Nissan has completed its U.S. development program following the debut of its second GT-R LM NISMO during a three-day test this week in Kentucky.
The Indianapolis-based team had both of its LMP1 contenders on track for the majority of the test at NCM Motorsports Park, with eight of its nine factory drivers present between Monday and Wednesday, which saw dry and warm running time.
Harry Tincknell, Olivier Pla, Michael Krumm, Tsugio Matsuda, Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe, Jann Mardenborough and Max Chilton all turned laps, as did Nissan GT Academy driver Mark Shulzhitskiy, who was offered an opportunity in the car for the first time.
The only driver absent from the test was Marc Gene, the Spaniard having been the team’s first confirmed driver in February.
It’s unclear if Shulzhitskiy, who has prior LMP2 race experience with Greaves Motorsport, could be in the frame for being the team’s reserve driver.
Also unanswered is if the GT-R LM NIMSOs were running with hybrid systems at the test, with the Japanese manufacturer yet to declare which megajoule subclass it would be competing in.
Sources in the paddock at last weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa indicated that Nissan may run with its internal combustion engine only at Le Mans after the chronicled troubles with its hybrid system in testing.
Rules stipulate that all factory LMP1 teams must run a hybrid system, although it’s understood Nissan may be able to get special dispensation should all LMP1 manufacturers be in agreement.
ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil would not confirm such a possibility to Sportscar365 and said it’s up to the team to make any announcements.
A third GT-R LM NISMO is under construction, with all three expected to take part in the Le Mans Test Day on May 31.
Equipment will be shipped to Europe in the next week, with a brief shakedown at an undisclosed facility planned prior to the test day.
Nissan opened this week’s test to fans around the world, via the new Periscope app, which provided live video streams, as well as Q&A sessions with team management.