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.