Nissan has announced its withdrawal from the LMP1 class of FIA World Endurance Championship racing. The company had originally planned to return for the 2016 season, but, citing difficulty getting their groundbreaking LMP1 race car up to desired performance levels, they’ve decided to pull the program.
The new NIssan LMP1 racer was a bold concept with some innovative ideas in its design. Entering FIA in 2015 at Le Mans, the race car proved it could (eventually) finish the race, but had problems right out the gate. The car ran without its hybrid powertrain components throughout the race, which crippled chances of making a strong showing. Two of the three cars entered did not finish at all and the third finished after losing many laps to garage time as various components failed.
WEC is a tough race and Le Mans is the toughest of the circuits for drivers of high-end vehicles like the LMP1 class. To finish Le Mans is considered a huge step for any newcomer to the field. Nissan, which has been open about its WEC bid with the LMP1 NISMO, has conceded that budgets and requirements to get the car running are just not realistic and that focusing on other, longer-term racing endeavors is more important for the company.