The Nissan NISMO GT-R LMP1 programme is delayed from entering the 2015 FIA WEC season until the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. Therefore meaning the team will miss the first couple of rounds at Silverstone and Spa of the FIA WEC, due to development issues. AUTOSPORT has however stated that NISMO will have a display car and the drivers present at Silverstone.
The concept from Nissan from a technical standpoint is radical, and exciting, though it comes with the unfortunate potential side effect of complications in the development of the car.
The project has been the talking point of the winter in terms of anticipation around its debut and the FIA WEC, so I imagine alot of people, myself included, will be rather disappointed by the news. However If it means the difference between Nissan entering with a strong car out the box, or a car that is on the backfoot from day one, I’m happy to wait a while for the team to sort out the issues.
We also have to remember the FIA WEC’s place in the hierarchy of these programmes, The allure for manufacturers is entering the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours in June, the World Championship itself effectively sits second to that for almost every programme on the grid, whether it is a factory or a smaller privateer entrant. It’s not right to see the World Championship entirely as a gateway to Le Mans because it does have more substance than that, though it will never match the desires of entering Le Mans first and foremost.
I respect the decision that Nissan have taken to continue testing, rather than racing, despite being disappointed. It worked for Toyota in 2012 when the returning Toyota delayed its debut until Le Mans and subsequently came out the box with a promising start, so the precedent exists.
Elsewhere, the entry list for Silverstone still looks very strong across all four classes, whilst at the end of the day, we have three manufacturers battling in LMP1, despite Rebellion and Nissan not being present. The season opener still has all the ingredients to allow for a great race.
Elsewhere in the Sportscar racing world, despite neither being able to secure a full season Indycar entry, both Conor Daly and Justin Wilson are scheduled to join the entry list at the IMSA Tudor United Sportscar Championship’s Sebring 12 hours this coming weekend.