Japanese manufacturer's engines will dominate round-the-clock classic, powering more than half of all LMP2 cars plus the experimental Nissan DeltaWing
•Nissan engines used by 25% of the field, more than any other manufacturer•Experimental Nissan DeltaWing - which aims to use half the fuel of conventional racers - spearheads dominant entry to 24 Hours•More than half the LMP2 field - 13 out of 20 cars - choose Nissan
Nissan will be the dominant force at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, with a quarter of all entries running on Nismo-tuned Nissan power.
Spearheading Nissan's dominant entry to the famous endurance race, on June 16/17, will be the hugely innovative, experimental racing car - the Nissan DeltaWing - which aims to change the face of motor racing by completing the Le Mans 24 Hours using half the fuel and half the tyre material of a conventional LMP racer.
Leading the charge in the LMP2 class, in which Nismo-produced Nissan units power more than half of the competing cars, are Nissan's partner teams, Signatech Nissan and Greaves Motorsport.
Among the drivers vying for LMP2 victory this year will be two graduates of Nissan's unique GT Academy initiative, which has made motorsport careers a reality for Playstation 3 gamers; Lucas Ordonez - who will share his car with ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle - and second GTA champion, Jordan Tresson.
Paul Willcox, Senior Vice President, Nissan in Europe, said: "This year's Le Mans 24 Hours will be our biggest yet and the Nissan DeltaWing shows the direction we are looking to take with motorsport technology in the future. We are already dominant in LMP2, where teams know that we can help them win, while the DeltaWing project is the kind of experiment in design and technology that only a company as forward-thinking and bold as Nissan could get behind.
"As a test bed for future road car and motorsport innovations, there is no greater, more publicly-scrutinised laboratory than the Le Mans 24 Hours for the experiment that DeltaWing represents, but the concept will prove that the technology for a vastly more efficient future is viable now, whether the car finishes the race or not."
The Nissan DeltaWing is the most revolutionary car to appear in motorsport for a generation; the aim is to show that it is possible to make huge efficiency savings by downsizing and using a truly innovative aerodynamic package.
Everything about DeltaWing is designed with efficiency in mind - its unique shape has half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional racer, while all parts - including the downsized Nissan 1.6-litre DIG-Turbo engine - are smaller and weigh much less than traditional Le Mans machines. The car is so unique that it competes in the race outside the regulations of Le Mans, wearing the number ‘0' and running from "Garage 56", reserved exclusively for experimental racers.
Nissan's involvement in LMP2 is similarly ground-breaking, thanks to the presence of GT Academy graduates - Spaniard, Ordonez and Frenchman, Tresson.
Winner of the first Nissan GT Academy in 2008, Ordonez finished second in LMP2 at Le Mans in 2011 and this year will race with the Greaves Motorsport team alongside 1990 Le Mans 24 Hour winner and former F1 racer, Martin Brundle and his son Alex.
Also aiming to become the first gamer-turned-racer to win Le Mans outright, Tresson - winner of the second GT Academy in 2010 - joins 2011 Le Mans LMP2 winner, Olivier Lombard and runner-up, Franck Mailleux, at the Signatech team.
NISSAN DELTAWING TECH SPEC
Engine Nissan 4-cylinder, 1.6-litre DIG-T (Direct Injection Gasoline Turbo) Max power 300bhp at 7400rpm Max torque 310 Nm constant from 400 to 6750rpm Transmission 5-speed sequential Chassis FIA-homologated carbon fibre monococque Front wheels 15" diameter, 4" wide Rear wheels 15" diameter, 12.5" wide Front tyres 10/31/15 Michelin Rear tyres 310/620/15 Michelin Weight 475kg without fuel or driver, 575kg with fuel and driver Distribution 28% front, 72% rear Length 4.65m Front width 0.76m Rear width 2.08m Wheelbase 3.05m Fuel capacity 40 litres Bodywork Carbon composite Aerodynamics Twin cortex underbody downforce system - BLAT (Boundary Layer Adhesion Technology) Top speed 315kph 0-100kph 3.3 seconds Fuel consumption Estimated 230-250gm/kwh
Nissan DeltaWing drivers
Marino Franchitti has had a long and successful career in sportscars. His experience and his history with Highcroft Racing made him the ideal man to drive Nissan DeltaWing.
Michael's career has taken him all over the world but the focus of his racing has been in Japan where he is a NISMO contracted driver. Michael is married to professional tennis player, Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Satoshi's career has been predominately based in his native country, Japan, where he has been multiple champion of Formula Nippon and Super GT. He has also raced for Nissan at Le Mans.
THE NISSAN VK45DE V8 LMP2 ENGINE
The Nismo-tuned Nissan VK45DE 4.5L naturally-aspirated V8 engine has been supplied to 10 teams for Le Mans, for 13 LMP2 cars.
The engine is an evolution of the VK45DE, which was originally developed for GT500 cars in the Japanese Super GT series and its performance, durability, and reliability are race proven.
In 2011 a Nissan-powered car won every round of the Le Mans Series, along with the Le Mans Series title, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup title and first and second place in the LMP2 class at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
To offer the VK45DE LMP2 engines to privateer teams in Europe and to efficiently provide swift customer support, Nissan has entered into a partnership with Zytek Motorsport Limited and Oreca Magny Cours SAS who assemble the engines precisely to Nissan's specifications.
Engine Type NISSAN VK45DE Aluminium block, 90 degree V8, naturally aspirated Displacement 4,494cc Bore x Stroke 93mm x 82.7mm Horsepower 450+HP / 331kW (DIN) with 40.0mm air restrictor Torque 58kgf-m / 570N-m (DIN) Weight Approximately 145kg
Greaves Motorsport - Zytek Z11SN Nissan
Alex Brundle has competed in both single-seaters and sportscars in recent years. In 2012 he teams up with his father, Martin, to take on the Le Mans 24 Hours. He will also compete in the full European Le Mans Series with Greaves Motorsport.
Martin Brundle brings vast experience to the Greaves Motorsport team. He spent a total of nine years in Formula One and has also set pole position at and won the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Lucas was studying for an MBA when he saw an advertisement for the GT Academy. He entered and won the inaugural competition in 2008 and since then has worked his way up Nissan's sportscar racing ladder, through FIA GT4 and ILMC before making his Le Mans debut last year, finishing second in LMP2.
Signatech Nissan - Oreca 03 Nissan
Franck actually started his career on two wheels, winning major BMX and mountain-biking championships. Success followed in single-seaters before his switch to sportscar racing in 2009.
Frenchman Jordan won the second GT Academy in 2010 and has followed Ordonez through the ranks of Nissan's sportscar racing programme, winning the GT4 class in last year's Blancpain Endurance Series.
Olivier Lombard burst into the limelight in 2011 when he joined the Greaves Motorsport team and promptly won Le Mans!
About Nissan in Europe
Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 14,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced 677,000 vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.