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Nissan’s GT-R LM won’t race in 2016

Confirmation that Nissan has withdrawn LMP1 entry from WEC next year. Boo

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Nissan has confirmed that it won’t be returning to the top tier at Le Mans in 2016 with its GT-R LM. In fact, the car won’t be taking any part in next year’s World Endurance Championship.

In a short, brief statement released today, the company said that though it entered LMP1 this year “with an innovative, new and bold concept, with the ambition to compete at the front of the field,” it wouldn’t be able to meet its performance goals.

“The teams worked diligently to bring the vehicles up to the desired performance levels,” Nissan said, “however, the company concluded that the programme would not be able to reach its ambitions and decided to focus on developing its longer term racing strategies.”

Nissan will instead pour its considerable expertise into engine programmes in the WEC, including the recent introduction of the LMP3 engine. Don’t forget, Nissan is a huge engine player in the LMP2 category too.

The GT-R LM was of course, announced way back in May 2014; it was Nissan’s revolutionary 1250bhp LMP1 contender, using a different concept – which you can read all about here – set to kick it with Audi, Porsche and Toyota.

While the brief was a huge one, its maiden year was sadly beset by difficulties.

A failed crash test in March this year meant missing out on crucial development miles at Silverstone, and the team had to field three GT-R LMs at Le Mans that didn’t have a rear-drive hybrid system.

Of the three cars at Le Mans, only one finished. “We managed 600 laps across the three cars, which I’m very proud of,” GT-R LM designer Ben Bowlby told TG at the time.

Even in October this year, Nissan was still allied to the idea of bringing an updated version of the GT-R LM into the 2016 championship. The company brought in a new team principal and had already made “multiple changes to the car since Le Mans”.

Which means today’s announcement marks the end of a brief, interesting chapter. Nismo driver Al Buncombe tweeted: “Very sad to see the end of the road for the Nismo LMP1 Le Mans programme with the GT-R LM. Big effort from those involved.

“It was a privilege to be part of the Nismo project for my debut at Le Mans this year,” he added.

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