Nissan turned up to Le Mans with three of its radical front-wheel drive GT-R LM Nismo machines. Only one finished. And it was 153 laps behind the winning Porsche, the last of the classified LMP1 runners. Only two LMP1 cars failed to finish the race and they were both Nissans. It was a tough day for the Nismo team.
Yet, a quick glance of the post-race headline from Nissan could leave you mistaken for who actually won the race.
“Mission accomplished at Le Mans for Nissan,” it boldly states!
Yeah, erm, sorry guys but we’re pretty sure your mission wasn’t to walk the tightrope between admiration for having a crack and outright embarrassment for being so under prepared, so far off the pace and just downright loopy.
In Nissan’s favour it was always going to be very tough for the GT-R LM to make its race debut in the spotlight of Le Mans. And there is a lot of good will out there for this project. But not a lot from Germany it would seem.
An unnamed spokesman from one of the two German teams labelled Nissan’s effort as “a disgrace”. Further, after confirming with Max Prince from Road & Track that his identity would remain secret he went in off the long run.
“What is their intention?” asked the secret German. “You can come here and do whatever you want, say whatever you want, but when the final minutes come, what will you show? That’s what racing is about.
“Is coming to race just a marketing tool? Just marketing? That’s what pisses me off. In the old days, the technical side was on top. Now, marketing is the top. The technical side is not as important.
“And if it is just marketing that Nissan is doing, then there is something wrong with the sport. If [the car] isn’t showing promise in simulations and testing, it will never fly. Never. They may be embarrassed, but they knew from the beginning, after the Sebring test. Stay home. Even if it’s totally different, it still has to work.”
He thinks the the GT-R LM is a turd. And maybe it is a turd, only time will tell. Right now, based on its lack of performance, which to be fair is mostly due to a lack of preparation, the GT-R LM is one massive turd. Well, three turds actually.
After the break you can read Nissan’s press material and see that, if nothing else, they win the “How to polish a turd” PR award for the week.
40th (-153 laps) #22 – Krumm (GER), Tincknell (GB), Buncombe (GB)
DNF #23 – Chilton (GB), Mardenborough (GB), Pla (FRA)
DNF #21 – Matsuda (JAP), Ordonez (ESP), Shulzhitskiy (RUS)
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