While speculation of Nissan’s new LMP1 car has run rampant on the Internet in recent months, the first details of the radical GT-R LM NISMO are soon to be revealed during America’s biggest sporting event.
“You’ve seen what’s happening on social media. If you’re a motor racing fan, I’d say to watch the Super Bowl,” NISMO’s Darren Cox told Sportscar365.
Cox, NISMO’s global head of brand, marketing & sales, would not officially confirm details of the previously announced Nissan ad campaign for the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, although said the world-renowned event works as a perfect platform for the Japanese manufacturer’s marketing strategy.
“Le Mans, for me, is the biggest race in the world,” he said. “I honestly think that even with the might of Audi and Porsche behind it, I still think there’s opportunity to bring the Le Mans brand to more people. That’s what our job is.
“What’s the biggest TV audience in the world at any one time? It’s the Super Bowl. Not only that, but the buzz of the Super Bowl TV ads is worldwide.
“It’s not as straightforward as it seems, in what’s going to happen. But it’s a fantastic platform for us in terms of the way Nissan will use the Super Bowl this year.”
The poised Feb. 1 launch of the GT-R LM NISMO to a worldwide television audience is expected to be followed by a series of announcements, including driver signings for the two-car FIA WEC effort and third entry for 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Cox said the driver lineup will be announced “over a period of time” while it’s understood the car has already completed testing in its full race configuration in the U.S.
Testing will continue Stateside, including an outing at Sebring, prior to the WEC Prologue on March 27-28 at Paul Ricard, where it is expected to make its European debut.
However, it’s unclear if two GT-R LM NISMOs will be present in the mandatory test in France. Only one car is required per team and manufacturer.
“It’s an amazing project,” Cox said. “I think everybody’s learning a huge amount. You can say it’s exciting but this phase of any project is excitement and anticipation.
“You don’t roll a racing car out on the first day and it gets you down to 3-minute and 23-second [lap time] at Le Mans. That’s what everyone’s working towards.”
Cox, meanwhile, wouldn’t confirm reports of the GT-R LM NISMO boasting upwards of 2,000 horsepower with the internal combustion engine and hybrid systems combined, but did provide insight into the possibility of a high-powered LMP1 car.
“I think the easiest thing is that if you read the rulebook and say if you’re running 8MJ and the fuel of an 8MJ [internal combustion engine], work out the horsepower. For us, it’s just the rules,” he said.
“The rules are fantastic in the way you can have Audi with a diesel with 2 MJ and Toyota with a V8 and super capacitors.
“The rules can be interpreted in so many different ways. That’s why for me we’re doing it. I think that’s what will hopefully grow the championship moving forward.”