By on July 20, 2015

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO at Le Mans 2015

After a less than stellar result for Nissan at the 24 Hours of LeMans this year, Carlos Ghosn has stated the program — at least in its current form — is under review.

According to Sportscar365 (via AutoBlog), “high-level executive meetings” were to take place last week and could decide on the future of Nissan’s front-wheel drive endurance contender.

Speaking at London’s Formula E race last month, Ghosn was up front about the future of Nissan’s latest creation.

“Nissan has always been associated with innovation,” Ghosn said. “We made an attempt that did not prove fruitful. We must reassess the strategy.

“We wanted to be different and competitive but we’ve only been different.”

The team is still planning to take part in a test at Circuit of the Americas later this month.

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21 Comments on “Front-wheel Drive Nissan GT-R LM NISMO Might Be Non-hit Wonder...”

  • avatar

    I thought “non-hit” was a reference to the GT-R that smacked the racetrack wall in the hands of a road tester because the underdesigned brakes fried.

  • avatar

    The car needs more development! You can’t say that an all-new prototype is a failure after not winning its first race. It’s a huge accomplishment that even one of the cars completed Le Mans. I hope they don’t prematurely drop the program; this is one of the more interesting works prototype programs since the mazda rotaries in the nineties.

    • 0 avatar

      The car is a failure after neither car managed to complete 70% of the race distance or turn a lap within 18 seconds of the leaders in its class. The Nissans were running at the pace of GT cars. That much missing pace is probably more than just some “development” away.

      • 0 avatar

        It was slow because it was *broken*. The hybrid section wasn’t working right so there was zero power to the rear. Which utterly destroyed the balance of the car, acceleration, you name it. Maybe the design is quick and maybe it isn’t, but basing the decision on its performance at Lemans is like test driving a car with two flat tires and concluding that the design is hopeless.

    • 0 avatar

      When you skip the rest of the WEC season and make LeMans your debut, it could be ugly and that’s what happened. I would have at least tried to run Spa before LeMans to shake the car down. That might have dampened expectations a little for the 24 hour race.

  • avatar

    Fail Wheel Drive indeed.

  • avatar

    Front-wheel drive is the automotive equivalent of a dog dragging its ass on the carpet with its hind legs up in the air.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually it made much sense in the pre-traction control days and when automakers were willing to give FWD cars fairly flat floors because of the lack of drive shaft.

      January 1999 Northwest Ohio, blizzard passes through, level 3 snow emergency declared. Lucky me, I happened to be at home because of Winter Break from college. My car (1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme RWD) and my sister’s car (1982 Chevy Celebrity FWD) are sitting in the driveway side by side. A nice big snowdrift had pilled up behind them. Dad and I went out, started the cars and let them get nice and warm. We wanted to make sure they would start and move them to the area we had already cleared snow from.

      I jump in the Cutlass (307 V8 and posi-trac rear) I can hardly budge it. Rocking it back and forth but I get stopped by the drift every time. Dad jumps in the Celebrity (Iron Duke no traction aiding device) and backs right up over the drift. (gravel driveway FWIW)

      90% of drivers can’t tell the difference. But that’s the same 90% who think AWD is a luxury feature.

      • 0 avatar

        Yup, I remember times like that. Well put.

        Pity there wasn’t any snow at Le Mans this year.

      • 0 avatar

        “willing to give FWD cars fairly flat floors because of the lack of drive shaft”


        For most uses and most cars, FWD is simply the ideal way to package a car. Up to and including the Promaster/Ducato. But once the differentiation dweebs and a hollowing Gini curve went pearshaped, even FWD cars started to see the “need” to make room for a rear shaft. Sadly.

        Being that this is a post about “GT” cars, the most composed Gran Turismo I’m aware of for the road is the Panamera. And even a car that quick, driven GT style (meaning with some value being placed on smooth and conserving momentum rather than on extracting every last second from every straight by standing on either the gas or brake like a racer), the V6 gives up precious little to even the turbo. And, tuned to ITR levels of perfection, the V6 wouldn’t be all that inferior as a GT if it was FWD rather than RWD. While getting rid of the driveshaft tunnel would make it much more “practical” as a daily driver and less weird. I can fully understand P not engaging in that sort of sacrilege, but really wish Honda/Acura would pick up that particular baton. Being Honda, they’d of course have to do it with an I4 instead of a 6 just because they could, but that would be OK too.

  • avatar

    I don’t know what they were expecting at this point in the developmental process with a completely clean sheet design. They need to race it more than once and test the heck out of it before giving up on the concept.

  • avatar

    I’m guessing that this is engineering saying it’s technically more interesting and marketing saying but we can’t sell a losing effort.

  • avatar
    John R

    Yeah, “front” wheel drive. I like Nissan, but this sticks in my craw. The car was about as much “FWD” as the new Chrysler 200 AWD.

    Their system, as I understand it, sent power to the rear in the event of a loss of traction; like any of the countless FWD-based AWD cars on the street today.

    I guess “the first FWD-based AWD drive car in Le Mans” isn’t sensational enough.

    • 0 avatar

      The 200 is one step BEHIND slip-and-grip AWD. Chrysler installed a complicated system that disengages the drive shaft AND the rear half-shafts in normal cruise mode. It takes over 0.4 seconds for the system to re-engage the prop shaft and half-shafts. Completely and utterly useless for either performance or controllability on icy roads. Add in the ZF 9 speed that is asleep at the switch all the time, and you have nothing worth buying.

      The two 200 V6’s I drove before I found this out drove like unresponsive heavy FWD cars on dry roads. Disappointment where there could have been greatness, but all the brain cells were switched off at the design stage just to save 0.5 mpg and deliver nothing but extra weight..

  • avatar

    I’m sure it will be remembered fondly by electronic gamers through whatever single make race it must be used to win in Gran Turismo 7 that is if SONY doesn’t go tits up before then.

  • avatar

    Being “different” and “competitive” don’t mix in the world of racing, at least when executed like this.

    Imagine if a baseball player decided to bat in a weird way, just cuz “its different”.

  • avatar

    I think their Nismo team oversold it to management.

    They specifically said they did not want to make a Nissan Audi R18 E-tron ie. do what everyone else is doing.

    And yet its such a complicated thing now that how can one even guarantee or promise even a podium in 3 or 5 or more years. And that’s with a conventional chassis. With a moonshot like this?

    You have to chuck hundreds of millions at it. You would think Nissan management would understand what with their storied motorsport past… hell you would think Nissan RENAULT would understand motorsport isnt built and won in a single year.

    • 0 avatar

      The reason that they didn’t want to build a Nissan R18 is that they knew they’d never compete by trying to do the same thing with less money and less experience. Their only chance at a competitive car was a clever interpretation of the rule book. The design itself seems rather promising ibut they were still trying to do too much with limited resources and money. A more conventional electric hybrid system probably would’ve been wiser than the “flybrid” system that they never really got running right

  • avatar

    Racing is an unforgiving testing environment. Radical projects like the GT-R-LM and the Deltawing don’t have the luxury of having years to work out the bugs.

  • avatar

    This was a few years back but after seeing some Skullcandy Altimas fail to even finish their respective race, and a race-spec Nissan GTR loose qualifying via broken suspension, I’m thinking Nissan just needs to step up their quality.

  • avatar

    I hope they make it work. It has some great ideas.

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