "LM P1 is not just an arms race – all our rivals in the class have taken different technical approaches and we will be doing the same. We want to win in a very different way to that of our rivals. We won't be turning up in a vehicle which is a basically another hybrid that looks like another Porsche, Audi or Toyota - they all look the same to me - our intention is to do something that is a little bit different."
Nissan has steadily increased its participation in motorsport in recent times through innovative programs, such as Nissan PlayStation GT Academy and the ACO's Garage 56 initiative.
"Nissan is connecting in motorsport in many ways through its performance arm, NISMO," said Cox. "In recent years we have taken a new approach to motorsport - not racing for racing's sake – but carefully considering our reasons to engage with our global competition."
The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 now races all over the world, not least in Europe where it is driven by the NISMO Athletes, the winners of GT Academy. Nissan's LM P2 engine is the standout P2 power plant in recent years and the company's commitment to the ACO's Garage 56 initiative demonstrates its love of a technical challenge. What Nissan learns on the track is fed through to its road cars to deliver technical innovation across the product range.
"We have chosen to take the GT-R name to Le Mans as the GT-R symbolizes the ultimate in Nissan's performance," explained Miyatani-san. "It is a true aspirational brand; a car our fans, our customers love to drive, and love to own. We have been using GT-R in motorsport for many years now, in Super GT and GT3. For us LM P1 is the ultimate test. We have unfinished business at Le Mans and now we have our chance to target victory with the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO."
The race is now on to get Nissan's LM P1 car on the grid in 2015. Announcements will be made in due course concerning the drivers of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, who will come from both inside and outside of the Nissan family. The date the new car will first take to the track and the full technical specifications will also be revealed in due course but the intentions of Nissan are clear.
As innovators in sports marketing, Nissan deliberately took a non-traditional approach to F1 with its prestige Infiniti brand through its association with Red Bull Racing. Outside motorsport, Nissan is an official partner of the UEFA Champion's League with a new four-year deal. Fittingly, the Champion's League final is this weekend and fans can expect to see a new approach to Nissan's sports marketing initiatives within the 'beautiful game'. Nissan is also proud to be the Official Automotive Partner of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
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