With Porsche joining Audi and Toyota at the front of the LMP1 grid at Le Mans next year, Nissan is the next to be throwing its hat (and considerable R&D budget) into the proverbial ring. But only if it’s allowed to do something radically different, according to the latest report in Car magazine.
Just what that means remains to be seen, but Nissan is reportedly in active discussions with the ACO (the body that governs the race) to see how far it can stretch the regulations. The ACO has taken an intriguingly different approach to equalizing performance, mandating the maximum amount of energy that can be used per lap instead of telling teams what kind of engines they can use. That’s how Porsche is entering with a four-cylinder engine, Toyota with a V8 and Audi with a diesel six. But when it comes to the shape of the car itself, the rules are considerably more restrictive.
Unfortunately the rules would prohibit Nissan fielding the ZEOD RC (with its narrow front track) in the LMP1 class, relegating it instead to the Garage 56 slot for experimental racers (which the DeltaWing filled before). And the realities of endurance racing would effectively prohibit anyone from fielding an all-electric racer. Within those confines, though, Nissan is eager to find enough wiggle room to make something both visually and technically different from other LMPs. And if the ACO won’t let it do so at Le Mans, it could turn to another race or series (like the Nürburgring 24) that would.