Despite having to retire two of their three entries, Nissan says their outing to the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans was a huge success. The automaker’s radical front-wheel, drive front-engine GT-R LM Nismo didn’t put up much of a fight against the likes of Audi and Porsche, however Nissan says being able to finish all 24 hours in the all-new racer is a huge plus.
Nissan’s day got off to a rough start Saturday when the No. 23 GT-R LM Nismo of Jann Mardenborough, Max Chilton and Olivier Pla was delayed at the start with clutch problems. They were eventually able to rejoin the race and saw the hiccup as a positive, with Mardenborough saying the late start meant they “missed out on any danger.”
The first Nissan retirement came when the No. 21 car of Tsugio Matsuda, Lucas Ordonez and Mark Shulzhitskiy lost a front wheel around the 10-hour mark. Matsuda attempted to bring the car back to the pits but was unable to reach them due to the car’s FWD layout. The No. 23 car then retired with about an hour left in the race due to a suspension issue, leaving the No. 22 car of Harry Tincknell, Michael Krumm and Alex Buncombe to complete the race.
Earlier on in the day, the No. 22 looked like it would be the least likely of the three to finish the race. Nine hours Tincknell hit a large piece of on the entrance of Indianapolis Corner at about 211 mph, relegating them to the pits and forcing them to lose valuable time. They made it to the end of the 24 hours, but unfortunately were not included in the final results as they had only completed 242 laps.
“Most LM P1 manufacturers don’t finish Le Mans at their first attempt, so it was important for us to hit this target,” said Nissan’s Darren Cox. “The guys in the garage are the heroes this weekend, and the drivers have all done an incredible job – sometimes in very difficult circumstances. They needed physical and mental strength in equal measure this weekend and every one of the nine delivered for us. We have done exactly what we needed to do: We dug in, we solved our problems, we exploited the limits of our current performance, and we finished the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
There’s no doubt the Nissan and the GT-R LM Nismo will be looking for a better result when they head to the next race of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Nurburgring on August 30.