After a nearly 16 year absence from full prototype racers, Nissan is set to enter their brand new GT-R LM Nismo in its first career endurance race. The Le Mans Endurance championship is a 24 hour race taking place in Le Mans, France on June 13. Surrounded by a full day of racing festivities, the Nissan GT-R Prototype is creating all the hype for what is expected to be one of the best races to date with and abundance of potent additions to the field.
Boasting 1,250 horsepower, the GT-R LM Nismo has flipped the conventional race model on its head. By shifting the engine up front, the front tires will bear the majority of the weight, a change Nissan believes they can take advantage of to separate themselves from the pack. A radical departure from the traditional race car, Nissan has made their new hypercar front wheel drive as opposed to the traditional rear wheel stance of almost every other car in the field.
With the weight up front, Nissan is able to harness the power of their twin-turbo V6 to its full potential with the help of an energy recovery system (ERS) which captures energy during breaking and stores it for later use. This technology is used by a number of vehicles in the LM racing class but the front wheel drive on the GT-R allows the vehicle to capture more energy and use it to take its output to the next level.
On engine power alone, the GT-R LM Nismo puts out 550 horsepower, when coupled with the ERS, the car receives an additional 700 horsepower rounding out the grand total to 1,250 hp. With a top speed of over 200 mph and a 0-60 in a little over 3 seconds, engineers at Nissan are confident in their cars ability to perform and win at the highest level with their first test at Le Mans in June.
Nissan believes this technology can be most beneficial off the racetrack by applying it to their production vehicles to increase fuel economy and acceleration. With endurance racing being a class dominated by hybrid cars, the new GT-R and its radical front wheel drive design may be foreshadowing the future of not only production vehicles, but the racing industry as a whole.