Nissan executive vice president of engineering Andy Palmer has announced no plans of fielding an LMP1 race car for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in the foreseeable future. For now, Nissan will remain committed to its production-based LMP2 entries, jumping into battle starting next week at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Expect its main LMP2 class competitors to include Honda, Lotus, and Judd-engined entries throughout the season. What’s more, Nissan is prepared to field 11 of the registered 18 LMP2 racing cars to make it on the grid of the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In evaluating the endurance racing landscape, Palmer explained, “We’ve no plans to do LMP1. The hybrid moves in that class are interesting, but there’s no link back for us to a diesel hybrid. The rules would have to open up to make petrol hybrid competitive and relevant to make it really interesting.”
Andy Palmer’s assessment seems quite accurate. Toyota initially announced two innovative TS030 petrol hybrid LMP1 entries for Le Mans this year, but the Japanese automaker was quickly answered with the unveiling of the diesel-hybrid R18 e-tron Quattro from Audi, the reigning Le Mans champions. The governing body of Le Mans, Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), are working to further modify regulations to make petrol engines more relevant and competitive.
Andy Palmer also hinted to other innovative racing projects for Nissan in the near future. In regards to questions about Nissan’s future projects, Palmer answered, “Something crazy. Whatever we decide to do, we like to win. Look at LMP2, GT3 and Super GT. The issue is linking that winning back to the brand, which is why we’ve starting our NISMO road car project.”
In terms of alternative energy motorsports, Palmer finds electric-powered competition more relevant than hybrid racing. “We think the possibilities are very interesting. Zero emission racing could take place indoors or in the heart of a city, so we’re looking at that.” Madison Square Garden Grand Prix, anyone?
GALLERY: Nissan LMP2
[Source: Auto Car]