Nissan’s new LMP1 car will not make its debut until the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June after failing its mandatory FIA crash test last week.
Speaking to Sportscar365, Nismo’s Darren Cox confirmed the car was unable to be homologated in time for the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener due to a marginal failure in the center roll hoop.
“As we said, this has always been a focus on Le Mans,” Cox told Sportscar365. “We’ve had some challenges, one of those being a crash test failure, which is not unusual. Lots of people fail crash tests.
“But it’s meant that we couldn’t homologate the car in time for Silverstone. So we’ll refocus and carry on testing in the U.S.”
The revolutionary front-engined, front-wheel driver car is scheduled for another crash test on March 26, which if it passes, could have put it on the grid for the second round of the season at Spa-Francorchamps.
However, Cox said the decision was made to focus on further testing prior to a debut at Le Mans, which is still slated to see a three-car factory entry in LMP1.
“While we’re based in the U.S., to come over for one race, effectively a month before Le Mans didn’t make any sense,” he said. “And we don’t know at the moment if we’d be homologated in time. It’s was a relatively straight forward decision.”
The Indianapolis-based team will be testing at the GM-owned NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Ky., which was built with a number of characteristics similar to the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.
“The fact that we can run at Bowling Green, obviously Corvette has a lot of experience there and they haven’t done a bad job at Le Mans! It’s only three hours away from our facility,” Cox said.
“As they say, it’s all in the recovery. I think we’ll have a new plan in place that will set up for our main objective this year, which is Le Mans.”
Cox said they have already finalized what hybrid subclass the car will run in this year, which is expected to be announced alongside the other LMP1 manufacturers next week at Paul Ricard.
“It’s unfortunate but we’re pushing the boundaries here,” he said. “It’s one of those things. We’re happy that we’ll be ready for Le Mans.
“It’s great to be able to make our debut at Le Mans, as Toyota did in 2012. And they went onto win the championship in 2014.”