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Nissan Evaluating LMP1 Privateer Engine Supply Program

Nissan evaluating LMP1 Privateer engine supply with GT-R LM NISMO engine…

Photo: Nissan

Photo: Nissan

Nissan’s LMP1 engine could have a new lease on life in the hands of customer teams, with the Japanese manufacturer evaluating an engine supply program for the proposed restructured LMP1 Privateer subclass.

With Nissan’s ultra-successful V8 powerplant no longer eligible in LMP2 next year under the new spec-engine regulations, the company’s new global motorsports director Michael Carcamo has revealed they’re actively evaluating involvement in other prototype classes.

“It’s tough for ’17 because we’re losing P2 but we’re actually pushing ahead with more engine programs, looking at what opportunities exist, whether it can be a P1 Privateer engine,” Carcamo told Sportscar365.

“I think there’s continued opportunity. It’s one of our strengths. We’ve long held our position [in P2] engine supply. So we’re going to continue to looking for more opportunities for that.”

Carcamo said its 3-liter V6 twin turbo engine that powered the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO could be used for LMP1 Privateers, should the proposal for the category’s overhaul come to fruition for next year.

While Nissan’s now-defunct factory LMP1 program was plagued with issues largely related to the fundamental design and its hybrid system, the V6 engine was considered to have been the car’s greatest strength.

“We have an engine program,” Carcamo said. “The infrastructure is there. It’s really about the technical working group coming to a decision and teams coming on board.”

Meetings between current and prospective LMP1 Privateer teams and manufacturers have been ongoing since late last year, in an effort to re-shape the class that currently sees involvement from only two teams.

A current proposal is understood to be in the works that would see the arrival of more powerful engines to the class, and other possible cost-effective developments, to help bridge the gap to the factory LMP1 hybrids.

“We’ve been invited to the technical working group for that and are ready to help the ACO in any way we can,” Carcamo said. “We’re very strong supporters of endurance racing and we’d like to be there.

“I think they need to give [teams] a clear roadmap for how they’re going to be racing and how they’re going to be perceived in that class.

“Clarifying rules, giving them performance increases are the first steps they need to do.”

Carcamo said he’s been surprised by the level of interest but said the FIA and ACO needs to finalize the regulations soon in order for new teams and manufacturers to be on the grid for next year.

“I think people that see the P2 class almost as a driver’s championship [in 2017] and P1 can still be a constructor’s championship, where there’s still innovation and teams can build their own cars and not have to push the P1 hybrid,” he said.

It’s understood that both Strakka Racing and SMP Racing are evaluating entries into LMP1 Privateer next year with all-new cars, while Onroak Automotive and ORECA have also been in the working group meetings.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. CM

    April 25, 2016 at 5:03 am

    looking more and more like LMP1 Privateer is the class of chose for teams with LMP2 turning into a spec class.

    • Bakkster

      April 25, 2016 at 6:45 am

      Things are coming together pretty late for a P1 Privateer refresh. I’d like to see it happen, but at this point DPi seems to be a good option for these teams.

      • PhilH

        April 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm

        Must admit I’m struggling to understand how a DPI program, which currently has no confirmed support, would be of interest to potential LMP1-P privateers.

        Those privateers, Oak, Greaves, Manor, SMP, Rebellion, Strakka etc., want to be in the WEC and at Le Mans. The nearer the front of the field the better. The issue has always been about suitable regs, not lack of desire or ability to raise budget (should they be more competitive).

        DPI is akin to DP, only eligible in the US, while most European teams are only interested in Daytona, Sebring and PLM. IMSA coverage is also minimal in Europe, with no TV deal, very different from the ALMS years.

        • Bakkster

          April 25, 2016 at 2:33 pm

          I don’t think it’s any of those team’s first choices (and could potentially be a parallel program), but it’s significantly cheaper and they actually have a legitimate chance at winning Daytona, Sebring, and PLM.

          I think they’d all rather be at Le Mans, but there’s also only so much they’re willing to put up with and spend to be there.

          • PhilH

            April 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm

            The difference between a P1 privateer program and the forthcoming DPI class will be minimal. IMSA is 11 rounds, with a 24hr event, and two of (around) 12hrs. Once manufacturers get involved in DPI, costs will spiral about a regular P2.

          • PhilH

            April 26, 2016 at 1:52 pm

            *spiral above

    • guest

      April 25, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      I can imagine the price jump being very offputting for P2 teams and the pro-pro lineups.

  2. PhilH

    April 25, 2016 at 5:40 am

    LMP1 has always been very attractive to privateers, it’s a case of putting together a rules package that enables them to be competitive. And by competitive I don’t mean banging laptimes on par with the factories, rather being close enough to capitalise when those cars Abe minor issues.

    LMP2 I’m sure will continue to go from strength to strength, it will be exciting to watch cars that are a good 150bhp more powerful. It will also be good to see four major chassis constructors in the hands of multiple cars.

    For all the talk of them being ‘spec’, it’s only the engine that is. On track we’ll see more variety than this year, where everyone but a handful are running the Oak/ORECA/Nissan/Dunlop combination.

    • Brent

      April 25, 2016 at 9:28 am

      PhilH,

      You nailed it, well said! I couldn’t agree more.

    • NorthSask

      April 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Good point about P2- it’s already essentially a spec engine class as every single entrant uses the Nissan V8. Only the JSP2 and ORECA 07 are the only competitive chassis at this point, so there won’t be any loss in variety with the new regs.

  3. southcove

    April 25, 2016 at 7:48 am

    One can only hope that the rules package offers enough to get some teams involved…but the private constructor deal seems to hopelessly suck in teams with more ambition than talent and engineering prowess.

    If there was a Lola, Spice, Tiga, Swift, etc chassis manufacturer (or alternately a high performing engine/electronics package)) that knew the P1 business and could offer a top flight chassis/running package and let the engine, aero tuning and electronics come together on the team end of things…but that has been a business and dead end for race car manufacturers too over the years. The teams get bogged down, missing races, sometimes a season or make one off appearances…financial black hole.

  4. David Chaste

    April 25, 2016 at 10:39 am

    So much money for so little in return. If they gave the money they spent on their P1 program to OnRoak, it would have yielded far better results.

    DPi is the way to go in this case.

  5. Jess

    April 25, 2016 at 10:58 am

    2017 is wishful thinking. However if the rules are put out by Le Mans as predicted then 2018 is a perfect start time. ACO believes there could be as many as 10 LMP-1-L cars on the grid in 2018. There are several teams that would design and build their own cars rather than purchase something off the shelf.

    • PhilH

      April 25, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      For 2017 there are two additional privateer P1 programs planned, but it all depends on the timeframe from the working group.

      • Jess

        April 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        Yes it depends on the rules. The monocoque is different for 2018. That is all that is holding us up as we are entering two cars in 2018 of our own design.

        • Brad

          April 25, 2016 at 5:34 pm

          Hey Jess,

          What are the rumors on Peugeot entering LMP1 in 2018?

  6. PhilBlant

    April 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Oh Nissan, don’t try and make out your engine is the business and that your race car was a bag of nails because of other reasons. You know lmp1 rules won’t be ready for 2017, put your PR machine away. Stick to the lower classes of championships where no other manufacturers will show you up. You all are embarrassing.

    • V8Randel

      April 25, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      Hell yeah, sick of seeing the Nissan name. They either turn up on the grid ready to go or keep that mouth shut. That brand is all talk.

      • NASCAR/DPs Suck

        April 27, 2016 at 11:42 am

        Agreed, I’m sick of Nissan and after the stunt they pulled with the P1 program they need to either put up or shut up. I also recently read an article regarding how terrible they treat their street car dealers and it just doesn’t surprise me at all considering they way they’ve been trending the past few years.

        • PhilBlant

          April 29, 2016 at 9:45 am

          Totally agree. The way they go racing and the poor results they get is a symptom of how the rest of the company is run. From designing and manufacturing to sales. Proof point is linkedin. It’s the same people that sit in a head office who try and manage a race team. They don’t make the best road cars, so guess what? They don’t make the best race cars either.

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