Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan, announced Nissan’s re-commitment to the 24 Hours of LeMans earlier today (Feb. 26, 2013). The last time Nissan was in the 24 Hours of LeMans was last year when they contested the race with there experimental Nissan DeltaWing ( a racecar that was roughly half the weight and size of its competitors.)
According to Ghosn, NISMO’s latest foray into LeMans will be,
“an approach to innovation and excitement will be at the project's core, while confirming that the company will return as the "Garage 56" entry for innovative concepts with an all-new race car incorporating electric technology.”
Much like last year with Nissan’s Garage 56 entry (referring to the garage space relegated to the DeltaWing),
“The entry will test innovative new powertrain technology and provide the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) with data to enable all parties to evaluate the incorporation of this breakthrough technology ahead of a potential return to endurance racing in the future.”
Looking to the past for inspiration, Nissan has one of it's former GT1 racers to look to. Lining the wall of there NISMO headquarters is one of 8 Nissan R390’s that competed in the 1997 and 1998 running of the 24 Hours of LeMans which saw one of four entrants of their R390’s finishing 3rd overall in the 1998 running. Previously, Nissan had employed Nissan GT-R's using the infamous RB26DETT’s enlarged to displace 2.58 liters. In the GT-R’s running in 1995 and 1996, the Nissan GT-R’s only managed to place fifth as it’s highest finishing order. Along with the failure of the R390 (and later R391) to not manage much success, Nissan scraped its participation in the 24 Hours of LeMans until last year with the Nissan DeltaWing which unfortunately completed only 75 laps before being hit by Toyota’s experimental LMP1 Hybrid.
Nissan wants to build upon its racing heritage and history, and with the unifying face of NISMO as well as its re-commitment into the 24 Hours of LeMans, the dynamic company is well on its way to doing just that.