Nissan Returns to Le Mans with GT-R LM Nismo
Published May 12, 2015
As the days tick down to the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, racing enthusiasts anxiously await the performance of one unusual car – the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo. Nissan has stayed on the sidelines of the upper echelon of the 24-hour race, and its proposed re-entry after 16 years is nothing short of mind-warping.
The only thing the GT-R LM Nismo has in common with other entries is the use of a hybridized powertrain, which is also seen in Toyota, Audi, and Porsche’s race cars. Some of the differences are relatively small – the driver will sit behind the power sources rather than in front of them like in other cars. The minor differences like this, however, aren’t why designer Ben Bowlby calls the GT-R LM Nismo his “boldest undertaking.”
What is so bold about Nissan’s design is how it will achieve the necessary power on the challenging Circuit de la Sarthe track. The twin-turbo 3.0L V6 engine is estimated to put out only about 500 hp, which isn’t enough to stay competitive. Bowlby, however, assures that the engine is only responsible for about half the work, and the rest of the needed power comes from reaping the remainder of energy from the front-wheel brakes via Torotek’s custom Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS).
This system is comprised of two flywheels that take the energy from the brakes and transfer it to the front wheels through the driveshaft situated atop the engine. KERS can also transform the GT-R LM Nismo into an all-wheel drive when necessary by transferring that energy to a different driveshaft in the car’s rear end that powers the back wheels.
While most of the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo’s specifications remain secret for the time being, it is expected to achieve between 1250 and 1500 hp, which may not be enough. This innovative car, however, has things like superior fuel efficiency that reduces the need to stop for gas and careful weight distribution to increase the GT-R LM Nismo’s general efficiency.