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Analysis: Nissan GT-R LM NISMO

Nissan GTR LM Nismo

As Le Mans 2015 kicks off today, a new competitor in the LMP1 category is making its debut – Nissan have entered the fiery pit that has belonged to Audi for many years. With Porsche coming in last year and Toyota sparking a resurgence against the dominant four rings, endurance racing has never been more popular in its entire history towards the front end of the grid.

Nissan’s challenger – the GT-R LM NISMO – is nothing short of the word different. It completely turns the philosophy of the modern high end endurance racer on its head, but Nissan are confident that in the future this will be a competitive design.

How is it different to the others?

The GT-R LM NISMO’s engine is a longitudinal front mounted 3 litre twin turbo V6, its power delivered to the front wheels via a 5-speed Xtrac sequential gearbox. The car also incorporates an epicyclic gear cluster to finetune final drive, much like you would find in an automatic transmission. Considering that there is a new fuel flow limit for this year’s World Endurance Championship, its power output of 500hp is pretty good.

As per the regulations, the Nissan is also equipped with hybrid technology in the form of two Torotrak flywheel energy stores, linked to a pair of motor generator units (MGUs – see more on these here) on each front wheel. These have an additional 750hp available so the total potential power output is a staggering 1,250hp.

The flywheel energy stores are also capable of sending energy to the rear wheels via two MGUs located inside each rear hub, which at times can make the Nissan an all-wheel-drive weapon. However it is unlikely they will run energy rearwards for this weekend as they have encountered some reliability issues in recent testing.

All of the car’s radiators are packaged tightly around the powertrain.

The front tyres are also larger than the rears at 360mm and 230mm respectively. This allows greater traction at the front driven wheels whilst reducing friction and creating more space at the rear for the diffuser. More on this in a moment… Continue reading