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Friday, August 7, 2015

Nissan to Fix KERS / AWD Issues Before Returning to WEC

Nissan today announced that it will delay its return to the LM P1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and instead focus on technical issues that challenged its race team during the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Issues with the energy recovery system (ERS) meant that Nissan had to run at the Le Mans 24 Hours on engine power alone. The bespoke Nissan V6 3-litre twin turbo petrol engine and the unique aerodynamics of the GT-R LM NISMO proved to be the main strengths of the car at Le Mans but without a fully working ERS, many of the car's other systems were compromised.

"We know people will be disappointed but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us," said Shoichi Miyatani, President of NISMO. "We are racers and we want to compete but we also want to be competitive. That is why we have chosen to continue our test programme and prepare the GT-R LM NISMO for the strong competition we face in the World Endurance Championship. When you innovate you don't give up at the first hurdle. We are committed to overcoming this challenge."

"We've said it before but innovation hurts," said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. "We've built an LM P1 car that is very different to other racing cars as we continue to drive motorsport innovation. The beauty of this programme is that people have got behind us and they are willing us to succeed. This has shown us once again that people want something different in motorsport and that gives us increased motivation to make our LM P1 car competitive."

Nissan will continue the test programme for the GT-R LM NISMO, predominantly but not exclusively in the United States. Media updates will be issued as the car's development continues. A decision on the date for Nissan's return to the World Endurance Championship will be made in due course, depending on the progress of the test programme.

The GT-R LM Nismo features a unique front-engine layout, providing some aerodynamic advantages by allowing the rear bodywork to form a highly aero efficient tear-drop shape. The project was originally conceived as an all-wheel-drive, with approximately half of the GT-R LM Nismo's claimed 1,250 horsepower to be delivered by a dual flywheel based drive system to the rear axle.

The mostly mechanical transmission included a long tailshaft to the rear of the car coupled to a high mounted differential and a convoluted drivetrain consisting of a pair of high mounted outrigger gearboxes that step down to a short set of driveshafts that drive the rear wheels from the base of these gearboxes.

The entire exercise is done to prevent sticking driveshafts through the tunnels and reducing aero efficiency although it's clear that such a system is trading differential/gearbox energy efficiency losses for minor aero efficiency gains.

It's not certain this system even made it past the 3D rendering stage. As can be seen from the pictures below no rear wheel drive system was fitted to any of the Nismo cars entered at LeMans so it's unclear if the flywheel hybrid system was even on-board during the event.

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