ILMC team award caps stunning debut season
The Nissan VK45DE engine has powered to a second major LMP2 team championship in as many weeks. After Greaves Motorsport’s Le Mans Series victory last week at Estoril, the Signatech Nissan outfit has, this weekend, picked up the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup title. Following the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Signatech Nissan has now scored 79 points, more than enough to give it the ILMC LMP2 team championship with one round still to be held.
Unlike the LMS, there is no driver’s title in the ILMC. Nevertheless, Signatech Nissan’s drivers Franck Mailleux, Jean-Karl Vernay, Soheil Ayari and Lucas Ordonez (winner of the inaugural PlayStation GT Academy) are undoubted champions for their performance this year with the 4.5-litre, Zytek prepared engine. In practice for Petit Le Mans, Jean-Karl was quickest of the ILMC LMP2 runners. During the race the team posted the fastest LMP2 lap but technical issues with the power steering dropped its Oreca-Nissan down to third place. Repairs made, it returned to finish the race and score enough points to secure the championship.
Victory in the ILMC crowns a peerless first season for the new engine. In addition to a drivers’ and two team titles, it has powered Zytek’s own Z11SN chassis and the Oreca 03 to six LMP2 class victories including that at the prestigious Le Mans 24-hours. At Paul Ricard and Estoril, Zytek Nissan engined cars finished third overall.
The naturally aspirated, 32-valve, 90-degree V8 Nissan VK45DE is based on the Japanese manufacturer’s Super GT engine with production cylinder block and heads. Repton-based Zytek, which has manufactured various external and internal components, has the rights to supply and service the unit in Europe and North America for the ILMC, LMS, ALMS and Le Mans itself.
There now remains just one race on the ILMC calendar, the Six Hours of Zhuhai, China on November 13. Signatech Nissan will be looking to underline the VK45DE’s great debut season with a seventh LMP2 class win for the engine.